THE untimely death of stallion Await The Dawn in 2014 was a massive blow for Summerhill Stud. He was arguably the one who could’ve kept the Mooirivier establishment at or near the top of the logs for the next two decades. Thankfully all of us can enjoy the pleasure of seeing his offspring on the track. Even if only for a few years.
The son of Giant’s Causeway upgraded any number of mares from his only crop, including Gamalakhe, who never won a race and was 15 years old when Await The Dawn popped in to visit. Their offspring, Big Bear (4-1), won Saturday’s class-packed Emperors Palace Ready To Run Stakes over 1400m in emphatic fashion, pocketing R1,25-million for owners Chris Van Niekerk and Bruce Gardner.
The R240,000 paid by the partners wasn’t a big amount for either of them, but it was considered right on average at the 2016 CTS Ready To Run Sale, at which Mick Goss marketed the Await The Dawn foals as “horses for owners who’d like to win the July!”
Goss may still see his words fulfilled.
Big Bear was one of the most impressive movers when the R2R candidates breezed for a group of watchers at Randjesfontein last year. He cantered down similarly well on his way to the start of the Cup. He had his head tucked in to his chest and strode out flowingly, so much so that Jockey S’Manga Khumalo said afterwards: “When I felt him go down I knew it’d take a good horse to beat him. He’s a beautiful horse and at home he does everything we ask of him.”
Well-placed throughout from a good draw, Big Bear took command with 300m to run and won by 2.50-lengths from a gallant Brave Mary and Takingthepeace, who ran on strongly to shade Wonderwall out of third place.
Trainer Sean Tarry, who had a slow start to the day, commented: “I’ll take this win with both hands and well done to the owners. Our day started badly but I said to them, ‘only a good horse can change this day’ and Big Bear did!”
Photo: JC Photos.