News

Summerhill Stud Dispersal

A notable chapter in South Africa racing history closed with the recent sale of Summerhill Stud. At the end of 2019, the Mooi River-based farm was sold to Capital Stud’s Henning Pretorius and thus saw the end of a notable era.

The farm is set to offer its entire band of broodmares for sale, with Summerhill’s broodmare band including the dams of such notable G1 winners as Rabada and Takingthepeace, as well as daughters of such breed shaping stallions as Galileo, Giant’s Causeway and Kingmambo.

One of the most beautiful stud-farms in South Africa, Summerhill Stud has a lengthy and rich history and was in the family of Mick Goss for many years prior to the recent sale.

As farmers, the Gosses have always lived with horses. Great-grandfather Edward was a noted horseman. Grandfather Pat bred thoroughbreds near Cedarville to feed his love of racing, and owned 1946 Durban July winner St Pauls.

Mick’s father Bryan took the reins of the family farm and trading businesses, but a cardiac condition forced him to choose between farming and shop-keeping. He opted to sell the farm and move the family to a trading station at Lusikisiki.

Mick and brother Pat decided to breed horses part-time. Their first mare purchase was Cosy Rosy in 1977 with their father having bequeathed them an unraced horse called Heliotriope, who won his second start in 1978.

Among the Goss’ early foundation mares were Coconut Ice, who got the useful Bianconi; and Final Wonder, who produced short-lived SA Classic winner Last Watch. The Goss name was first tied to that of Summerhill when the brothers sent broodmares to board at the then small Midlands stud farm. It was adjacent to Hartford, the Ellis family’s illustrious stud from whence had emerged the great Mowgli, Cape Heath and Magic Mirror.

Mick and his wife Cheryl first moved on to Summerhill in 1979. A syndicate was formed to buy the property and Mick got a 6.25% share in lieu of his transfer legal work.

Thereafter, he and Pat gradually bought out the partners. In 1987 Mick bought out Pat, who was launching a store chain.

“Those who’ve known Summerhill for the past 40 years, will know how painful it is to be parting with our horses. They have been the mainstay of our lives and the farm was built on their backs. But the time has come, and the timing couldn’t have been less opportune. That said, one man’s adversity is always another’s opportunity, and so the complete dispersal of our stock will undoubtedly be characterized by some of the game’s greatest bargains.” – Summerhill Stud

Among its many achievements, Summerhill not only became South Africa’s Champion Breeders on 11 occasions but also became the pioneers of the Ready To Run Sale in this country. (The first Ready To Run Sale took place in South Africa more than 25 years ago).

Summerhill also reared Igugu and Pierre Jourdan, who ran first and second in the 2011 Vodacom Durban July, with the Australian bred Igugu later going on to be named Horse Of The Year.

Image: Igugu and Pierre Jourdan one-two in 2011 Vodacom Durban July

Image: Igugu and Pierre Jourdan one-two in 2011 Vodacom Durban July

The farm also stood a number of high-class stallions over the years, including Northern Guest (an unraced full-brother to champions El Gran Senor and Try My Best), who went on to become both a champion sire and champion broodmare sire.

Other successful stallions to have stood at Summerhill include Home Guard, Kahal and Muhtafal, with the farm’s current stallion line up headed by the promising young sire, and former Cape Guineas winner, Act Of War, and fellow G1 winners Capetown Noir, Hat Puntano, Rabada and Willow Magic.

Image: Act Of War, Candiese Lenferna

Image: Act Of War, Candiese Lenferna

To explain the process, Summerhill Stud are hosting the deepest on-line sale of Thoroughbreds ever. The idea is to leave the sale open to offers (on email to info@summerhill.co.za for 10 days). The horses are offered without reserve, so every offer, even if it’s a good home, will be considered.