As the sun sets on an era of Summerhill Stud champions, the last homebreds of the internationally famous Mooi River nursery are making their mark on South African racing.
A glorious Gr1 double at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday maintained the magic momentum of a fabulous season.
Capetown Noir’s first Gr1 runner Under Your Spell was a sensational winner of the Allan Robertson Championship, while Act Of War’s son Battle Force beat the odds to win the Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint.
Mick Goss could not be more thrilled with the success of the Summerhill Stud horses, not only for his family but for everyone who was associated with the stud over the years.
“We cannot go without acknowledging the role of the bloodstock in all of this. If you don’t have the fundamentals you can’t get on with the job in producing good horses. We were very fortunate in the number of people who patronized Summerhill over the many years with their mares and those who supported us as partners in developing our bloodstock as well.
“The game changer is always the location of the better stallions, and in that respect, we were very lucky at Summerhill. We lived a charmed life with the likes of Northern Guest and Home Guard in the early years and subsequently with National Emblem, Kahal and Mutafal.
“But the one thing that did come home to me from a breeding perspective was the use of homegrown, highly performed stallions. The dependency on the imports is always temporary really,” Mick tells the Sporting Post.
A move to concentrate his resources on locally highly performed horses, including Capetown Noir, Act Of War, Willow Magic and Rabada, has paid dividends.
But Mick is sure he simply got luckier then he ordinarily would have. But the results on track and in the sales ring suggest that it does seem to have been the right move for Summerhill.
Act Of War now boasts two Gr1 winners from his first crop – War Of Athena, SA Triple Tiara and Gr1 Woolavington 2000 winner, and Sunday’s Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint hero, Battle Force.
Capetown Noir’s first Gr1 runner Under Your Spell smashed a quality field to win the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship.
The handsome son of Western Winter also has a serious 3yo in the Eastern Cape in Jaeger Moon, who has won 7 of his last 8 starts, including the Listed East Cape Guineas and the Listed World Sports Betting East Cape Derby.
“And of course, there is Capetown Noir’s Bohica, who ran a serious race over the weekend. The penalty he got for running second in the Gr1 Computaform Sprint a month ago showed at the end and he stopped late in the going.
“To have three horses of that level of class, all performing at the same time and of a similar generation, speaks volumes for the horse,” adds Mick.
Another worthy of mention is Willow Magic’s MK’s Pride, who ran a smashing third behind Battle Force in the Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint on Sunday. He was the first 3yo in over 50 years to win the Gr2 Ilha Bela Hawaii Stakes and was also victorious in the BSA Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup last year.
“All three of the Gr1 stallions we have acquired over recent years that have runners on the track are sparkling in their performances as sires, and we have serious expectations from the first crop of Rabada.
“We can only hope that the province of KZN will see a rise in its fortunes and that the local breeders now have a decent pool of horses to depend on. It’ll save a lot of them having to move their mares out of the province every year at considerable cost to themselves and to be able to support the local stallions.”
Mick has been overwhelmed with the encouragement and interest from all over the country and across the world, as these results go out in publications like the European Bloodstock News and The Thoroughbred Daily News, to mention a few.
“It is just such a thrill at this point in our lives to sit back on a Saturday afternoon and watch the sports. Of course, it will pass as we are coming to the end of our time in terms of the stock we have bred and their appearances on the racecourse.
“But it is a nice way to go out and it is an encouraging sign for Natal breeders going forward, because if we can do it then anybody can do it. As long as we all go along similar paths and look after our horses the way they deserve to be looked after.”