Get FREE ENTRY to the Vodacom Durban July 2019 and a ticket to the Summerhill Box! This offer is available to anyone staying with us at Hartford anytime between the 1st of July to the 7th of July. Meals and drinks will be included in the box. Transport can be arranged from Hartford but as a separate arrangement.Read More
Filtering by Tag: Durban July
Private Race Meeting at Hartford
(Photos : Leigh Willson)
Hartford did what no other hotel in the world can do on the weekend. It celebrated a personal milestone by staging a private race meeting with trainers, jockeys, bookmakers, a commentator, and proper racehorses on Summerhill's private racecourse, which in the Ellis era, sent forth the winners of every major race on the South Africa racing calendar. That we can do it, lends credence to our claim as "the only world class hotel on a world class stud farm in the world!"
Among the attendees were several of South Africa's leading business, financial and political figures, and the racehorses included two multi-millionaires, the country's winningmost racehorse of all time, a Group-placed colt and Stakes-winning filly, all of which have retired to our paddocks, and for one reason or another are no longer active as racehorses or at stud.
While we've staged these events for some of the big names in the corporate world in the past, this was a "first" for a private party, and you should've been here in the past couple of weeks to witness the frenetic activity that went into "prepping" the horses for their big day. You'd have sworn it was the Durban July, and when the volume went up as the horses entered the last furlong, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were attending the Melbourne Cup!
Come and join us at Hartford House for the weekend
30 July - 2 August 2010
Arrival at Hartford House.
Join the racing fraternity for dinner prepared by Jackie Cameron paired with Waterford Wines.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Greyville racecourse in Durban where you will be treated to a full day in the Summerhill Stud Box on the finish line.
Transfer back to Hartford House.
Evening dinner in your room.
A leisurely breakfast followed by "Racing's Greatest Day Out," the Summerhill Stallion Day, with 14 nations in attendance.
R 9,200 for two people sharing for the weekend
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
KwaZulu-Natal is home to a number of unique sporting events, and when we speak of uniqueness, we mean it in the most exclusive sense of the word. It is home to the biggest “swim” in the southern hemisphere, the Midmar Mile; it hosts what was the founding statement in canoe marathons the Duzi, it is the venue for Africa’s greatest horserace, the Vodacom July; and a fortnight ago we celebrated the 84th renewal of greatest marathon in the world, the Comrades.
Besides the Hilton Arts Festival, which ranks alongside its Grahamstown equivalent as the best in the country, all these events make considerable contributions to the bottom line at Hartford, and the Comrades was its usual exceptional self.
As unique a story as any about the Comrades is that of the famous Durban High School master, Bill Payn, who tackled the 1922 Comrades Marathon. In Bill’s own words, this irresistible piece: “I was young and foolish, and on a bleak May morning in 1922, I toed the line at Toll Gate. Number 111 had been allotted to me. When the shot rent the air, off we sped like a crowd of Armenian refugees fleeing from the wrath of a Turkish army. Shall I ever forget that infernal run? It was not long before I realised that I was prey to a consuming thirst. When I got to Hillcrest my feet were giving me so much pain that I took off my rugger boots to make an inspection in loco. Things were pretty gloomy, and I was not a little perturbed at the “undulation” of blisters that had formed on the soles of my feet.
Some kind follower handed me a pot of Brilliantine, with which I anointed my feet, and then repaired to the hotel and knocked back a huge plate of bacon and eggs. This done, I felt much refreshed and pushed onto Botha’s Hill. The old road went directly up the hill, and when I got to the top I found “Zulu”Wade sitting on the bank looking in pretty poor shape. We exchanged notes and then took stock of ourselves. I fear that we did not move with the freedom of young athletes, but rather resembled two old ducks suffering from some sort of distressing gynaecological disorder.
I was assured by “Zulu” that our condition would improve when his supporter arrived. We had not long to wait when he did, on a motorcycle. The fellow took a wicker basket from the carrier, and from it produced a delicious chicken curry in a huge snowdrift of rice. Quickly down the hatch, and then we slogged in happy companionship for Drummond. Here we bent our steps to a happy oasis – the pub – and according to Harold Sulin, I had a dozen beers lined up on the counter. Zulu and I were determined not so much to celebrate a victory as to drown our sorrows. Harold Sulin came and told me to push on – as there were only five runners ahead of me. “Zulu” assured me that his sorrows were completely drowned and wished me the best of luck, as I set off alone for Maritzburg.
Somewhere along Harrison Flats, I noticed a frail little woman with pink cheeks standing at the side of the road. She held up in one hand a bottle and in the other a glass. I stopped and with old world courtesy bowed low, saying “Madam your servant to command”. “Its peach brandy” she volunteered “and I made it myself”. I gulped down a full tumbler of this home made brew and in a second realised I had swallowed a near lethal dose of the rawest liquid I had ever tasted. I am convinced that this charming little old woman must get the credit for inventing the first liquid fuel for jet engines!
Very fortunately I was facing Maritzburg, and I was propelled along my way. I was too far gone in my cups to even ponder on whether this assistance was consonant with the prescribed laws of amateur marathon running. When I passed over the Msunduzi Bridge I was hailed by my wife’s family, who were taking tea on the verandah. I went off the road and joined them in their tea and cakes. While we were thus happily engaged, two of my “hated rivals” went past to Commercial Road, and so it was that I ended the course number eight. In the changing room of the Show Grounds I discovered that the soles of my feet were now two huge pads of blood blisters. My brother-in-law Wilfred Hagg, with an uncanny insight into my most immediate needs, gave me a bottle of champagne, for which I was most grateful. Paul Hattingh then came into the room and said, “Bill, have you forgotten that the Old Collegians play Rover tomorrow and you have to play?” He took me back to Durban on the back of his motor-bike, and on the following day I played at full-back in a pair of tackies.
I conclude this sad story in the deathless words of Jimmy Little: Yena lo marathon!
Visit the websites of these KwaZulu-Natal institutions for more information.
The Summerhill Stallion Day was a rousing success, with visitors from across the whole racing world. Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, France, Turkey, Germany, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and the length and breadth of South Africa. In the end, we fed more than 700 people, and we’re almost frightened to look at the booze bill this morning!
The new horses, Mullins Bay, Stronghold and Ravishing were at their brilliant best, and the business undertaken by our stallions booking department through the afternoon was a testament to their class. We know the times are supposedly tough across the economic spectra of the world, but you’d be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was about if you’d attended the auction. South Africans have long been known for their generosity, but yesterday the world was here, and they opened their hearts and emptied their pockets in no uncertain manner. This has long been one of the best parties in racing, but Sunday was a spectacle for everyone, and those who won the bidding duels will have their names carved forever upon the bricks at the Al Maktoum School Of Excellence, which will be a work in progress by the time of next year’s Stallion Day. We have some ambitious plans for this school.
In the event, with just one exception, the stallions all made at least their service fees and in some instances, considerably more, a tribute to their quality and a statement on the atmosphere that marked the occasion. By some stretch, this was the biggest price ever for a mangnum of Waterford Cab.
For the record, Stallion Day’s equivalent of Man of the Match, or Underbidder of the Day, went to Highlands Farm's Mike Sharkey who had a crack at both the Muhtafal, the Kahal services, and then underbid on the Waterford Cabernet. He, Marsh Shirtliff and Jet Master’s Devines were all here to celebrate their big day at the Vodacom Durban July where Pocket Power and Dancer’s Daughter chalked up the first deadheat in 41 years.
Hartford House in Mooi River is on Summerhill Estate which is buzzing with activity as the “Vodacom Durban July”, at Greyville Racecourse, approaches (July 5). This premier horse racing event showcases a few of the niceties of life – thoroughbred champions, striking fashions, as well as innovative ways of presenting stylish food and fine wine with a elegant-picnic slant.
I have included ideas to keep dinner effortless after a busy day of socialising.
First up is a selection of meats and a Midlands’ cheese board with pickles and preserves to tantalise taste buds. The caramelised onions are one of my favourite side dishes. Pickled vegetables are seen to be old fashioned but, when it comes to the marriage of meat and cheeses, I think they are essential compliments. Tomato and onion relish can also be eaten on toast and with curries. These three dishes can be bottled for future use. I have included Hartford’s health bread recipe which is a firm favourite with guests who visit this country house.
A meal isn’t the same without a sweet ending. Always take seasonal fruit into account. At this time of the year there is nothing to beat a red wine poached pear with caramel sauce, marinated cinnamon and star anise orange segments, oven roasted pineapple slices with coconut sorbet and fresh grapefruit sprinkled with vanilla sugar. So uncomplicated! Now onto an easy panna cotta recipe. Try it: It really works! Always, keep in mind when making a panna cotta it must have, as we say in the kitchen, sexy hips – the perfect amount of gelatine. This dessert can be served with fresh berries, an assortment of fruit or a tasty fresh sorbet. It can also be varied to suit your palate by infusing any flavour of your choice into the cream. Suggested ideas include coffee, mint, cocoa, strawberry and the list continues…
I hope this selection of food items will make your eventful weekend less stressful. Enjoy the greatest racing and social event of the year - the July experience.
Take these recipes and try them.
Post your comments and food-related questions below.
I look forward to hearing from you.