Racing people have always been superstitious, and Friday 13th has long carried its own demons. For Summerhill, it was a black day with the sudden death of the Dubai star, Bankable. South African racing fans, and especially the team at Summerhill, had developed a deep affection for a horse whose trademark was to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and he had developed a legion of supporters since his arrival at Summerhill. He died quickly from severe complications arising from colic, which had become inoperable.
Winner of eight races (including four at Stakes level), it was Bankable’s versatility from six furlongs to ten under the expert tutelage of Herman Brown Jnr, that appealed most, besides his 560 kg physique, though it’s arguable that his best performances were in defeat. In England, he was second to the world champion miler Raven’s Pass in the Celebration Mile (Gr.2), giving the winner six pounds, and his track record going down a short head to Eagle Mountain in the Darley Stakes (Gr.3) sticks in memory to this day.
He was a lovely horse, both as a specimen and as a personality, and he’d grown into an imposing stallion. His manners in the covering yard were exemplary, and his fertility was excellent, to the point that he will have exceeded 90% in foal by the time the final returns come in”, said Greig Muir, who has been managing the stallion barn at Summerhill for close to quarter of a century now.
“It’s a great loss not only to us, but to President Kadyrov, who had developed a special affection for the horse, to the degree of supporting with 24 of his own mares, all of which are tested in foal. All told, we will have of the order of 70 of his progeny on the farm, and hopefully there will be a couple of champions among them”.
He went on to say “there are parallels in the case of Dubai Millenium, Sheikh Mohammed’s favourite racehorse, who died in similar circumstances at the end of his first season at stud. The Sheikh’s affection for his horse led him to buy almost all of Dubai Millenium’s first crop, wherever he could get his hands on them, and he was handsomely repaid by the performances of Echo Of Light and Dubawi, who was not only a world-class racehorse, but also an international stallion of great significance. We have every hope of some déjà vu”.