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Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Summer Ready To Run Sale this Tuesday 18 February

Rock Of Arts

Rock Of Arts, the 2012 Ready To Run Cup winner


Summerhill Stud, Mooi River this Tuesday 18 February 2014

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When Summerhill gave birth to the first Ready To Run Sale in the Southern Hemisphere some twenty-seven years ago, it was from the perspective of a two-fold logic: there are no “walking” races, and the opportunity to see whether a horse could run, whilst not quite as good as hindsight, was the next best thing. The second reasoning was a matter of straightforward economics: buying a yearling in January, for example, entails keeping that horse for at least twelve months before there is even a chance of getting a run, whereas buying it the following February as a two-year-old, educated and virtually ready to race, knocks more than twelve months off your feed bills. To us it seemed like simple arithmetic, yet we spent many years, more than a dozen, in our attempts to win the trust of the marketplace.

Winter Star

Winter Star, the jubilant Chrinsammy connections of the 2013 Ready To Run Cup

You should know how gratifying it is then, to see a concept in which we had such faith, but which made a good job of attempting to bankrupt us in its provenance, become the most popular means of buying a racehorse (if growth figures are any indicator). That’s not only the gratification though; now the original “Spring” version has yielded a by-product: on every thoroughbred farm, there are horses which, for one reason or another, are waylaid on their journey to the sales: late foals, later bloomers, the injured, the unsold, and those, like the legends Pierre Jourdan and Hear The Drums, which failed the inspection of judging panels. Ever since we’ve been in business, we’ve faced the dilemma of what to do with these fellows, and in the Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run (scheduled for Tuesday, 18th February), we’ve found our salvation.

Bold Ellinore

Bold Ellinore

That the likes of Bold Ellinore, Imbongi, Paris Perfect, Hear The Drums, Amphitheatre, Emperor Napoleon, Black Wing, No Worries, Corredor and Vangelis might otherwise have battled to find a home (as the bulk of these chaps did), is unthinkable, particularly when you tally up their earnings. If they weren’t already, every one of their owners are now millionaires – this lot alone accumulated in excess of R22million between them at the races, and No Worries excepted, they cost less than R500,000 the lot!

And because it’s the last roll of the dice for sellers and buyers alike, inevitably the sale will be peppered with bargains like Mike Miller’s purchase I Got You Babe, who at R7,000 has since raked up five victories, like Coby, who’s on her way to the South African Oaks, like Corredor who’s turned his R60,000 price tag into a half million in earnings in quick time, like Sithela and Tomorrow’s Miss (both Roy Magner) Gida (Wendy Whitehead), Rooi Nooi (Louis Goosen), and a stream of others who’ve brought unbridled joy to their owners.

The success of this sale has meant it’s taken on an organic multiplier in its numbers, and this year witnesses 90 entries, including no fewer than 14 which were either unsold or “pin-hooked” out of the Emperors Palace Ready To Run last November, and therefore hold tickets for the nation’s richest horse race, the R4million Ready To Run Cup this November. As we said last week, having seen the gallops, we have a racehorse sale on our hands, not only in the numbers but in the depth of its performers. You wouldn’t want to be remembered for being a passive bystander!

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