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E XCEPTIONAL HOMES. POWERFUL NETWORK. Finding your home is a personal process of discovery, and the accomplished global network of Luxury Portfolio brokers are ready to assist in the journey. Explore over 25,000 of the world’s finest properties marketed on each year. Enter the property Web ID for more detail.

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CONTENTS November 2012



REGULARS 6 10 68

Adver tisers List and Letter from the Editor Cover Story: Racing and Breeding in the Cape: Fall in love with a lifestyle Sarah Britten Feeding: Nutrition Challenge Dr. Rensia Moller

THIS ISSUE 80 90 97 102

THIS ISSUE 16 30 32 40 62 72 76


Flax - The Almost Horse Liesl King L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Palio di Siena Cristina Romeo The Young Shall Prosper Bunny Hinzman The Ar t of the Deal Robin Bruss J&B Met Jockeys International The Racing Association



108 112 116 124 128 130 134 140

Breeder’s Cup 2012 Geir Stabell Europe Best Kept Secret Liesl King Awesome Azzie Nicole de Villiers The Legacy of Sadler’s Wells Mike Azzie Epistaxis Dr John Hodsdon Imagine Racing for PinkDrive Investing in a Racehorse David Mickleburgh Determined Tarry tells us how its done Nicole de Villiers Gran Blanco KZN Breeders Association Team South Africa and Mike de Kock Johan Blom Equine Spor ts Medicine Par t 1 Dr Scott Bennet Equus Horse of the Year : Variety Club Malan du Toit

CONTENTS November 2012


Johan Blom Chief Executive Officer

Pieter Hugo Editor / Managing Director

Marie Chin Advertising Executive

Marguerite le Roux Senior Designer

Amy Little Designer

AnneLuise Montgomery Corporate Advertising

Liesl King Journalist

Nicole De Villiers Features & Advertising

Bunny Hinman Journalist

Suzie Oldham Photographer

Gasnat Jaffer Office Manager

90 LIFESTYLE 24 44 54

Fashion File Wolford A Homage to the Horse - Ar tist profile Horse Power Ignited

Find us on Facebook.


Gallo Images, Suzie Oldham, Liesl King, Elise-Marie Tancred, Kevin Looney Photography, Tracy Robertson, Thoroughbred Photography Ltd, Nicole De Villiers, Singapore Turf Club, Greg Beadle, Tom Ferry, JC Photography, T&B Images



Editorials: Design:

Johan Blom (0027) 83 324 3709 Pieter Hugo (001) 502 321 8305 Suzie Oldham (001) 859 621 4236 Marguerite le Roux (0027) 82 773 9123 Amy Little (0027) 79 517 6650



www.silver mane

Marie Chin (0027) 82 497 4475

Orders & Invoicing:

Horse Zambezi Torrent LOT 349 by Captain Al out of Zooming Zellie Bought for R1.15million Liam Mulryn (Ireland) Photo By Greg Beadle

Gasnat Jaffer

AnneLuise Montgomery (001) 502 724 0033 Nicole de Villiers (0027) 79 056 8550

PO Box 7872, Hout Bay 7806, South Africa Tel: (0027) 21 790 1983 • Fax: (0027) 21 790 8047

www.inter national-r acehor se .com


I can make a General in five minutes but a good horse is hard to replace.- Abraham Lincoln Enjoy with us the second edition of the International Racehorse magazine. This is our second edition and is filled with interesting stories and articles celebrating horse racing from around the world. Silver Mane Media also recently launched its weekly digital magazine which seems to be very popular and reaching audiences never reached before. Social media through Facebook, Twitter and other, seems to be the future mechanisms for building your product brand. Silver Mane Media brings the racehorse enthusiast, breeder and advertiser the advantages the different social media networks offer, as well as reach out to new fans. Our weekly digital magazine covers the most popular races combined with affordable advertising rates to make this a very useful addition to Silver Mane’s media platforms, serving the purposes of cost effective advertising as well as reaching out to new racehorse enthusiasts worldwide. Find and follow us on Facebook and Twitter and send us an email to to receive the International Racehorse weekly digital magazine free of charge. See you at the races.

ADVERTISERS Cape Thoroughbred Sales


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Copyright for all original published material is vested in SilverMane Media and may be reproduced only with the permission of the Editor. All opinions expressed in the articles appearing in SilverMane Media are those of the authors and are not necessarily subscribed to by the editorial staff of SilverMane Media. Authors of articles are compelled to acknowledge all sources of information (if any) used in the compiling of articles and are therefore liable for copyright transgressions. SilverMane Media accepts no responsibility for claims made in the advertisements and will not be held liable for any damage resulting from the use of any of the information published in SilverMane Media.



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SEIZE THE MOMENT Pongrácz Méthode Cap Classique is inspired by Desiderius Pongrácz, the man whose tenacity and wit served as our inspiration and whose life’s work made it all possible.

INTERNATIONAL RACE HORSE YearNot End Edition 9 Enjoy Responsibly. for Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18.







LIFESTYLE By Sarah Britten


t’s the height of summer and the living is easy. You’re sitting on the veranda of an 18th century farmstead with a glass of chilled chenin blanc in your hand. In front of you, thoroughbred broodmares gently crop the grass in paddocks that stretch to the horizon, the new southern hemisphere season’s colts and fillies by their sides.The shadows are deepening on the Drakenstein mountains and the soft late afternoon air is filled with the chattering calls of guineafowl preparing to roost. It is quite impossible to imagine a more beautiful part of the world, and you get to call it yours. Buying racehorses in South Africa’s Western Cape province means not just adding to your bloodstock collection, it also means immersing yourself in an entire lifestyle. Few parts of the world bring together so much natural beauty, superb food and wine, some of the world’s most desirable property and city glamour in such easy reach of top class racing, including the premier event on South Africa’s social calendar, the J&B Metropolitan Handicap. Now is the perfect time to travel to a part of the world that has attracted so many adventurers over the centuries. Next January, the Cape Premier Yearling Sale will once again be held in a unique venue: the Cape Town International Convention Centre. It’s the only sale in the world to be held in a plush conference centre, and the logistics involved in preparing the venue are considerable.The advantage of using the CTICC is its convenient location close to Cape Town’s attractions, including several five star hotels. In the past, the Cape Premier Yearling Sale has attracted prominent buyers such as Team Valor International’s Barry Irwin, who has enjoyed success with runners across the world. This season, international buyers will have three opportunities to 12


emulate him by investing in some of the best value for money bloodstock in the world: CAPE READY TO RUN SALE -14 December 2012 at Durbanville Racecourse . CAPE PREMIER YEARLING SALE - BOOK 1 - 24th and 25th of January 2013 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. CAPE PREMIER YEARLING SALE - BOOK 2 - 23rd and 24th March 2013 at Durbanville Racecourse. Cape Thoroughbred Sales Pty Ltd will be sponsoring the newly inaugurated R2 million Cape Ready to Run Stakes at Kenilworth on 23rd of November 2013. The entry list is particularly strong this year as only sale graduates will be eligible. This will be the

second biggest race in the Cape after the J&B Met and therefore a real incentive for buyers. The highlight of the season, however, is without doubt the Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 1, which takes place the week before the Met. This sale has established a reputation as the leading best opportunity to find and purchase the best of South African bloodstock. The top priced lot at the 2012 sale was a R2,8 million($360 000) Jet Master colt out of Our Table Mountain (USA). The sale, first held in 2011, has boasted some impressive graduates, including the champion juvenile of 2012, the National Assembly colt Soft Falling Rain. Bought for R350,000 ($43 700) by Angus Gold for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and trained by the great Mike De Kock, the unbeaten Soft Falling Rain scored an impressive 4,5 length 13


victory in the Grade 1 SA Nursery, before export to Dubai. Cape Thoroughbred Sales CEO Robin Bruss is particularly pleased with the quality of the yearlings coming out of Book 1. Bruss knows a good horse when he sees one: since 1974, he has been involved in horseracing as a bloodstock consultant, owner and breeder, and has helped bring many outstanding stallions to South Africa and arranged export sales across the globe. “Owning thoroughbreds may be a gamble, but so is life itself, and the pleasure of victory and success and its association with quality thoroughbreds and their owners, is truly a world apart. Racing in the Cape in the summer season draws aficionados from all over the world – we are the jet set circuit’s latest discovery, and we do our best to create a series of wonderful events around our sales,

That the Cape should once more be the focal point for the export of horses makes sense when you compare the sales prices of South African yearlings with those from other markets: Top 500 Yearlings in 2011 Average




316 764


250 000



240 018


177 392



120 395


82 800



244 378


187 975



120 605


81 900



47 414


32 500

so that each sale is more than business. It is an entry into a wider world of fun, excitement and friendship,” he says. HH Sheik Hamdan, deputy ruler of Dubai, recognizes South Africa as a low cost nursery to develop international campaigners and Soft Falling Rain is now being prepared for a 2013 campaign in Dubai, where many South African runners have done well in the past. Horses like Victory Moon (sold for US$27,500 and earned US$2.4 million), Jay Peg (sold for US$19,000 and earned US$4.5 million), Ipi Tombe (sold for $1,500 and earned $1,4million and was 2003 horse of the year in Dubai) and Lizard’s Desire (second by a whisker in the 2010 US$10 million Dubai World Cup) have demonstrated that South African-breds have the ability to compete and win at the highest level – in the process, showing returns on investment that is quite astounding. 14


One of those great international bargains was Grade 1 Hong Kong Sprint winner JJ The Jet Plane, a R70,000 buy that earned over R16 million. A major draw card at the 2013 sale will be the last crop of his late sire. The incomparable Jet Master (Rakeen – Jet Lightning by Rollins) was honoured as champion sire for the sixth consecutive season in 2012 and the best stallion ever to grace South African turf. In addition to JJ, Jet Master also sired three time Met winner Pocket Power and his full sister, the international Grade 1 performer River Jetez among his 18 Grade 1 winners. Tragically, Jet Master succumbed to complications from West Nile Virus at the relatively young age of 18, and there will be considerable demand for his progeny. Other proven popular sires include Avontuur Wines & Thoroughbred Stud’s European Champion sprinter Var (USA)

Owning thoroughbreds may be a gamble, but so is life itself, and the pleasure of victory and success and its association with quality thoroughbreds and their owners, is truly a world apart.

Kip Elser, Peter Doyle and Terry Finley attending the 2012 Cape Premier Yearling Sales - Book 1

(by Forest Wildcat), who sired the 2012 Horse of the Year Variety Club; German industrialist Dr Andreas Jacobs (of Jacobs coffee fame)’s globe trotting star Silvano (Lomitas), the Oppenheimer’s Champion sire Fort Wood (Sadlers Wells – Fall Aspen) and Mrs Gaynor Rupert’s young American upstart, Trippi (End Sweep – Jealous Appeal), who has also proven a hit with South African buyers. Exciting first crop stallions include Mrs Oppenheimer’s beautifully bred Ideal World, Mr Bernard Kantor’s European Grade 1 winner King’s Apostle, and Moutonshoek Farm’s Mambo in Seattle (beaten by a nostril in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes in USA). South African’s all time leading earner, Jay Peg, who defeated the cream of the world’s best milers in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes Grade 1, also presents his second progeny. That South African breds should acquit themselves well around 15


the world is only appropriate given the history of horses at the Cape. Though the Dutch settlers had no interest in racing, it is a little known fact that horses were the region’s leading export at one point, with the Caper – as the local horse was known – providing the foundation stock for horses in the newly settled Australia. Racing was established in Cape Town soon after the colony was annexed by the British in 1795 and has been a firm fixture on the social calendar ever since. One of the highlights of the 2012 sales was a visit to Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud Farm. Situated on L’Ormarins wine estate, Drakenstein enjoys a magnificent situation in the shadow of the Drakenstein mountains that frame nearby Franschhoek. It is home to three stallions including Horse Chestnut, 8-length winner of the J&B Met as a three year old and perhaps the greatest horse ever to have raced in South Africa. Destined for a star-studded international career after easily winning his first North American start, Horse Chestnut suffered an injury and was retired. During his US stud career, he sired 28 stakes horses including Grade 1 winner Lucifer’s Stone before returning to the land of his birth. During sales week planned stud visits include perennial leading breeders Highlands Stud, home of the outstanding Mary Slack bred Dynasty, and nearby Maine Chance Farm which belongs to the German industrialist Andreas Jacobs, one of the worlds top breeders, with farms in England, Germany and South Africa. Another top farm, Klawervlei boasts 15 stallions and represents a considerable investment in the South African breeding industry by a syndicate of prominent businessmen, amongst them South Africa’s perennial champion owner, Mr Markus Jooste, best known as CEO of the global furniture conglomerate, Steinhoff International. The strategy of these farms, and Cape Thoroughbred Sales, is to ensure a globally competitive product. Attracting international buyers is vital to the growth of South African thoroughbred breeding. Past bidders at the CTICC sales ring have included luminaries of the world’s major bloodstock agencies, including Peter Doyle and Mick Flanagan, Angus Gold, Tom Ryan, Michael Youngs, Anthony Stroud, Ed Sackville,Tom Goff, Grant PritchardGordon, Patrick Barbe, David Allan, Andrew Cary and Ajay Anne all attended the sales in 2012. Team Valor’s Barry Irwin, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2011 and runs America’s most

Drakenstein Stud Farm - home of Trippi, Philanthropist and Horse Chestnut Markus Jooste inspects Andreas Jacobs - Maine Chance Farms yearling draft

successful syndication company, racing personality Francesca Cumani, Hong Kong commentator David Raphael, Terry Finley (West Point Thoroughbreds, NewYork) and Kip Elser (Kirkwood Stables, USA), and Anthony Beck (Gainesway Farm, Kentucky) have also enjoyed the sales, stud visits, cocktail parties and race meetings that are all part of the Cape Premier Yearling Sales experience.

plush Cape Town International Convention Centre or taking in the races at Kenilworth, you could watch the sunset from the glamorous beachside cocktail bars of Camps Bay and Clifton or taste your way through some of the Cape’s renowned wine estates in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. The allure of Africa’s big five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo - is an easy drive or a short flight away.

“Experience” is the key word. Buyers who make the easy overnight flight out for the sales are advised to allow for time to make the most of their visit. Cape Town is one of the world’s premier tourist destinations, and January is the best time of the year to be here. Named by Trip Advisor as the number one destination in the world in 2011, the city is also the World Design capital for 2014, and offers visitors a huge range of cultural, historical and culinary experiences.

So, back to that veranda with the chilled glass of wine. In the time it’s taken to read this piece, it should nearly be time for you to try the legendary 3 and a half hour, eight course tasting menu at The Tasting Room, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world and one which happens to be just down the road.

There is no more intoxicating mix of cultures and influences anywhere in the world. When you’re not at the sales at the 16


Once you’ve visited the Cape to buy thoroughbreds, you will want to come back again, and again for so many reasons – the racing, the natural beauty, the superb climate and, most of all, the unparalleled lifestyle. What are you waiting for?



By Liesl King

(SAF) the almost horse

Flax (pink cap) finishing third in the Gr 1 SAI Cup, Photo credit: Liesl King





n the lush green paddocks of Maine Chance Farm, Robertson, South Africa resided a broodmare called Bejewelled Spring. By champion broodmare sire Elliodor, she was considered a classy lady, there was just one problem, she continued to throw smallish disappointing foals. Her latest being a fine light framed foal, by resident stallion Silvano.


All the colt knew was how to run and run he did.

By the time the sales came around the Silvano colt had acquired the name Ballistic and while he had increased in height, he was still very much a small yearling. No wonder then, that the buyers paid him scant attention and he left the ring unsold. Six months later, he would reappear at the TwoYear-Old Sale, where he was picked up by Gael and Dennis Evans for their Newbury Racing stables for the giveaway price of R230 000. Eight months later, Ballistic reappeared in Singapore under the care of British trainer David Hill. Now renamed Flax, the 20


colt was still slight, weighing in at 450kg and standing a mere 15.2 hands high. Fortunately, horses can’t read the manual on how tall or how heavy the ideal racehorse must be and hence Flax was oblivious to his shortcomings. All the colt knew was how to run and run he did. Recording an impressive 3.75 lengths victory on debut, he impressed even his trainer. His second start in the first race on the Singapore International Airlines Cup day, was a carbon copy of the first. Languishing midfield under regular jockey Jose Verenzuela, he exploded with an impressive turn of foot in the home straight that left the opposition reeling, to remain unbeaten. The small light framed colt, that almost disappeared when amongst his bigger competitors continued along his winning ways, stepping up in class and distance to add the Kranji Stakes to his unbeaten record. Trainer David Hill was so impressed with his charge that he threw caution to the wind and entered the inexperience colt in the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby. On an unusually hot night in July, Flax lined up in the Derby. The colt’s inexperience showed and he ran a below average

Flax winning Gr. 1 Raffles Cup, Photo credit: Singapore Turf Club

race to finish in 11th. Hiccups happen in every horse’s career as they are not machines, but finely tuned athletes, who are prone to injuries and off days. What happened next however was anything but ordinary. On his return to the stables after being unsaddled, Flax collapsed. It was only the quick thinking of long time Singapore resident, Ricardo Le Grange, assistant trainer to Patrick Shaw, which saved the colt. Le Grange realised that Flax was suffering from heat exhaustion and that he had to be cooled down immediately or he would die. Hill’s daughter Sammy, who rides Flax in trackwork, also raced to the stricken colt’s side and started pouring water over him. Flax would stagger to his feet, take a few steps only to collapse again. Yet the diminutive colt had an iron will and he finally managed to stay on his feet long enough to wobble to the vet clinic where he was further cooled down and given treatment. It appeared as if his promising racing career in the tropical climate of Singapore was over. Hill put the colt away and pondered the problem. He could resort to only running Flax at night and only on days when 21


the temperature and humidity did not soar, but even that did not guarantee a repeat of his collapse. In the end the trainer decided to let the horse tell him whether he has had enough and four months later he entered Flax in a Class 3 Stakes at Kranji. In need of a run, Flax surprised even his trainer, when he powered away under Verenzuela to record a facile victory by three lengths. The colt returned to the unsaddling enclosure without any problems and his connections can be forgiven for thinking that perhaps the Derby disaster was a once off. But it was not to be. On his return to the track in March 2012, Flax showed his usual contempt of his opposition, winning comfortably by a head before collapsing in front of the shocked spectators. Distressing scenes followed with Flax regaining his feet, only to collapse again and again. It took 30 minutes of ice water and wet towels before he was finally stable enough to stagger to the vet clinic. Surely this was the end of the road for the gallant Flax, with even Hill commenting that he didn’t know what they were going to do with the talented colt now.

Flax at his second start, Photo credit: Liesl King

But in the face of adversity, neither Sammy or Flax were quite prepared to throw in the towel. She hadn’t been racing the night Flax collapsed and hence his usual treatment of ice water and cold towels weren’t readily available. Sammy was sure that if they could devise a plan to cool Flax down quickly immediately after his races, he would be fine. For her plan to work though, she needed the Singapore Turf Club to bend a few rules and fortunately they were willing to do just that. In future, Flax would be pulled up straight after the post and then instead of proceeding to the unsaddling enclosure, he would be ridden slowly to the end of the straight where a team of veterinary staff would unsaddle him and immediately apply cooling aids. As soon as possible, Flax would then be taken to an air-conditioned post race stable, where he could further cool down under veterinary supervision. A lot of trouble and organisation for a horse who may never see a race track again. However one thing that was in his favour, was his will to run. Hill simply could not give up on the colt, with so much raw talent, just yet. On the 20th of May 2012, Flax took on the biggest challenge of his career, when he lined up in the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup. Again dwarfed by his opposition and because of his previous problems he was largely overlooked by punters and the racing media alike. 22


Yet it was Flax and Verenzuela, who led the charge into the home straight. All of Singapore held their breath, hoping for a second home victory after Ato had won the Krisflyer earlier in the evening. However, the foreign raiders Chinchon and Zaidan were gaining with every stride and in the end it was Chinchon who returned victorious with Zaidan in second and Flax in third. Flax’s connections were ecstatic. Not only had the little colt shown he is capable of holding his own in International Group 1 company, but Sammy’s plan had worked and he was cooled down quickly without collapsing. Flax however, was far from done and on the 21st of October, seven months after his disastrous collapse on the track, he finally repaid the efforts and belief of all the people connected with him. He may have been the smallest horse in the Group 1 Raffles Cup, but galloping with his all his heart, Flax finally earned his first Group 1 victory, in the process also delivering his long time partner, jockey Jose Verenzuela with his first Group 1 success in Singapore. In the end, the little horse that was almost not sold, almost died and almost never raced again, showed that all one needs to succeed is an iron will to win and a team of dedicated people to believe in you. Flax’s future looks bright and the darling of the Singapore Turf is likely to grace his home track for many years to come.

a happy horse is a valuable horse







Wolford offers the female silhouette a host of garments to enhance and accentuate the feminine form this season. From forming dresses and tights, to bespoke evening and day wear; each garment has an element of hand crafted detail for the discerning woman.


Opulence, equine beauty and bespoke fashion set the pace this Spring/Summer at the Alphen Hotel in Cape Town. Equestrian legend, Pocket Power and the beautiful Bailey Nortjie buck against the fads and trends to showcase the epitome of style, grace and eternal elegance. Join us for a visual banquet hosted by Wolford and Sadie Price and welcome to your ultimate fashion guide!




Crazy tulle camellia string body, Tulle booty knee highs, Black Chantilly shoe INTERNATIONAL RACE HORSE Year End Edition 28

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Sadie Price, elite woman’s wear adds haute couture and old world charm with names like Ellie Saab and Fontana.



Ellie Saab Charm Jacket R70 000, Blouse Ellie Saab, Skirt Ellie Saab INTERNATIONAL RACE HORSE Year End Edition 31



HE Cape’s most prestigious horse racing event and one of South Africa’s most important calendar affairs, the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate will be held at Kenilworth Racecourse, Cape Town on January 12, 2013, with equestrian contenders competing for the R1 million purse and race-goers looking to land best-dressed honours. It was 1861 when the legendary Queen’s Plate race first thundered on African soil, with a prize of a silver plate and 500 sovereigns donated to the winner by Queen Victoria. The race signalled a meeting of racing excellence, style and grace that has continued unsurpassed in the history of South African horse racing. South Africa’s prestigious weight-for-age race sees the best 16 thoroughbred horses in South Africa accepted according to their merit ratings. The running of the 2013 L’Ormarins Queens Plate will see a new star born over the classic mile race with 2012 Equus Champion, Variety Club, starting as favourite with likely challenger being 2012 Durban July favourite, Jackson Sponsored by L’Ormarins since 2005, the Queen’s Plate is also one of the Cape’s acclaimed social gatherings where art and passion are captured not only in equestrian endeavors but also in the ancient winemaking skills displayed in Antonij Rupert Wines as well as a collection of classic, rare Mercedes-Benz cars on display courtesy of the Franschhoek Motor Museum.

Photo by Brett Rubin

An annual highlight is always the late afternoon announcement of the Best Dressed and Best Hat competitions with judging by some of South Africa’s top fashion designers and media personalities. After the dust has settled, wagers have been won & lost and the sun begins to set over Kenilworth Racecourse, the best of South African DJs - Fresh and the Wedding DJs - take to the stage at the L’Ormarins Style Lounge to play into the night as a fitting end to an eventful day at the races.

An elegance of occasion, meanwhile, is reflected in royal blue & white race day fashions, world-class entertainment and a variety of hospitality & culinary offerings which L’Ormarins Queen’s plate, 11am -11pm, 12 January 2013, suggest the perfect place to share good wine with friends, Kenilworth Racecourse, Cape Town. Limited tickets to hospitality areas are available at Computicket. enjoy the races and dance the night away. 32



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“ The first horse that crosses the finish line, even if he arrives without his jockey, wins the race.”




he Palio is the most important event in Siena, taking place on July 2 and August 16 every year.

In the Palio the various Sienese “contrade”, or areas in which the city is divided, challenge each other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Campo. Originally, there were about fifty-nine “Contrade”; now only seventeen remain, ten of which take part in the historical pageant and in the race at each Palio (seven by right and three drawn by lots). The 17 Contrade are: Eagle, Snail, Wave, Panther, Forest, Tortoise, Owl, Unicorn, Shell, Tower, Ram, Caterpillar, Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, She-Wolf, Goose. Each Contrada has its own unique emblem and colors and represents an area of the city. As one walks through the streets of Siena it is easy to know in which Contrada you currently



are in by observing the flags and emblems displayed along the street.The Palio horse race has its origins in the distant past, with historical records indicating horse races in Siena already taking place in the 6th century. The Palio is much more than a simple event for the Sienese, it actually is a large part of their lives since the time of their birth. Each person belongs to a Contrada, participates in the life of the Contrada and the organization of the Palio throughout the entire year. The Sienese live the Palio with great passion and you’ll certainly be able to see this if you have the chance to attend one of the races.

The Event The Palio is a pretty complex event that has gained additional rules through the centuries, as well as traditions and customs,

many which only members of the contrada are aware of. Below is a highlight of some of the main rules and traditions of the Palio, which should be useful in better understanding the event. The Palio horse race takes place twice a year, one the 2nd of July (Palio of Provenzano, in honor of the Madonna of Provenzano) and on August 16th (Palio of the Assumption, in honor of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption). During this special occasion, the main square in Siena, the Piazza del Campo, is prepared for the race as the ring around the square is covered with tough clay.Ten out of the seventeen contrade take part in each race: seven are those that did not participate in the previous race on that day, while the other three are drawn by lots. The Palio actually takes place over 4 days, the race taking place on the fourth day. The first day is for the “Tratta”, or the drawing of the lots and assignment of the horses to each of the Contrade. 37


Before the official race there are 6 trial runs or heats, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.The fifth trial, the one run the evening prior to the official Palio, is called the “prova generale” or general trial while the last which takes place the morning of the race, is called “provaccia” or bad trial given the little effort the jockeys put into it in order to avoid tiring the horses too much.The jockeys always mount their horses without a saddle. The Palio prize is called “Drappellone” or large drape, a large painted canvas each year designed and created by a different artist and which the winning contrada displays in their contrada museum.

The day of the Palio On the day of the Palio race the city is in full turmoil and the entire day is dedicated to the event. Around 8 a.m., in the 38


chapel next to the Palazzo Comunale, the Bishop celebrates the “Messa del fantino” or mass for the horse jockeys. Shortly after the mass the last trial takes place in Piazza del Campo, the one called “provaccia”. At 10.30 a.m. within the Palazzo Comunale and in the presence of the mayor, the “segnatura dei fantini” takes place.The name of the jockeys are confirmed and can not be substituted from that point. At around 3 p.m. each Contrada performs a benediction ceremony of its horse and afterwards joins in the large parade in historical costume, with over 600 participants, that winds through the city. The parade arrives around 5 p.m. at the Piazza del Campo, and ends by around 6.30-7 p.m. Shortly thereafter the explosion of a firecracker signals the entrance of the horses into the piazza. As the jockeys come out, each one receives a whip made out of ox sinew which they can use to prod their horse or to irritate the other opponents in the race.

The race

for the start of the race can thus be extremely long and last into twilight.

The race starts off in the “Mossa”, an area set up on the piazza delimited by two long pieces of thick rope.The “Mossiere” then calls the Contrade in the order in which they were drawn and checks that the assigned positions are respected. The first 9 Contrade take up their assigned positions in the area between the two ropes, while the last one, the tenth, enters this area at a running gallop thus signalling the start of the race.

If all goes well the start of the race can occur at any time. The horses must run three laps around the Campo, overcoming dangerous points such as the very narrow curve of San Martino where collisions between the wall and between horses have led to many falls in the past (the reason why many animal activists oppose the Palio).

If the start is not considered valid (this is the case if the jockeys are not in their assigned spots), a shot goes out to signal the jockeys to get back into place. This starting phase within the “Mossa” is more complicated than it seems, as the space is small and the horses are right next to each other. Rivalries run deep within the Contrade and competition is high and the worst result is to see the “enemy” Contrada win the race. The wait 39


The first horse that crosses the finish line, even if he arrives without his jockey, wins the race. The winning Contrada receives the Drappellone, as the victorious Contrada members head towards the Church of Provenza (after the July race) or towards the Duomo (after the August race) for the “Te Deum” or prayer of thanks.







he backstretch at Churchill Downs transformed into an “Olympic Village” of Thoroughbred horse racing, housing every type of runner from various parts of the globe. These equine athletes gathered beneath the twin spires to battle for the coveted titles of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Championships. A crowd of over 80,000 pressed against the rail in anticipation of every contest. The nature of horse racing leaves a plethora of emotions scattered throughout the spectators: from disappointment over fortunes lost, to jubilation of gained wealth. The outcome of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf transcended the usual reactions, invoking a collective celebration. Coolmore’s invader, St Nicholas Abbey, triumphantly carried with him the youngest jockey in history to ever win a Breeders’ Cup event. As a result of this race, the eighteen-year old jockey, Joseph O’Brien, was instantly propelled into worldwide popularity. O’Brien was five months younger than the previous Breeders’ Cup age record holder, Fernando Jara, who won the Classic aboard Invasor in 2006. As the victorious young jockey and his mount returned from battle, they passed in front of the cheering crowd. The pure joy of the moment was infectious witnessing the elation of O’Brien’s younger siblings running down the homestretch to greet their brother while reaching up for his hand, his proud parents not far behind. Following the $3 million event, Joseph O’Brien said, “This is a dream come true. I’ve been coming to the Breeders’ Cup since I was very small.To ride a winner here is out of this world.” St Nicholas Abbey defeated the nine horse field by 2 ¼ lengths on a course rated as good. Breaking from the first stall, he bumped into Sarafina at the start of the 1 ½ mile race and Joseph O’Brien placed the son of Montjeu not far off the rail in fifth. Teaks North pressed St Nicholas Abbey into tight quarters against the rail around the first turn. However, St Nicholas Abbey and O’Brien maintained fifth place coming before the grandstand for the first time, but lost ground turning onto the backstretch. Entering the homestretch, O’Brien and St Nicholas Abbey raced in sixth before making a sharp move to the outside to launch an explosive bid for the lead.








Joseph O’Brien winning on St Nicholas Abbey 2011 Breeders’Cup.

St Nicholas Abbey and Joseph O’Brien return stateside in an attempt to defend their Breeders’ Cup Turf title for a second consecutive year. The pair will face a considerable challenge from horses such as likely favorite Point of Entry, and Juddmonte’s English raider, Sea Moon. St Nicholas Abbey himself presents a formidable force against his well-rounded opposition. Competing under Joseph O’Brien in ten of his past eleven starts, St Nicholas Abbey is consistently in contention against Europe’s best horses. The duo nearly brought their international success fullcircle when they finished a shrinking ¼ lengths behind Cirrus des Aigles in the Dubai Sheema Classic at the start of 2012. Following a second place in the Group III Moorsebridge Stakes on soft ground, St Nicholas Abbey took the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup by a salient 4 ½ lengths against Group I company. One of his best efforts this season came in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. In this start, he overcame a troubled stretch run to finish a fast-closing third, only 1 ½ lengths behind last year’s Arc victress, Danedream.

Success was nothing new for the young rider. Earlier in 2011, he had been experiencing high-caliber achievements aboard some of Ballydoyle’s charges. He earned his first Classic on Roderic O’Connor in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, and piloted two other horses in two Group I victories for trainer and father, Aidan O’Brien. Racing phenoms So You Think and Camelot catapulted Joseph O’Brien to the apex of the sport, helping him to accumulate nine Group I victories in 2012 alone. These accomplishments position him to sweep this year’s Irish riding title with a five win lead over Pat Smullen, who notably has ridden in approximately 150 more races than O’Brien this season. Joseph O’Brien’s prowess has not been limited to jockeying. He is also involved in training decisions at Ballydoyle: assisting in choosing who rides the horses in the mornings, records works, and reports assessments on a string of prominent Group I winners while galloping some of the yard’s top-class representatives. After last year’s Breeders’ Cup, Aidan O’Brien said, “It’s magic for Joseph. He has been doing it since his eyes were open, and he knows the horses better than me.” As a skilled eventing rider prior to becoming a jockey, the younger O’Brien commented, “I used to ride out before going to school and ride ponies when I got home. Dad always said to me, ‘Don’t let your school interfere with your education’!” 44


Afterwards, St Nicholas Abbey offered a third place, seven lengths behind Frankel’s wake in the International Stakes. He then proceeded to run third-best in the Irish Champion Stakes behind Snow Fairy and Nathaniel by a shorter margin of two lengths. Notably, these two races were contested over 1 ¼ miles, and he seems to provide his best performances at longer distances despite his outstanding turn of foot. The son of the late Montjeu offers a sound 2012 campaign with seven starts, one win, two runner-up performances, and three third place efforts. His lone finish out of the top three came in his most recent outing: the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in which he finished eleventh out of eighteen starters. However, ‘the Arc’ could be declared a throw-out race since the ground was incredibly heavy, and he is a horse that is clearly better over firm footing. In the twenty-four year existence of the Breeders’ Cup, a father and son, trainer and jockey team had never won a race belonging to the two-day event until St Nicholas Abbey crossed the wire victorious in the 2011 Turf. This year, O’Brien will also get the leg up from his father in the Mile on the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes conqueror Excelebration. He will wear Derrick Smith’s purple and white silks aboard Excelebration and St Nicholas Abbey, coincidently creating a photographers paradise amidst the Breeders’ Cup Championships signature purple that will ensconce the beautiful Californian track.



136 x 267.5cm




‘I just love to draw and paint the horse (and to sculpt it as well) - I love everything about it, especially the structure and how everything comes together like a perfect symphony of energy translating into an exploding piece of movement... And I’m only just beginning to explore it.’

114 x 134cm





About Eduardo Navarro Eduardo Navarro was born in Panama City on the 1st November 1960 and is self-educated in the arts. He started to draw when he was only 3 and at 15 began to paint, imitating anatomical studies from the 15th and 16th century Italian, Renaissance masters. His first works therefore took at the human figure as their subject and he focused on representing the human condition through images of fallen angels or introspective male and female figures. Navarro soon extended his area of interest to include the anatomy of the horse, he says he is drawn to their ‘raw power and energy’ and for some time now, the horse has been his preferred subject. The artist comes from an equestrian background-his family raises stallions in their home town-and a glance through his teenage scrapbook is enough to discover his early attention to the horse’s strength. However it was only in 2002 that he started to show his horses in public and today they are his most emblematic artworks. The horse paintings represent Navarro’s growth as an artist and are a perfect blend of various cultural and artistic influences. His first exhibition dedicated to horses, ‘El Año del Caballo’ (The Year of the Horse) at Galerìa Habitante in Panamá in 2002 showed evidence of 3 important influences. He returned to his original source material, to Renaissance art which is filled with equestrian images, as a base for the works. The horses were still highly figurative but started showing a strong expressionist influence, evidencing Navarro’s deep admiration for Ecuador’s great master Osvalso Guayasamin. To this he added another important cultural influence and looked to the ancient art of China. As explained by Puerto Rican-Panamanian art critic Angeles Ramos Baquero, in Navarro’s 2002 exhibition catalogue, “From ancient China’s decorative art, Navarro’s art work takes its most evident inspiration”. Eduardo Navarro’s accomplishments include exhibitions throughout Latin America and Europe as well as in the U.S., Japan, China, and Taiwan. In 1996, he was awarded the bronze prize at the Osaka Triennale in Japan and in 1994 the Grand Prize at the XXII Salon International in Columbia. The horse is often regarded as a symbol of diligence and of an enterprising spirit. Navarro’s works are popular in both the Eastern and Western worlds and are included in a number of important public and private collections including: Osaka Contemporary Art Centre, Osaka, Japan; The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A; Centro Cultural De Miraflores (Miraflores Cultural Enter), Lima, Peru; Deutsch-Iberoamerikaniche Gesellscaft, Frankfurt, Germany; Museo de Arte (Museum of Art), Colombia; Museo Latinoamericano de Arte Contemporaneo (LatinAmerican Museum of Contemporary Art), Balboa, Panama; Centro Wilfredo Lam (Wilfredo Lam Enter), La Habana, Cuba and the Museo de Angeles (Angels Museum), Turègano, Segovia; Spain. Apart from his talent as an artist Eduardo Navarro is an astute businessman. Having qualified as an engineer in 1981, he gained an MBA in 1985, he is the founding director of a number of companies in Panama covering a wide variety of industries: including publishing, tourism, distribution, gasoline stations, Petroport and PT management and more.



123 x 125cm

For anyone with a love for horses, the exhibition “Caballos” (Horses) by award - winning Panamanian artist Eduardo Navarro is a must see. This will be the inaugural 2012 cultural exchange between South Africa and Panama and these magnificent works will be on display at Graham’s Fine Art Gallery at Broadacres, FourWays, Johannesburg.

134.7 x 134.8cm

The Republic of Panama established diplomatic relations with South Africa in the year 1995 and opened an embassy for the first time in Pretoria in September 2000. Twelve years later, this exhibition is one of the results of a number of cooperation agreements negotiated to enhance the almost two decades of bilateral relations. Endorsed by the Ministries of Arts and Culture from both countries there is great excitement in seeing this exhibition for the first time in South Africa. The paintings bring the power of the horse to life and pound with energy and colour. Prancing, dancing, rearing, leaping: the nobility of the horse is shown through Navarro’s vibrant and passionate canvases. Navarro soon extended his area of interest to include the anatomy of the horse; he says he is drawn to their ‘raw power and energy’ and for some time now, the horse has been his preferred subject. Now, after more than a decade of studying and showing his horses Navarro’s most recent work has taken a further step forward, expressing the power and movement of the horse. 49




135.8 x 247cm

About Panama The Panamanian cultural heritage is the result of the blend of many other cultures, specially the Spaniard, the African and that of the local natives. Our music and food are a few examples of this cultural phenomenon. In the area of arts, the works of our painters, musicians and writers, project the obvious mix of foreign influence with our autochthonous traditions and costumes.

The artist employs the techniques of ‘hard-brushing’ and ‘dripping’ to break down the boundaries between subject, the horse, and background. Emphasis is not on the accuracy of the image, but rather on enhancing the movement and the energy of the stallions racing across the canvas. This exhibition is intended as the beginning of a long journey enabling two countries to become much closer through the understanding of their cultural experiences. It is hoped that this will also trigger the interest of more South Africans to explore and discover Panama in the same way many Conquistadores adventured in search of new frontiers. 50


The presence of the African element within our culture has to be highlighted as part of the bilateral relations between Panama and South Africa. The purpose of having a cooperative agreement in the field of arts and culture goes hand in hand with said objective. Part of this agreement, is the exchange of national talents and samples of their works. In the scope of international relations, the use of arts and culture is important. Beyond diplomatic affairs, the exchange of artistic experiences, through what we could define as Cultural Embassies has become an important tool for negotiators to improve such relations. We intend to make use of such strategy to allow the people of each of our two countries to get to know each other better; how we think, how we feel, how we struggle, how we dream. The culture and traditions of a nation define the character of its people. It is through these Cultural Missions that regions like Central America and the Caribbean and Southern Africa will come closer regardless of the distances and borders. So it is to become part of our priorities to promote the cultural exchange.

Does your inspiration come from the mustangs?

116 x 210.3cm

‘Yes, but not only from the mustangs - also from all free horses that ever roamed the world - the steppe horses from Mongolia for example. In my work I try to portray the spiritual freedom of the wild horses and their exceptional contempt for any civility or restraint. Also very present are the force, strength and nobility of these exceptional beasts that have been an important factor in the world’s history, civilization and development. They have always been there for us...’

118.7 x 91cm Details: The exhibition will be on show at Graham’s Fine art Gallery opening on Thursday October 18 and running until December 16. Previews will take place on 15, 16 and 17 October Enquiries: +27 11 465 9192 Address: Cnr Cedar and Valley Rds, Broadacres, Fourways, Johannesburg, South Africa Gallery Hours Monday to Saturday: 09:00 - 17:00, Sunday 09:00 - 13:00. Phone: +27 11 465 9192 | 467 0649 Fax: +27 11 465 7631 Graham Britz: +27 83 605 5000 Cape Town Office Sarah Sinisi: +27 84 568 5639













1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport Engine: Wildcat 425 cid V8 (360 bhp) Top Speed: 125-mph Location: Route 66, USA

Porsche 997 Turbo Engine: 3.6 L twin-turbocharged engine (473 bhp) Acceleration: 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds Top Speed: 193 mph Location: Porsche Racetrack at the Porsche Cayenne factory in Leipzig, Ger many



The International Race Horse Magazine introduces Horse Power Ignited. In part one, of what will be a regular feature, we look at the horse power inspired transport of today, meticulously captured to evoke the senses. Collected and treasured or driven to thrill, anyway you look at it, moving or still these are modern thoroughbreds. Man’s thirst for speed and beauty started with his relationship with the horse.





Infinity FX 2012 Engine: V6 3.7 Litres (325 hp) Top Speed: 137 mph Location: Franschhoek Pass, South Africa



Lamborghini Gallardo Engine: 5.0 Litres V10 (513 bhp) Top Speed: 199 mph Location: Maximilian Street, M端nchen, Ger many





Porsche 911 2010 Engine: 3.4 l Horizontally Opposed / 6 (350 bhp) Top Speed: 179 mph Location: Frankfurter-Tunnel, Ger many



Ferrari F430 Engine: 4.3L V8 (483 hp) Top Speed: 196 mph Location: M端nchen, Ger many

I mage s by : Gide on van der Watt P hotography 61







‘ La Berg

, is a lush green 1000 hectares boarding farm situated at the foot of the magnificent Langeberg mountains, in the picturesque BAR valley. The farm is located in the heart of the Thoroughbred industry of the Western Cape, only 10 km from Klawervlei stud, home of Captain Al, where some of the best sires in South Africa are at stud.

Contact: Hanno Joubert | Mobile: 0829299516 | Fax: +27 028 514 2801| Email:



The Art By Robin Bruss. CEO, Cape Thoroughbred Sales


elling racehorses is an art. And it might even be a science. For no one ever needed to own a racehorse, but like all items of beauty, thoroughbreds can create desire. The racehorse epitomises nobility and status, and rekindles the centuries old connection between men and horses. I’m often asked what I think the purpose of racing is. For the betting industry, it’s the opportunity to back one’s judgement in what Mark Twain wryly observed as being ‘ the difference of opinion that makes a horse race !”. But for the sporting owner, it’s an opportunity far greater than just a gamble. Its a chance to enter the wonderful lifestyle that racehorse owner’s enjoy, but moreso, its also an opportunity to place yourself in the permanence of History.

Right: South Africa’s unique method of selling thoroughbreds Pop singer Freshly Ground’s Zolani was a hit.



I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvass or write wonderful poetry.

I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks. - Donald Trump.

For its interesting that at the touch of a computer button, you can print out a 20 generation pedigree and race record of your horse, when its almost impossible to print out a three generation pedigree of yourself! The history of the turf, faithfully recorded across the world for 400 years, creates racing’s greatest legacy with 600,000 thoroughbreds spread across 65 countries – and as we have come to realise in the lottery of life, the greatest racehorses these days can come from any continent, or even the most humble of origins. And that gives hope to all of us that one day, with luck and judgement, our own locally bred or acquired horse could take us to foreign shores and compete against kings and sheiks in the world’s biggest and richest races - like the $5,000,000 Dubai Duty Free Stakes Gr.1 or the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup Gr.1, and in doing so, take us into the history books alongside the greats of all time. What we have also come to understand is that in our corner of the world, in the southernmost tip of Africa, we have a fertile breeding ground which enables the production of some of the toughest, soundest and most durable horses to 65


be found in the world of racing. South Africa has very tough sports medication rules, so our breed has grown up tougher than most northern hemisphere counterparts, and this stands us in good stead as a nursery and springboard for international competition.

In the population of all races and racehorses, the best of breed is defined by what we call black type or Graded Races, that is, Grade 1 (Championship events), Grade 2 (lead ups to champions), Grade 3 (important feature races), and Listed Races, which are important races building into Graded Races. These races comprise only about 3% of all races run and earn the winners bold black type in pedigrees published in the catalogues. All graded races are reviewed and scrutinised for quality annually by the Graded Races Committee of the National Horseracing Authority, and then confirmed internationally, so that all graded races around the world point to similar quality assurance. When pedigrees are published in sales catalogues, it stands to reason that the greater the level of bold black type on the pedigree page, particularly elite Grade 1 contenders, the stronger the best of breed label on that horse. South Africa’s 6 time Champion Sire JET MASTER, for example, won 17 races, of which 9 were at Grade 1 level. And if Grade 1 winners represent only 1 horse out of every 600 in South Africa, its remarkable that Jet Master has sired 16 individual Grade 1 winners of Grade 1 races from 509 runners. It hardly surprising therefore that at the 2012 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, one of his colts topped the sale at a price of R2.8 million, whilst a daughter was top priced filly at R2.2 million. Regrettably Jet Master died in 2011 and his final yearling crop will be amongst the choice pickings of the 2013 Cape Premier Yearling Sale (Book 1 – Select session). Held in the last week of January each year inside the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), the CPYS sets out to epitomise what Trump might call ‘the art of the deal”. Buyers fly in not only from all over South Africa, but from all corners of the globe. A series of lifestyle functions and events take place scattered between the Cape racing season’s 66


Left: Fertile land which breeds some of the toughest, soundest, most durable thoroughbreds in the world. Below: South African bred JAY PEG, purchased for R140,000 at the yearling sale, became a champion at home and in Dubai, where he won the $5m Dubai Duty Free S. Gr.1 defeating a star studded international field. He earned over R40 million and now stands at stud in Bonnievale.



Left: Fertile land which breeds some of the toughest, soundest, most durable thoroughbreds in the world

marquee events, highlighted by Avontuur Stud Cape Fillies Guineas (Gr.1) on December 7th, the R1m Cape Premier Yearling Sale Guineas (Gr.1) on December 22nd, the R1m L’Ormarins Queens Plate (Gr.1) and the R1m Maine Chance Paddock S. (Gr.1) at Kenilworth on January 11th, 2013, and the R3m J&B Met (Gr.1) on February 7th. In between, it hosts golf days, fashion shows, stud visits, cocktail parties, dinner parties, and the social whirl of the well heeled, on beautiful stud farms and at magnificent and exotic locations across the Cape Peninsula. Details are to be found on the auction house website : In a masterpiece of logistical planning, the empty CTICC is taken over by the auction house on Saturday night 18th January and over 48 hours, with military precision, come 300 portable stables, and full infrastructure, construction of a sales auditorium, with seating and fine dining for 1000 people. By Tuesday all the horses transported into Cape Town’s city centre are stabled so that public viewing may commence on Wednesday’s viewing day. There is something eerie about viewing horses indoors, but behaviour is impeccable from humans and horses, its air conditioned, under piped music, and thoroughly civilised.

The auction sale commences with the official opening on Thursday night, 23rd January. In 2011, famous pop group Mango Groove was the opening act with Cape Premier, Helen Zille, the welcome speaker, whilst in 2012, Freshly Ground’s Zolani and Gary Player did the honours. We in South Africa conduct our brand of auction sales, with wine, women and song, a giant diamond vision screen, liberal champagne, and our horses in Oscar-rivalling performances on a big stage, whilst buyers and sellers enjoy gourmet dining and an international camaraderie. Its big business as the sale turns over R100m and yearlings change hands from the R50,000 floor price to last year’s sale topper at R2,8m with a median price of R300,000. Civilised indeed. Buyers hope to be smart and lucky. Amongst the first horses sold in 2011 were 3 colts that won three of the four Grade 1 races for juveniles in 2012, War Horse, Soft Falling Rain and The Hangman and they had sold for R275 000 ($31,000), R350 000($40,000) and R425 000 ($49,000) respectively. War Horse and The Hangman will aim for the richest Classics in South Africa in 2013, whilst Soft Falling Rain has been exported to campaign for Dubai’s deputy ruler, Sheik Hamdan al Maktoum in the 2013 Dubai carnival. The Cape Premier Yearling Sale (Book 1) on 23-24th January is more than an auction, it is a tour de force showcase of the world of thoroughbred racing in South Africa. It welcomes one and all as an experience as well as an event, and a chance to find that elusive place in history.




Q ueen’s P late 2013

Saturday 12 TH January 2013 kenilworth race course, CAPE TOWN




TICKETS AVAILABLE AT COMPUTICKET Gold circle (PTY) Ltd is licensed by the western cape gambling and racing board. No persons under the age of 18 are permitted to gamble. Winners know when to stop. National responsible gambling programme, toll-free counselling line 0800 006 008.





NUTRITION CHALLENGE of growing a sound marketable horse flows over into feed requirements of the young racing athlete

About Dr Rensia Mรถller Dr Rensia Mรถller initiated her studies at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, where she obtained her Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Animal Science, Biochemistry and Genetics. She subsequently earned her BScAgric Honours cum laude in Equine Nutrition and Genetics, then enrolled for her Masters in Equine Exercise Physiology and Equine Nutrition at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty. To fully enhance her equine passion, she completed her Veterinary Science degree at Onderstepoort cum laude. She is currently based in South Africa on a safari game lodge, acts as veterinary equine nutritionist for Epol and attends and lectures at intercontinental veterinary and nutritional conferences as her schedule allows, keeping up with the latest developments in related research.




eeding the Thoroughbred weanling requires careful consideration at this critical growth stage. The nutritional choice rests largely on expectations for individual horses, as some weanlings will be prepared for yearling sales, requiring a well-grown individual, whilst others will be kept on the farm as future performance horses, requiring a different feeding program as there is less pressure on them to look their best at a young age. Genetic diversity and physical differences within a breed also affects growth rate and therefore feed intake required per individual for optimal growth and future performance. Nutrition mistakes (overfeeding or underfeeding) made early in life can lead to structural problems that limit performance potential. Recent research both in US and Japan has indicated that a Thoroughbred foal destined for yearling sales, given access to pasture and mare’s milk only may not be able to achieve today’s industry standards for growth. They require supplemental/creep feed (not only supplemental protein and minerals, but also supplemental energy). Coleman at the University of Kentucky concluded in a study that, although there had been concerns that creep feeding would contribute to DOD because the sales foal is stimulated to develop at its genetic maximum, the opposite was true. Creep feeding actually cut the potential for postweaning developmental problems, as the foal on creep feed will have grown to his optimum potential, thus reducing a compensatory growth spurt after weaning. The challenge of feeding sales weanlings then becomes balancing optimal growth, maturity and condition with sound skeletal development, and trainers then receive a young well grown horse which will maintain steady growth and soundness during onset of vigorous training, as compared to a less well grown individual which shows compensatory growth together with stress and strain of exercise, enhancing changes of early breakdown.



FEEDING THE YOUNG RACEHORSE: Once the young horse starts more intense training, improving performance aiming at safely increasing blood and muscle glucose and reducing heat production becomes more important for increased workload and muscle building. This age group requires higher digestible energy than can be provided with a pre-training or rider ration, and use of a first level energy dense racing ration in a stepped up feeding profile together with manipulation of roughage (type and quantity) can impact on performance. Feed rations should provide nutrients supporting bone strength, aiding muscle building and recovery, immune enhancing anti-oxidants to prevent and reduce muscle damage, and maintain gut health (decrease risk of gastric ulcers and hindgut acidosis). Feeding energy dense, grain processed feeds in small frequent meals will benefit both trainer and horse as less feed will be needed compared to bulky racing feeds containing raw grains, as the processed grain feed is more energy dense, but also reduces heat, acid and gas due to efficient primary digestion in the small intestine and less flow through of undigested grains to the large intestine causing hind gut acidosis.

FEED REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUNG RACEHORSES IN MEDIUM TO HARD TRAINING ARE: • Over 50% of the diet should be supplied as grain to maintain body weight • Lowering weight handicap by safely reducing water absorption residue in the large intestine • Over 90% of ration should be digested in the small intestine leading to lower internal heat increment especially in horses working in hot conditions • When there is loss of appetite/ exceeding appetite limit due to more intense training: energy dense ration can be fed in small frequent meals to provide nutrient dense palatable nutrition

PROTEIN & WORKLOAD: Time of feeding during training/pre-race:

Young horses in medium to hard training need a ration to aid building muscle compliant in correct protein percentage, optimal quality and digestibility, and containing adequate levels of the essential amino acids lysine, methionine and threonine, as well as the branched chain amino acids especially leucine. Too high protein content can negatively affect racehorses: In a study by Glade (1983) race time was increased by 1-3 seconds for every 1000g of crude protein above the 1978 NRC recommendation. Pagan (1987) found that muscle glycogen levels may be negatively affected by dietary protein level.

Large concentrate meals (max 2.3 kg per feed) should be fed no less than 4 hours before racing or training. Blood glucose levels are lowest 90 minutes after feeding and, if exercising at this time, horses fatigue sooner due to low blood glucose

Optimal weight:

Horses should be weighed and a record kept of performance to determine the optimum body condition for best performance. The higher the desired level of performance, the narrower the margin for error and horses should be maintained within 10 kg of their optimum weight (Kohnke).

A correct ration should combine increased energy levels with highly digestible protein (40g crude protein:Mcal DE) that are primarily digested in the small intestine, rendering protein maximally efficient to muscle metabolism. Oil & Workload:

Roughage – a weight handicap:

Higher oil levels offer benefits for temperament, heat load and endurance performance as oil provides a cool, steady supply of energy, allowing the young horse to preserve blood glucose levels. This ‘glucose sparing effect’ delays the onset of fatigue, so that although horses cannot increase their top speed, they can maintain it for longer.

Each kg of roughage holds 6-8 kg of water and electrolytes in the gut. This additional weight to a racehorse represents a weight handicap. An extra 23kg can slow down speed by 0.64m/sec and 66kg slows down speed by up to 1.3m/sec (observations by Dr John Kohnke). Roughage intake should be kept at around 4-5 kg daily to maintain appetite, gut health and prevent hindgut acidosis. It can be reduced by 0.5kg per day to 2.25kg per day for several days prior to racing (although I recommend no lower than 3kg per day for a minimum 3 days prior to race day), giving a weight advantage on race day.

Muscle Recovery:

Hard training and racing is a catabolic process causing muscle damage due to lactic acid and/ overexertion. By supplying the correct balance of carbohydrate, specific essential amino acids (especially branched chain amino acids) and anti-oxidants after an intense workload, the catabolic state can be switched to an anabolic (rebuilding of tissue) state, enabling the muscles to recover and respond quicker to training and racing. Training young horses on a suitable race ration, and then feeding 0.5-1 kg of a more energy dense race ration post race and after hard work will enhance glycogen synthesis and aid muscle recovery by supplying additional anti-oxidants, carbohydrates and essential amino acids. To be effective however, this ration must be consumed no more than 1 hour after hard work or post race.

From foal to finish remain a balancing act between achieving a commercially desirable level of growth and preventing DOD. The keys to success are ensuring correctly balanced rations in the various phases and regulating feed intake to safely obtain desirable growth rates and optimum race performance in the young athlete.

References: Glade MJ: Nutrition and performance of racing Thoroughbreds. Eq Vet J 1983:15-31 • LM Lawrence, Univ of Kentucky, USA: Protein requirements of equine athletes Pagan JD et al:The effect of dietary energy source on exercise performance in Standardbred horses. Eq Exer Physiol 1987:2, 686. • • • •




“Make a safe bet on a winning name.”

Image courtesy of Gold Circle

SUCCESS IS IN THE BAG For horse related questions, contact Dr Rensia Möller on or email Epol on For more information about Epol specific feeds and services:




2 FEB 2013






spectacle of glossy vibrancy and intense exhilaration enveloped in a cauldron of sensual excess that sets the pulse racing. This is the core of J&B Met day at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town taking place on 2 February 2013. It’s a gathering of the rich and famous, the fashion junkies and the thousands who seek to explore the intensity of life in the hubbub of the milling crowds. It provides the vehicle for dreams as the masses experience the thrill of the thundering hooves and the brute force of the majestic thoroughbreds as they compete for glory in the greatest race



on the southern tip of Africa. It is an experience of passion that draws over 50 000 people to the picturesque setting where for decades the mighty beasts and their diminutive pilots have fought side by side in their quest for victory. This is horseracing at its absolute best. There is no other outdoor summer social event, which comes close. This is the J& B Met.




The first recorded winner of the Metropolitan Mile, as it was originally known in 1883, was Sir Hercules and, while the race had a chequered existence for many years in the early 1900’s, by the 1960’s it was firmly established as one of the “big three” races in the country along with the Vodacom Durban July and the Gommagomma Summer Cup in Gauteng. The race really came alive for those outside of racing circles when in 1978 J&B stepped in as sponsor and the J&B Met as we know it today was born. 75





2 FEB 2013




And as if to celebrate the dawning of a new era, into the lineup for the race as a four-year-old that year stepped one of the greatest horses ever to race in South Africa, Politician, a magnificent chestnut with an outstanding record. He was the talking point of South African racing and a horse the public wanted to see. The crowds streamed into the course drawn by the aura of this all-conquering beast and he never let them down. With “Big Race� Bertie Hayden in the irons, he cruised home by 3,25 lengths. With a stake of R50 000 that year and a sensational finish, the large crowd was thrilled and the foundation was set for the development of the J&B Met into the massive racing and entertainment spectacular that it is today. And if the thrill of the first J&B Met was not enough, Syd 76


Laird returned the following year with Politician and jockey Bertie Hayden and South Africa watched in awe as possibly the greatest performance by a thoroughbred in South African history was played out before an even greater crowd than the year before. Carrying top weight again – this time under 58,5kg – Politician became boxed as they swept into the home straight.There was nowhere for him to go and with 200 metres of the race left the chances of him getting a run let alone winning looked impossible. But the strapping chestnut was not to be denied and virtually finding his own way through the horses ahead of him he produced an explosive burst of breathtaking acceleration to catch the champion filly Festive Season just short of the post and beat her by half a length. It was a performance not seen before and Politician became the only horse ever to win the race twice, until more recently 77


when Pocket Power notched up three consecutive wins. The roll of honour includes the names of many of the top horses to race in the country including Foveros, Wolf Power, Model Man, Empress Club, London News, Horse Chestnut, Yard-Arm and Pocket Power. As a social function the J&B Met is renowned throughout the country and has become so popular that in 2002 the gates of Kenilworth racecourse had to be closed midway through the afternoon and the “house full” signs put up. More than 50 000 people had crammed into the picturesque venue. Like the great sporting and social events around the world, the J&B Met is a celebration of beauty and magnificence a gathering of the majestic thoroughbreds and the beautiful people who flock to Kenilworth Racecourse in their thousands to be part of the very special occasion. Year End Edition INTERNATIONAL RACEHORSE





HE `craic’ (fun), as the Irish jockeys would call it, is about to begin again and the newswires are starting to rattle in the lead-up to the annual Avis Coach Charter International Jockeys’ Challenge, in which six top South African riders will lock “bridles” with a mega-star cast of overseas jockeys in a total of eight races at both Turffontein and Greyville. This event, now in its 5th year and growing from strength to strength is currently the only international horseracing event in South Africa. Staged by the Racing Association in conjunction with racing and betting companies Phumelela and Gold Circle will be held over two racemeetings - the first leg will be at Turffontein in Johannesburg on Friday, 16th November and the action moves to Gold Circle’s Durban flagship racecourse, Greyville on Sunday, 18th November. The local team, who will again be awarded their Protea colours for their participation following negotiations between the South African Jockeys Association’s Tex Lerena and the South African Equestrian Association, took the honours at the first three International Jockeys Challenges but lost out to the 78


International Team last year. The South Africans, who will be captained by current champion Anton Marcus, will be going all-out to reclaim the trophy. Marcus will have a fine band of men to help him achieve that goal with his team including former South African and Mauritian champion Jeff Lloyd, who will be jetting in from Australia to don his Protea colours at the two meetings. The other team members are Gavin Lerena, who so narrowly missed winning his first premiership last season by one race, former SA champion Piere Strydom, internationally renowned Anthony Delpech and Muzi Yeni (who won the Victor Ludorum at the first leg last year), with S’Manga Khumalo penned in as the reserve. The South African team will definitely not have everything their own way, with the likes of Richard Hughes on the opposing team. The hot streak of form he has maintained this year continued at Windsor on Monday night when his seven winners equalled Frankie Dettori’s record and virtually secured him the UK jockeys’ premiership for 2012.


2011/2012 SEASON: C0-LEADING SIRE SOUTH AFRICA BY WIN % (170 or more runs NHRA) with Jet Master. 2nd LEADING SIRE SOUTH AFRICA BY AEPR (100 or more runners S. Post) behind Jet Master. 2nd LEADING SIRE OF 3-Y-O SOUTH AFRICA BY AEPR (S. Post) behind Jet Master. LEADING SIRE OF 2-Y-O SOUTH AFRICA BY WINS (S. Post). LEADING SIRE OF 2-Y-O SOUTH AFRICA BY % WINNERS/RUNNERS (10 or more runners, S. Post). 2nd LEADING SIRE OF 2-Y-O SOUTH AFRICA BY STAKES (S. Post).



AVONTUUR PO Box 1128, Somerset West 7129 General Manager: Pippa Mickleburgh Tel: (021) 855 1442 • Mobile: 083 658 4404 Email: Web:

Home of Fast Horses, Fine Wines and Fabulous Food.


Hughes was the leading point-scorer on the International side last year and is no stranger to riding in South Africa. He will lead a brilliant team that includes fellow Irishmen - Jimmy Fortune, Tom Queally, Jamie Spencer and Seamie Heffernan. Brazilian Joao Moreira, who is set to win the Singapore jockeys’ title again, gives the team a more international flavour. Racing Association CEO Larry Wainstein, is thrilled with the quality of riders who will participate in this year’s Challenge. ``It’s amazing that we’ve been able to put together such a hot International team to defend the title,’’ he said. ``There are only two changes from last year – Seamie Heffernan and Joao Moreira replace Olivier Peslier and Andrasch Starke in the side. ``Moreira is a coup. He’s coming from Singapore where he is a phenomenon and rides two to three winners a meeting on a regular basis.The same can be said about Richard Hughes, who is probably going to be the UK’s champion jockey this year, and Tom Queally, who has been Frankel’s regular partner.’’ He is as excited about the Protea team, particularly the inclusion of Jeff Lloyd, ``who has been a great ambassador for South African racing’’ since he left our shores to ply his trade in Australia and Hong Kong in 2007. The Irish jockeys will be flown to South Africa via Cairo by Egypt Air, while accommodation will be provided by Emperors 80


Palace in Johannesburg and Fairmount Zimbali Resort in Durban.The international jockeys will spend the last three days of their trip at Sun City. Wainstein believes that media sponsors the Rising Sun group of newspapers ``will help us turn the event in Durban into a spectacle to be remembered. They’ve contributed tremendously to the sport of racing and whenever they’ve been involved in an event, they’ve brought hoards of people to the track’’. The jockeys’ apparel will be supplied by Velotex. The Jockeys will wear their National Colours on their silks. Each of the Challenge races are handicaps and the runners in each race are seeded by a panel of racing experts to ensure as level a playing field as possible. A draw awards one team with horses seeded 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11, with the other team pulling the remaining mounts. Points are awarded as follows: first – 30; second – 15; third – 12; fourth – 10; fifth – 8; sixth – 7 down to 1 for last. If a jockey does not ride in a race, he gets seven points. The team that scores the most points wins the Challenge, but there are also awards for the top riders in each of the legs and the top rider overall. For more information contact Larry Wainstein on 011 683 3220.

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2012: A LEADING EUROPEAN SIRE • 3rd LEADING Sire EUROPE by Winners to 3rd Oct. • 4th LEADING Sire EUROPE by % Wnrs/Rnrs to 3rd Oct (100 or more runners). • 6th LEADING Sire EUROPE by Stakes Wins to 3rd Oct.



PO Box 1128, Somerset West 7129 General Manager: Pippa Mickleburgh Tel: (021) 855 1442 • Mobile: 083 658 4404 Email: Web: INTERNATIONAL RACE HORSE Year End Edition

• 7th LEADING Sire EUROPE by number of Stakes Winners to 3rd Oct. • Sire of BEETHOVEN (G1), MANAWANUI (G1), TEMIDA (G1), BANCHEE (G1), CAMELIA ROSE (G1p), SILENT KILLER (G1p), VOLA E VA (G1p), FENCING MASTER (G1p), etc.

By Geir Stabell

BREEDERS’ CUP 2012 Girl Power to light up the Breeders’ Cup The Classic is the Saturday highlight and the most valuable race on the Breeders’ Cup menu, but the best race at this year’s US racing feast may well be seen on the Friday, when four world class fillies will meet in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic. In fact, this year’s Breeders’ Cup might be one we best remember as one when girl power was in full focus.








oyal Delta won the Ladies Classic last year and the Bill Mott trained daughter of Empire Maker will be back to defend her title.When she’s at her peak, this filly is very good. Which is why Mott sent her to the Dubai World Cup (G1) and a run against the boys at Meydan in March. That plan did not work out but, given a rest following her trip to the Middle East, Royal Delta bounced right back to form on home soil in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs in June, a race show won in breathtaking style by eight lengths under top weight. Her next race was not such a stroll, but Royal Delta prevailed by a neck when giving 9lb to Tiz Miz Sue in the Delaware Handicap (G2) in July.The pair finished well clear and it was another solid performance. As was Royal Delta’s following run, despite the fact that she suffered defeat when going for the prestigious Personal Ensign Handicap (G1) at Saratoga in August. Giving ten pounds to Todd Pletcher’s filly Love and Pride (a Grade 1 winner also next time out) proved a bit too much, and Royal Delta went down by half a length. Fellow Grade 1 winner It’s Tricky finished third and Tiz Miz Sue was back in fourth place. A month later, on September 29, Royal Delta took in her final prep for the Breeders’ Cup, when meeting It’s Tricky again in the Beldame Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in New York. She had been well beaten in this race last year, and the punters made it close between Royal Delta and It’s Tricky. When they passed the winning post it wasn’t so close. Royal Delta humiliated here arch rival to the tune on 9 ½ lengths. It’s Tricky did not produce her best on the day but still, one could only be both surprised and impressed by Royal Delta’s show. She has never been better than this.



So, with three wins from five starts in North America this year, one would think Royal Delta has done enough to start hot favourite as she tries to win the Ladies Classic for a second time. In a normal year, that would certainly be the case. This is not a normal year, however, as there are plenty of smart looking girls heading to California in early November. Not just on two legs. No fewer than four other equestrian ladies also take top class form into the battle. In all probability, the Ladies Classic will be the race of the meeting – if not the race of the year. Awesome Feather has the most impressive cv of them, though this quartet is evenly matched and it is anybody’s guess, at least at the time of writing, who comes out of top in this race. Awesome Feather, a four-year-old daughter of Awesome Again, would herself be rather surprised if it’s not her though, as she has no idea what it’s like to lose a horserace. Her record is a perfect ten-for-ten, and her comeback win at Belmont Park in September was something else. Okay, she was a heavy favourite, but then Awesome Feather, who won the one-mile Nasty Storm Stakes had to be seen to be believed. Due to a problem with a tendon, which had limited her 2011 campaign to just two starts, Awesome Father had not raced since late January when she went to post for the Nasty Storm. She was sharp enough though, fitness was not a problem as she left her rivals for dead at the top of the stretch. Passing the post hard on the bridle, she won the race by 11 ¼ lengths from All Due Respect, who was coming off a career best effort when third, beaten just 2 lengths by the top sprinter Turbulent Descent, in the Ballerina Stakes (G1) four weeks earlier. How good this performance was


is hard to say, it is impossible to give it a certain rating, but jockey Jeffrey Sanchez gave us a clue after the race; “She was better today than at the Sunshine Millions”, he said. Hard to believe but equally hard to argue with. Awesome Feather produced Globeform 123p when slamming five accomplished rivals in the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park back in January, a race she won easily by almost six lengths from Delightful Miss. Her Sunshine Millions win also came after a break, as Awesome Feather had not raced since winning the Gazelle Stakes (G1) at Aqueduct last December, when she also sailed home in splendid isolation and returned Globeform 121. That win came just over a year after Frank Stronach had paid $2,3 million for the filly at the Keeneland Sales. Stronach bought Awesome Feather on the back of her solid win in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), when she was trained by Stanley Hough. She joined Chad Brown, who has been given the luxury of applying plenty of patience when training this highly talented, but somewhat delicate, lady. Patience normally pays off in this game, and if Awesome Feather is at the top of her game on November 2, well, then even the likes of Royal Delta, Questing and My Miss Aurelia will know they’ve been in a race. While Awesome Feather’s pilot must have been tempted to wave to the crowd as she prepped for the Breeders’ Cup, such ideas never entered the heads of Corey Nakatani and Irad Ortiz Jr, as they rode My Miss Aurelia and Questing in the Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park) two days after Awesome Feather’s win in New York. Nakatani won on My My Miss Aurelia, in what was a tremendous battle to 85


the line. Questing, a good size smaller than My Miss Aurelia, had outclassed her rivals in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, and she was burdened with seven pounds more than My Miss Aurelia at Parx. The weights certainly made all the difference that day, as My Miss Aurelia won by a head. Can she beat Questing also at level weights? Perhaps. The Cotillion was only the second start this year for My Miss Aurelia, and she is likely to improve again. She was champion juvenile filly last year, when she took the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) by 3 lengths. Like Awesome Feather, My Miss Aurelia will go into the Ladies Classic as an unbeaten runner. One of these perfect records will have to go on the day, perhaps both, after what should be some contest around the Santa Anita oval. WISE DAN – DIRT OR TURF? The best horse going into this year’s Breeders’ Cup is the Charles Lopresti trained gelding Wise Dan, a high class performer who is unusually versatile. Wise Dan has won big races on dirt, turf and on synthetic tracks. He has also won races at no fewer than five different tracks in North America. His most recent success came at Woodbine in Toronto, Canada, where he was an overwhelming winner of the Woodbine Mile (G1) in September. This race has been a very good pointer to the BC Mile over the years. Lopresti saddled Turallure to win the Woodbine Mile in 2011, and sent the grey horse to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, where he was beaten just a nose by Court Vision, who had won the 2010 edition of the Woodbine Mile. Logic might seem to be; Wise Dan should go for the turf race.

If he does, he will be a strong favourite, even in the presence of the usual bunch of high class European milers. Though the Breeders’ Cup Classic may still be the race Wise Dan ought to, or deserves to if you like, go for at Santa Anita. He has shown his best form on turf and synthetics but he did win the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs last autumn, and another factor comes heavily into the reckoning here; that of Horse of The Year. If Wise Dan can win the Classic, and his form certainly says that he can, he will also be in pole position for the coveted Horse of The Year title. What would I do? I would give him the Classic ticket, simply because he is the best horse in North America, having run to Globeform 132 when taking the Ben Ali Stakes (G2) by over ten lengths at Keeneland in April. The Classic division has no other horse even close to that level of form, and for me the main question with Wise Dan would be the 10-furlong trip, more than the surface. He has never tried further than 9 furlongs, the distance of the Clark at Churchill, where he was very strong passing the winning post 3 ¾ lengths in front of Mission Impazible. Churchill Downs Downs is far more testing than Santa Anita. The the track record over ‘nine panels’ at Santa Anita is almost two seconds quicker than the record at Churchill, and Santa Anita lends itself more to speed than stamina. Wise Dan has an impressively high cruising speed and, while he has led all the way in a couple of his race, he was tucked in just behind the pace at Woodbine, and relaxed well until jockey John Velazquez gave him the cue. The son of Wiseman’s Ferry quickened right away early in the straight and won as he liked, passing the post 3 ¼ lengths in front of Hunters Bay, with the European trained G1 winner Cityscape back in third. Wise Dan’s winning margin could have been bigger. “He is a freak”, said Velazquez as he came into the winners’ circle after the race. Still, Wise Dan has experienced defeat this term, when fellow Breeders’ Cup contender Ron the Greek got the better of him in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) in June. Like the Clark, the Foster is a race run over 9 furlongs at Churchill Downs, and Ron the Greek managed to get his head in front of Wise Dan on this occasion. A four-pound pull at the weights obviously helped Ron the Greek, but he is a game and genuine performer who will be respected in the Classic. Not least since this Bill Mott trained contender is proven over 1 ¼ miles at Santa Anita. He confirmed his place amongst the elite when winning the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) in Match. Coming from off the pace, as is his style, Ron the Greek won the ‘Big Cap’ by 3 ½ lengths from Setsuko. It may not have been the best Big Cap ever seen but he was visually impressive. His win was also a nice boost to the form of another BC Classic candidate, the Kathy Ritvo trainer four-year-old Mucho Macho Man, who had beaten Ron the Greek quite easily in the Sunshine Millions Classic five weeks earlier. With or without Wise Dan, the Breeders’ Cup Classic is shaping up to be a highly competitive, and quite open, affair this year.The local favourite, and the one most likely to go off at the shortest odds at Santa Anita, is the Bob Baffert trained Game On Dude, who was runner-up in the 2011 BC Classic. Game On Dude has improved again at age five. Like Royal Delta, he failed to fire in the Dubai World Cup (G1) but the son of Awesome Again has run four solid races, for three wins and one second, back home in 86


California since. He was particularly impressive when slamming his nearest rival by over seven lengths in the Californian Stakes (G2) at Hollywood Park back in June, and giving Richard’s Kid four pounds and a solid 1 1/2-length beating in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) just over a month later. Chantal Sutherland, one of the best female jockeys in the US, partnered him in these races, and again when Game on Dude went for the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar in August. Having judged the pace so well in eight previous rides on Game on Dude, Chantal was a bit too optimistic, or shall we say aggressive, on this occasion, and she pushed Game On Dude to the lead too soon. He responded, as he always does, but got tired in the closing stages and the three-year-old Dullahan caught him close home to win by half a length. Shortly after it was announced that Game On Dude would get a new rider, as Baffert had decided to have his number one pilot Rafal Bejarano on the gelding. “We felt it was time for a change, and that we want our top jockey on our top horse”, Baffert explained.



Bejarano jumped on board for the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) – formerly the Goodwood Stakes – at Santa Anita on the last Saturday in October. Tackling 9 furlongs, arguably his best distance, Game On Dude had little to beat that day and he gained a smooth win at odds of 1/3, beating Grade 3 winner Nonios by 3 ¼ lengths. The battle-hardened six-year-old Flat Out is also in with a chance, having bounced back to form with a gritty win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park last month, (with Ron the Greek well beaten, and winning the race for a second year running), though the four-year-old Much Macho Man may have an even better chance of winning the big race. A late foal, he did well to make his presence felt amongst the best threeyear-olds in 2011 and he has improved this season, gaining high profile wins in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park in January and the Suburban Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park in August; beating Hymn Book comfortably by 2 ½ lengths. Much Macho Man’s enjoyed a rest after this win and his next task was the Woodward Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on September 1. When yet another Breeders’ Cup contender, Ron the Greek’s stable companion To Honor and Serve, denied him by just over a neck. The margin was not big, and one can argue that Mucho 88


Macho Man had a rough trip, but it needs mentioning that To Honor and Serve won with a bit in hand. Trainer Bill Mott’s dilemma after this win, over 9 furlongs, was whether To Honor and Serve should go the Classic or the Dirt Mile at Santa Anita. The colt was given his final prep run in the Kelso Mile (G2) at Belmont Park on September 29, but finished unplaced behind the surprise winner Jersey Town. He may have dropped down in distance in his Breeders’ Cup prep but it has been decided that To Honor and Serve will go for the Classic at Santa Anita. He is a four-year-old son of Bernardini and his biggest win at three came in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct, after he had been a non-staying seventh behind Drosselmeyer in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. His chances are better in California, though trainer Bill Mott has one concern;“he does best in cooler weather”, talking in Fahrenheit he says, “if it is in the 80’s we will be fine, if it is 100 we may have a problem”. The weather in Arcadia, California in early November may have a bigger effect on To Honor and Serve than on other horses, but it is the same for every contender; as they say “if you can’t stand the heat, perhaps you should get out of the kitchen”. And the heat will be turned on at Santa Anita on November 2 and 3. In more ways than one.







Text and Images by Liesl King




BEST-KEPT SECRET Roughly in the middle of Germany lies a little town, almost forgotten by the ravages of time. Surrounded by the famed Black Forest, you will find cobblestone streets, where no cars venture, avenues of beautiful trees and horse drawn carriages, transporting visitors back in time to an era when this little town was Europe’s summer capital.



Photo credit: Baden-Baden Tourism


t is the 19th century, everybody who is anybody descends on Baden-Baden for the summer. Drawn by the thermal springs, like the Romans of old and by the most sumptuous Casino in all of Europe. Its French caretaker Edouard Bénazet, knew a thing or two about catering to the whims of the rich and famous. Employing the very best that Paris has to offer, he styles the rooms along the lines of the French palaces, ensuring that its visitors feel right at home. For here, you rub shoulders with Queen Victoria, Napoleon III and Wilhelm I. Brahms and Berlioz compose their masterpieces, while Dostoevsky, an avid roulette player, loses all and writes The Gambler.

prince charming, who rides to the rescue, a grand ball and even an ugly duckling that turns into a swan. But lets start with the prince.

However, the rich get bored quickly and a new source of entertainment had to be found. Bénazet was quick to spot an opportunity and in 1858, he opened the Baden-Baden racecourse. In a strange geographical twist, the course is actually located in the tiny neighbouring village of Iffezheim, 15km outside Baden-Baden, yet through the centuries, it has become known as the Baden-Baden Racecourse. Here the Grosser Preis von Baden has reigned supreme, ever since La Maladetta, a French filly, won the inaugural running in the autumn of 1858, to the delight of the assembled crowd.

All good fairytales must have strange twists and seemingly unconnected events and this one is no different. In that same year, a bay filly is sold at the Horses in Training Sale at the BBAG sales complex, which happens to back onto the racecourse at the 450m mark. Despite being by champion sire Lomitas, who in this twisted tale belong to Jacobs, she is neither well bred nor eye-catching, being slight of frame and not very tall.

Yet time catches up with all of us and 2009 saw the BadenBaden Racecourse file for bankruptcy. An ambitious new grandstand, built in the middle of the recession spelt the death knell of Germany’s best-known racecourse. The creditors took what they could, leaving the gutted stands looking out over the tall grass where the likes of Pilsudski, Lomitas and Quijano once ran. Luckily Germany is well known for its fairytales, remember the brothers Grimm and this one has all the classic ingredients; a 94


Dr Andreas Jacobs, avid breeder and owner of Gestut Fährhof, Newsells Stud and Maine Chance Farms, refused to accept the inevitable. He firmly believed that with the right management and careful planning the racetrack could be saved. In 2010, gathering a posse of friends with the appropriate skills, they took over the running of the track, under the auspices of Baden Racing.

Her purchaser, Heiko Volz, may have seen something in the small filly in box A76, but more than likely he was just like all buyers, dreaming that perhaps this ugly duckling would be the one to turn into a swan. His ugly duckling costs him a mere €9000. Her name is Danedream. Fast-forward two years and it is the eve of the 2012 Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden. The rich and the famous have once more gathered at Baden-Baden’s Casino. Ascending the red carpet in their grand ball gowns and dinner jackets, owners, trainers and invited guests gather for the Grand Prix Ball, being held in honour of that slight filly, that ugly duckling, who happens to be Germany’s newest Horse of the Year.

..but more than likely he was just like all buyers, dreaming that perhaps this ugly duckling would be the one to turn into a swan. 95


For while Jacobs had been busy turning the Baden-Baden racecourse back into a viable commercial enterprise, Danedream had been busy conquering the world. In BadenBaden, the new CEO Benedict Forndran, quietly got on with the task of getting the phoenix to rise from the ashes, while Danedream quietly got on with winning the Group 1 Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, whipping the butts of a couple of well fancied colts in the process. As the Racecourse slowly ascended to its former glory, the filly became a jetsetter, conquering that famed English bastion of racing, Ascot, to win the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, again leaving some male reputations in tatters. Now on the eve of her attempt to record back-to-back Grosser Preis victories, she is being hailed as Germany’s equivalent of Black Caviar. The Baden-Baden Philharmonic orchestra, which has been accompanying the guests from the opening Viennese waltz, through the foxtrot, to the quickstep and the cha cha, after



a brief flirtation with a sultry tango, puts down their instruments. Silence descends as Andreas Jacobs, her trainer Peter Schiergen and her part owner Heiko Volz take to the stage. Backed by a giant picture of his beloved filly, Volz recounts her victory in the Arc and her courage as she dug down deep to get her nose ahead of Nathaniel in the King George. His voice has a slight tremor, that is perfectly understood by all assembled, as he pays tribute to this once in a lifetime filly. Raceday dawns, barely hours after weary feet wound their way home from the ball, the once empty racecourse starts to fill up as over 16000 people descend on Iffezheim. Traffic backs up all the way to the high way as the local German TV channel turn up on course for the first time in 15 years, rubbing shoulders with a visiting CNN team. Racing at Baden-Baden is exhilarating, extraordinary and yet

Racing at Baden-Baden is exhilarating, extraordinary and yet thoroughly enjoyable with a carnival atmosphere.

thoroughly enjoyable with a carnival atmosphere. Here, a dog sporting a bejewelled collar is the latest fashion accessory and if you misplaced your pooch, then period costume, complete with top hat and cane will do. Hats abound as rivers of Veuve Clicquot and beer are consumed in equal quantities.

before departing for the start.

It ended as it had begun, with a great roar, as Danedream charged up the outside rail, full of running under Andrasch Starke, to deny Ovambo Queen and German Derby winner Pastorius as she captured her second Grosser Preis. Starke Racegoers are allowed to stand right next to the running rail, throws his arms skywards, Schiergen grins from ear to ear and close enough to almost pat the horses and certainly close the crowd carry the filly to the unsaddling enclosure on a enough to be pelted with flying clods as the field thunders by. wave of sound. Yes, she will defend her Arc title, but that is When the race is over, they respectfully part as the field returns for another day, today the ugly duckling has truly turned into through a gap between the stands and through the crowds. No a swan and the once beleaguered Baden-Baden Racecourse stuffy officials, rope or plastic barriers here, here you are part of has come of age. the experience, part of the racing, part of the horses. So, if you believe in a little bit of magic, if you want to experience The Grosser Preis is next, racegoers flock to the parade ring, the allure and old fashioned charm of Europe’s best kept secret, ten deep, they can barely see her, but they are all there to pay while enjoying first class racing up close and personal, then homage to the queen of German racing. Casually she strolls pencil in the Great Festival Week, for in September, Badenaround the ring, briefly stopping to stare into the distance, Baden is surely, once more, the only place to be.





A trainer with a more impressive pedigree than his horses, Mike Azzie shares with us what it takes to be part of the Azzie dynasty and his great love for what he does.



By Nicole de Villiers

I believe you come from a long standing racing family, can you tell me more about it?

Well our family started out with my granddad and his 2 brothers Joe and Tim Azzie. Joe Azzie was the first one to win a July handicap in 1934 with Ballyjamesduff. My granddad’s July Handicap winner was in 1955 and then again in 1964 and1974. He trained well over 3000 winners which was a feat in those days as they only raced twice a week back then. His first horse that he ran was a winner called Jack Sprat. The last horse raced was also a winner. My brother and I, our dad and his two brothers as well as my granddad, George Azzie all managed to have their first runners win.



About Mike Where were you born? Alberton. Where do you live? Midrand. What are you favourite sports? All Sport – cricket and rugby if I have to say. All time favourite race horse? Horse Chestnut and National Currency.

People use the term ‘being born with a Golden Spoon in your mouth’ which refers to someone coming out of a wealthy family. I was born with a Golden Spoon in my mouth with regard to being born into a family with the tradition of horse racing. I feel incredibly blessed to have had a grandfather like George Azzie who was one of the top 5 trainers in this country. He was a legend. He never relied on vets. His horses only got treated when they were very ill. They had good training and good feed to avoid sickness and injury. When a horse was not feeling well or looking right he would send the horse out to a paddock to get some rest instead of calling the vet. He didn’t believe in medicating and masking pain. That is why I believe I was born with a Golden Spoon in my mouth, because I was born into a family with exceptional horse knowledge. I have to say trainers who weren’t born into a horse family as I was, have also got a great advantage as they tend to be able to think out of the box and not only traditionally. I do have an open mind and am open to learning new things though. This is something my granddad taught me right before he passed away in 1981. I went to the hospital to see how he was doing; I was only 23 at the time. He said to me, “My boy you are coming into this game and I see you are working with your dad, I would like to give you some very good advice. The longer you are prepared to learn and listen and keep your mouth shut, the better. Keep



your eyes and ears wide open and you will go places. Have a broad mind and always be willing to learn.” These words have taken me further in my career. Has it always been your passion to be a trainer?

I was a high achiever at school being deputy head boy as well as a good sportsman, but it was never a question when it came to what I would become one day. Since I was a small boy, I used to stand on a bucket with a body brush and groom the horses. I spent much of my time on horseback as a kid, so to answer your question.... Yes, it has always been my passion. Every single day I wake up to do what I love. Not many people can say that. What is the best part of what you do?

Dealing closely with the horses. I am good with people but I find it hard to work with them sometimes. I wear my emotions on my sleeve and am quick to tell people what I think which doesn’t always go down well. My horses are like my kids. Do you ever ride horse yourself?

Not anymore, too heavy now. (laughs)

“My boy you are coming into this game and I see you are working with your dad, I would like to give you some very good advice. The longer you are prepared to learn and listen and keep your mouth shut, the better. Keep your eyes and ears wide open and you will go places. Have a broad mind and always be willing to learn.”

Mike Azzie proudly standing next to the portrait of the late George Azzie (taken at Bloodstock SA, Germiston.)

Who has been your favourite racehorse to train?

Do you tend to focus on a certain type of breeding and do you have a favourite stallion?

National Currency, he was a darling and took me places I have never been. He ran second to Silent Witness in Hong Kong and everyone rated Silent Witness the greatest sprinter at that time.

I would say I focus more on certain stud farms than stallions. Reason being is that I have had a lot of success this way and many Group 1 winners have come out of this decision. I don’t try and fix what is not broken. I don’t really stick to one bloodline in particular. I look at the individual, then I look at the pedigree. I am big on Silvano and Dynasty. Silvano’s really run but aren’t really beautiful, they are work horses.

Do you have many patrons or do you have one big patron? I have lots of small patrons. Mrs Oppenheimer is my largest patron and she is an absolute pleasure to train for. I wish I could have trained for her from a younger age. She is an easy lady to train for and she understands a horse. You can be straightforward and honest with her. I loose a lot of clients because of my honesty, as I will tell them if their horses are no good. It is like telling someone their child is stupid, people don’t like to hear it but honesty is better in the greater scheme of things. Do you have any new and exciting yearlings in your yard and which ones should we keep an eye on?

I have a quite a few, Potala Palace being my favourite at the moment. He needs some maturing to do though. I will bring him back again. He is a very well bred horse.



What do you remember as your biggest success, and exciting moment, since you have become a trainer?

I should say racing overseas with National Currency (winning in Dubai and racing in Hong Kong.) He raced 15 times and he died in Dubai. He had a short career and I was devastated to loose him. Do you have specific feeding programs?

I keep updated with what is right. Cubes make bad trainers become fair trainers. Back in the day feed was what separated the men from the boys as we used to make our own feed then. Today nutrition for the horses has become much easier. I use Epol cubes because they are tried and tested and I also use the Mike de Kock feed.

How much interest do you take in the breeding side of the game? Do you breed at all? I have a couple of mares at stud. I have a keen interest. I believe the pedigrees are 80 percent of a good horse and then conformation. When looking at ‘babies’, what are the characteristics you are most particular about?

I like a good honest head and eye. I am an eye person, I always look at the eyes of people and horses and decide upon that. Eyes never tell you lies. I steer away from horses with a wall eye, I don’t trust them. A horse should have a deep girth, a nice hindquarter and length of rain.

Apart from racing what other passions do you have?

I love sport. All sports. I really enjoyed having the Olympics on TV this year. What would you say sets you apart from other horse trainers?

My love and passion for the horse. I am in this game because I love horses, not for the money. My horses are like my children. Like I know my kids, I know my horses. I am also known to turn my horses out exceptionally well. What is your opinion on the condition of the horses at the yearling sales?

A fat baby is not a good thing. It has become quite commercial for horses to appeal to the novice buyer. People need to do their homework and realize that it is not the way it should be, the horses must not be stabled too early. The Birch brothers used to have rough horses, looking wild I take them to my stable. I have guys who work with my from the veld when they came to the yearling sales. At the babies. There are staff members who have been with age of 3 they were great looking horses. An example is a me from 1983 that work well with a young horse. It also horse called Elevation that my grandfather trained. He was ensures that I can be more ‘hands on.’ We have one worker bought for 26 000 at the yearling sale. He was a thin little allocated to two horses, therefore they get specialised horse at the sale. By 3 he was nice and big! And it is because attention. Maybe I am old school, but that’s the way I like it. he was left naturally at a young age. I live, eat, sleep and drink my horses. I love to know every characteristic about them. We are blessed to have Malan du This is also why I enjoy going to Mauritzfontein, Guy Toit in the country. When I have a horse with a problem I Murdoch the Stud manager takes me out on a truck to don’t force them to do anything, I call Malan and he works look at the horses in the veld. They come to my stables with them and sorts the problem out. A horse that has rough and strong! Those are the ones that excel. The ones issues with loading in the starting stall, call Malan. He is the that aren’t coddled and stabled from too young. They must Monty Roberts of South Africa. run and enjoy themselves and get the sun on their backs.

What is your routine after you have bought horses straight off the stud farms. Do you like to send them to a spelling farm or do you prefer bringing them straight into the main yard?





part 1 By Mike Azzie



His Heritage

n the 11th of April 1981, a young mare was waiting to give birth. This was no ordinary mare, in fact she represented the pinnacle of the thoroughbred racehorse breeding industry. Her credentials were flawless and as time elapsed, history would show her to be one of the most significant thoroughbred mares of all time. Even without the benefit of hindsight, she still ticked every box. As a juvenile she remained unbeaten, winning her final start in a manner that suggested she was a star in the making. At the end of the season she ranked as a leading light amongst her peers in Ireland. All three of her dam’s progeny thus far had retired unbeaten, two of them as leaders of their generation. Her half-brother was the top priced American yearling of his year, who then proceeded to live up to and even exceed expectations, a brilliant and controversial colt who, after a brief but stellar career had recently been crowned the champion of his age group in Europe. Herdam’s full brother was a colt who had “speed to burn”, brilliant at two and even better at three when winning the title of Champion Miler of Europe in 1973. He had a high cruising speed and instant acceleration that, on good to firm, ground was devastating. She was from one of the most celebrated families in the Stud Book, a family known for its ability to constantly produce gallopers that stood head and shoulders above their contemporaries on the international stage, producing champion after champion. But without a doubt, the most exciting thing about her was that the foal she was carrying was the offspring of an equine



giant, small in stature but mighty in reputation. Yet his deeds exceeded his reputation both as a racehorse and as a stallion. The presence of his yearlings at the Keeneland Yearling Sales were a magnet drawing the world’s leading owners and trainers to that hallowed sales venue for the greatest bidding duels that any sales ring had ever seen. This mare’s name was FAIRY BRIDGE and a saga was just beginning to unfold, one that would change the face of racing forever. The colt she was carrying would, through his offspring, have an influence on European racing that could be described as total domination. She was bought by the Irish branch of the British Bloodstock Agency for $40,000, on behalf of the flamboyant owner Robert Sangster, at the Keeneland July yearling sale of 1976. As a racehorse she showed plenty of ability in winning both her juvenile starts. The manner in which she won her second race was enough to convince most here was a filly of rare talent. Despite the fact that this was indeed her last racecourse appearance, she was rated the joint top two-year-old filly of her year, and given a Timeform rating of 115. She was a half-sister to NUREYEV, Champion Three-Year-Old Miler of Europe in 1980. Nureyev had been a ‘talking’ horse before he ever set foot on a racecourse. He was a son of the mighty Northern Dancer, out of one of the world’s illustrious families. He had been the subject of much attention at the 1978 Keeneland Yearling Sales before a protracted duel which saw him knocked down to BBA acting for Stavros Niarchos, the sales-topper at massive $1,300,000. He was then trained in France by Francois Boutin and was rumoured to be ‘drilling’ Boutin’s top two-year-olds who had already collected a number of pattern races between them. His

Sadlers Wells trainer considered him the equal of Nonoalco, his 1974 Guineas ‘hero’. Consequently when making his racecourse debut in the Prix Thomas Byron Gr3, he started favourite and when asked the question he exploded from last to first in under a furlong extending to a six lengths victory. It was his only start at two yet he was rated second on the French Free Handicap and was given a rating of 124p by Timeform. At three he reappeared in the Prix Djebel to clash with the two top-rated juveniles on the French Free Handicap, he produced an electrifying burst of acceleration in the final furlong and cruised in again by six lengths. He was made hot favourite for the 2000 Guineas, after what was widely regarded as the best Guineas trial in many a year. The 2000 Guineas itself was a fiasco as Nureyev having been given many lengths to make up, failed to find a way through, his 105


rider in desperation barged between horses with two furlongs to go and burst clear to beat Known Fact with Posse a fast finishing third. In forcing himself out of trouble he had interfered with the third horse with the result he was disqualified and placed last. He lost the race but no-one could dispute his superiority, and Timeform gave him a rating of 131, noting that he might have been a ‘very impressive winner of the Guineas’ if he had been given a clear passage. As it were he could not have been more impressive, he showed grit, determination, courage and once again displayed that amazing acceleration that had become his trademark. The Guineas was his last race and he was retired to stud where he was destined to have a profound effect on the stud-book, especially through his amazing daughter Miesque.

Fairy Bridge was also a half-sister to NUMBER who at that stage was only a two-year-old in training, but by the end of 1983 had won eight races in the USA including the Firenze Handicap Gr2, the Hempstead Handicap Gr2 and the First Flight Handicap Gr3. She was also a half-sister to BOUND, who would later become the mother of the very good Gr1 performer Archipenko as well as the stakes placed Liable, the mother of Blame, Horse of the Year in the USA in 2009, and vanquisher of the great Zenyatta. The sire of Fairy Bridge was BOLD REASON, a son of the great racehorse and stallion Hail to Reason,who traced back to the blue hen mare Knockaney Bridge. What’s more, he was a halfbrother to the champion two-year-old of 1962 in the USA, Never Bend, who is immortalized in pedigree’s, especially through the exploits of his two great sons, Mill Reef and Riverman.


Bold Reason was a very good and very tough racehorse who, after his maiden victory, was thrown inat the deep end in the Kentucky Derby. A longshot in the betting, he came from near last to finish third behind Canonero and Jim French (a brother to Caesour). He ran in the Preakness a fortnight later finishing fifth behind Canonero and three weeks later in the Belmont Stakes he ran gamely to finish third behind Pass Catcher and Jim French, with Canonero fourth. After the Belmont he was given no respite, running five more races in eight weeks, before a switch to grass saw him beating older horses over 1 3/8 miles at Belmont Park in the first of a six race winning sequence. He won again over the same course and distance before returning to the dirt in the Hollywood Derby, taking command in the stretch, to easily defeat Jim French by more than two lengths. On turf he won the Lexington Handicap and the American Derby at 1 1/8 miles,before being syndicated for $3.2 million, but remained in training. In the Travers Stakes over 1 1/4-miles it was payback time as Bold Reason defeated his Belmont conqueror Pass Catcher before a record crowd. Bold Reason was retired at the end of his three-year-old season having won seven of his seventeen races. He was joint top of the Daily Racing Form Free Handicap for three-year-old males with Canonero, but was beaten by Canonero for Champion Three -Year-Old Colt honours. He sired twenty one stakes winners including Canadian champion Sound Reason. The dam of Fairy Bridge was the mare SPECIAL, who was bred in the purple,being by Forli out of Thong. This made her a full sister to the outstanding colt Thatch,trained by Vincent O’Brien and described by Timeform Racehorses of 1973 as “a strong, deep bodied colt and a very good mover. His chief asset was his speed, unusual speed that set him above most of his contemporaries, and he had the rare ability to produce that speed after leading from the start in a race over a distance as long as a mile.”. THATCH was the top rated Irish two-year-old of his year, easily winning his first three juvenile starts . He won his debut over six furlongs by four lengths; he followed up with an impressive win in the Tyros stakesand produced an eye-catching performance in the Probationers Stakes, when, already in front with two 106


Thatch furlongs to go, he lengthened his stride, leaving the opposition struggling in his wake four lengths behind. He was beaten into fourth in the Prix Morny but was disappointing. Timeform rated him 119 at two. In his three-year-old debut, Thatch won the Vauxhall Trial Stakes before being well beaten in the 2000 Guineas. In the St James Palace Stakes he gave Owen Dudley, who had previously finished a half a length behind him in the Guineas and had subsequently won both the Dante and Diomed Stakes, a fifteen length beating in a very fast time. Reverting back to six furlongs in the July Cup, he took control from the start disposing of Pitskelly by three lengths. In his final start in the Sussex Stakes, he was meeting Sun Prince and the brilliant Jacinth, but the result was never in doubt and he won easily beating Jacinth by three lengths. Timeform rated Thatch 136 after his three-year-old career and also had this to say; “we regard him as a racehorse of absolute highest class . . . Thatch’s defeats occurred simply because he wasn’t able to give his best running on a soft surface . . . we have rated him the best miler of the year in Europe.”. She was also a full sister to LISADELL, a high class filly, who won two out of three starts at three, including the Coronation Stakes from start to finish by three lengths, never looking in danger of defeat. She earned a Timeform rating of 122 and was packed off to stud, having become worth her weight in gold. A third notable sibling was KING PELLINORE who ran second to Grundy in the Irish Sweeps Derby Gr1, as well as second to Bruni in the St Leger Gr1, before going to the USA, where he won seven races including the Oak Tree Invitational Gr1.

Nureyev Special’s sire FORLI, was a phenomenal racehorse. He was undefeated in seven starts including the Argentinian Triple Crown, which resulted in him being crowned Horse Of The Year at three in Argentina. He then proceeded to beat some top Americanopposition before going down a head in his final start, as a result of an injury which terminated his career. He retired as the winner of nine of his ten career starts. He then proceeded to notch up a formidable strike rate of stakes winners to runners, becoming one of the top American stallions of his time. Special’s dam THONG was a very good race-mare, by Nantallah out of Rough Shod. She won five races and fifty thousand dollars in stakes. She was also placed in some of the top US fillies races including a second in the Alcibiades Stakes and a third in the Selima Stakes. The achievements of ROUGH SHOD (dam of Thong) were of epic proportions, producing three full siblings to Thong who had superlative ability. There was Ridan, Champion TwoYear-Old Colt USA, the winner of thirteen races and over six hundred thousand dollars; there was his brother Lt Stevens, the winner of nine races including the Jon B Campbell Handicap and two hundred and forty thousand dollars; and then there was their sister Moccasin, the Champion Two-Year-Old Filly USA 1965, unbeaten winner of eight juvenile starts, including the Spinaway Stakes, the Alcibiades Stakes and the Gardenia 107


Stakes . Moccasin became the dam of the Champion Two Year Old colt in Britain in 1973,Apalachee TFR 137; A fourth sibling GAMBETTA, who won six races from twelve races including the Susan Stakes and Debutante Stakes became the dam of Gamely, the Leading Three Year Old Filly of Americain 1967 and Champion Handicap Mare of America in 1968 and 1969, who produced the high classIrish two-year-old colt Cellini (Round Table)TFR 126. The foal that Fairy Bridge was about to give birth to, was by none other than NORTHERN DANCER, the legendary Canadian born stallion who had exhausted all superlatives and had set a new paradigm in global racing. This son of the Canadian Horse of the Year Nearctic, and the talented racemare Natalma,was small, but stocky and powerful, as was his maternal grandsire, the great English racehorse and sire Hyperion. At barely 15 hands, he was not the physical type to inspire confidence with those seeking a classic racehorse. Yet a classic racehorse he was, and in a racing career that spanned less than one year, he won 14 out of 18 starts. As a two-year-old, he won seven of his nine starts including Woodbine’s Carleton Stakes, Summer Stakes and Coronation Futurity Stakes. In the Coronation Futurity he so impressed his breeder, E P Taylor, and his legendary trainer, Horatio Luro, that it was decided to send him to New York to take on the best in the US.

Northern Dancer In his first American start, he destroyed the Futurity winner Bupers, by eight lengths in an allowance race. He then went on to annex the Remsen Stakes, Florida Derby, Flamingo Stakes and Bluegrass Stakes, before winning the first two legs of the American Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. He won the Kentucky Derby in the record time of two minutes flat. NORTHERN DANCER was Champion Three-Year-Old Colt in the USA and Horse of the Year in Canada. He was rugged, courageous and durable, also possessing that magical ingredient, the ability to turn on the speed from any place in the race.These characteristics he consistently passed on to his progeny, with the result that Northern Dancer became the most successful sire of the twentieth century. His offspring became so sought after that their mere presence at the Keeneland Yearling Sales, elicited unprecedented hype and media attention, which catapulted the American bloodstock industry to new heights as a direct result of the fierce bidding showdowns caused by the decision of Robert Sangster,Vincent O’Brien and partners to acquire his choice sons at all costs. He was four times Champion sire in England, and once in America. He sired racing greats such as Nijinsky (last horse to win the English Triple Crown), El Gran Senor (superstar winner of the Guineas), Fanfreluche (horse of the Year Canada and Champion Three-Year-Old filly in the US) as well as breeding giants, Lyphard, Nureyev, Storm Bird, Nijinsky, The Minstrel and Danzig. He produced an incredible 22.5% stakes winners to foals.


was from the family of the great racemare Pretty Polly. Sister Sarah was a half-sister to Lady Sybil, the champion two-year-old of England in 1942, and three other stakes winners. She was purchased by E P Taylor for the top price of 10,500 guineas at the 1952 Newmarket December Sales, in foal to Nearco. She gave birth to a colt in England before being put in foal to Nearco again and being shipped to the Taylor’s National Stud Farm in Ontario, Canada. Northern Dancer’s dam NATALMA was bought by E P Taylor at the Saratoga Yearling Sale for $35,000 dollars. She was a small bay filly by the great racehorse and sire Native Dancer, out of the stakes winning Mahmoud mare Almahmoud, who was already the dam of Cosmah, winner of the Astarita Stakes and Folk Dancer, winner of the Swynford Stakes. Cosmah would later go on to found a dynasty of her own, producing Champion Tosmah and stakes winner’s Halo, Father’s Image and Maribeau. Halo would go on to be a great sire in his own right, producing, among others, Sunday Silence who in turn would revolutionize the breed in Japan. Although she didn’t have the sweetest disposition, Natalma showed plenty of ability. She was trained by Horatio Luro, as was her son, and won two of five starts at two. She also won the Spinaway Stakes but was demoted to third place. While being prepared for the Kentucky Oaks, she chipped a knee, was immediately retired and mated to Nearctic.The product of this union was Northern Dancer.

But now the moment of truth had arrived and as the labour pains intensified, Fairy Bridge began to move around uneasily The sire of Northern Dancer, NEARCTIC, was put up for sale and then sank into the deep straw . . . after some time there at E P Taylor’s private sale with a price tag $35,000, but no one emerged a dark, wet little shape with a big blaze and socks was interested. He then raced for his breeder, and showed on both hind legs. Yes, he was small but he was sturdy, and, great speed, winning three juvenile stakes in Canada as well as he began to rise to his feet, he had a look of unrelenting as the Saratoga Stakes in the USA at two. At three he won determination in his eyes. He stood now surveying the the International Stakes but really came into his own at four, scene. Many years would elapse before the true realization winning 9 of his 18 starts; all his wins were in stakes races and of the significance of the events of that night would be truly he set track records at five, six and eight furlongs, before being understood. For here a king was born . . . crowned Horse of the Year in Canada in 1958. His name . . . Sadler’s Wells LADY ANGELA, the dam of Nearctic was bred in the purple, And the words of the poem by PB Shelley would forever ring being by the superb Hyperion, out of Sister Sarah, who herself true . . . “look on my works ye mighty and despair “





EPISTAXIS By Dr John Hodsdon

Dr John Hodsdon BVSc John qualified at Onderstepoort in 2003 after which he headed over to the UK where he spent 8yrs in busy equine practices, predominantly in the Suffolk/Essex region. John has a keen interest in lameness, diagnostics and surgery. Being a former Maritzburg boy, he and his young family have now returned to KZN on a permanent basis where he is a partner at Bosch Hoek Equine Hospital in Balgowan, KZN Midlands.


erhaps the most widely recognized of all disorders affecting racehorses is “bleeding/epistaxis” or Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH). We now know that most racehorses bleed at some time during their careers. In fact some horses might bleed every time they undertake strenuous exercise. It also occurs in other disciplines such as 3 day eventers, polo ponies, steeplechasers. The common denominator is strenuous exercise. Although this condition has been recognized for over 300 years we still have more questions than answers with regards to the cause and prevention of EIPH. Research in the last 30-40yrs has shed more light on why horses bleed, however to date there is still no consensus regarding the true cause of it. The prevention of EIPH is just as controversial mainly due to the use of Lasix and its performance enhancing affects. 110


Epistaxis (bleeding from the nose) occurs in 0.5 to 2% of race horse depending on different studies. EIPH in its true form (presence of blood in the trachea/lower airways) occurred in a higher number of horses, with 50-60% of race horses having evidence of bleeding in the trachea when scoped 60-90min after strenuous exercise. On bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL, lung wash) nearly all race horses had Hemosiderin (Red Cell breakdown product) in lung macrophages indicating that at some stage a degree of bleeding had occurred in the past. This tells us that EIPH occurs in most racehorses, however the severity of bleeding varies greatly between horses and tends to worsen with age. Numerous causes have been proposed for EIPH, including small airway disease, upper airway obstruction, exercise induced hyperviscosity of the blood, mechanical stresses of respiration

and locomotion, redistribution of blood flow in the lungs, alveolar pressure fluctuation, and pulmonary hypertension. The above mentioned causes will have an effect, however the most popular theory at present is “pulmonary capillary stress failure”. In summary the capillaries forming the blood gas barrier rupture due to the high pressure environments that exist in the lungs during strenuous exercise. The blood pressure within the lung increases dramatically during exercise, 2 to 3 times higher than in other species. This is primarily due to cardiac function, when cardiac output and heart rate are high there is naturally an increase in blood pressure, however at maximum output there isn’t sufficient relaxation of the left ventricle to allow rapid filling at normal filling pressure. Pulmonary blood pressure therefore increases to facilitate blood flow from the lungs to the heart. Further cardiac issues that might increase pulmonary blood pressure during strenuous exercise relate to 111


the AV valve within the heart, during high cardiac output the ventricular pressure may result in regurgitation through the AV valve, and its cross-sectional area when open, may be too small to allow rapid filling without an increase in pressure. Large changes and fluctuations in lung airway pressure further contribute to the stress on the blood gas barrier. During inspiration a large negative pressure is needed for air flow into the lungs.This, combined with the high positive blood pressure results in extreme forces on the blood gas barrier and the capillaries within, causing them to rupture and bleed into the lungs. Further issues like upper airway obstruction (roaring, laryngeal hemiplasia) and small airway disease further increase the required size of the negative pressure required for airflow into the lungs therefore exacerbating the problem.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, I’ll Have Another, wearing a nasal strip. Does EIPH alter athletic ability? This is still a contentious issue surrounding EIPH as most horses at some stage will bleed to a certain degree. Mild bleeding has minimal or no effect on performance, but severe bleeding will impair performance as the blood will flood the alveoli and small airways preventing the normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. It is also suspected that repeated bleeds contribute to the development of chronic inflammatory airway disease which is associated with decreased athletic performance. So the effect on performance is related to the degree of hemorrhage. At present there is no method for measuring how much bleeding occurs and what level of bleeding significantly affects performance. A hot subject at present is Lasix use in the USA, where it can still be used in racing, and is used as the main underlying treatment for EIPH. Lasix works as a diuretic, increasing urine production and therefore decreasing blood volume. During exercise, due to the decreased blood volume, you will also have a decreased pulmonary blood pressure therefore reducing the stress placed on the pulmonary capillaries, and the severity of bleeding. It doesn’t stop the bleeding just the severity of it.The main controversy surrounding the use of Lasix is whether the drug actually enhances a horse’s ability in any other way. Two research studies done in the USA clearly showed that Lasix is associated with superior racing performance. However the results can be interpreted in two different ways. One school of thought was that the improvement was due to the decrease in the severity of the bleed, while the other stated it was related to the acute weight loss just prior to the race. Weight loss comes from water loss through urination. Up to 8-10kg weight 112


loss can be expected if feed and water are restricted until after the race, which could be seen as the equivalent of removing that weight in handicap. The truth most likely lies in between the two schools of thought, however as we can’t quantify and relate the severity of the bleed to performance, this can’t be verified. The Equine Nasal Strip is another product that has shown some promise in reducing EIPH. As stated previously upper airway restriction/obstruction results in an increase in the intra thoracic negative pressure which exacerbates the stress on pulmonary capillaries. Nearly 40-50% of the total pulmonary resistance may result from the nasal passages, and since horses are obligatory nasal breathers, by reducing nasal resistance by maintaining the patency of the nares during strenuous exercise, you will decrease the required negative intra thoracic pressure for airflow into the lungs. Some of the other popular treatments range from coagulants, conjugated estrogens, inspired water vapour, Cromolyn Sodium, immune products and herbal/nutritional supplements. In conclusion: The complete prevention or cure of this condition is unlikely due to the large percentage of race horses experiencing EIPH of some degree during strenuous exercise. However the severity of the bleeds need to be controlled and treated, to limit the inflammatory response to blood in the lungs, and stop chronic inflammatory airway disease. Virtually every trainer, owner, groom and vet has a preferred treatment for EIPH illustrating that there is no one universally successful or accepted treatment.



NASAL STRIPS REDUCE BLEEDING Protect Your Horse. Perform Your Best.

Unlike humans, horses only breathe through their nose.   When horses breathe hard the soft tissues overlying the   nasal passages are sucked in, reducing nasal passage   airway diameter. This reduction in diameter causes   ow into the lungs. FLAIR Strips   are proven to support the soft tissues and reduce   airway resistance.   By reducing airway resistance during exercise, FLAIR Strips  help prevent fatigue related injuries,protect the lungs from  bleeding and promote optimal athletic performance.

FLAIR Strips are proven to*:

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Photos by T &B Images



he Imagine Racing Ladies Spring Race Day, held on Saturday the 6th of October at Turffontein Race course heralded the start of the summer season, supporting the PinkDrive Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, while exposing more people to the thrill of horse racing.

Peta & Peter Eggierth-Symes and Chris van der Merwe

Peta Eggierth-Symes of Pallu Boutique as well as Yves Saint Laurent gift hampers from renowned make-up artist David John. The best dressed prize was awarded to Stacey Holland, who won a voucher from Gemini Jane and Made You Look Stylists, the most elegantly pink award went to Sarah Savage, who was the envy of many in her new Pallu hat!

The day was very successful, great fun and the pink theme was evident throughout the race course, highlighted by the PinkDrive mobile unit parked near the parade ring for women to have free breast checks on the day.

The men were not left out, and Chris van der Merwe, editor of Salon Prive magazine, won the prize for the best dressed man.

The event was elegant and glamorous, with a fresh spring theme and more than a touch of pink. Guests arrived in their pink finery and prizes were awarded for the best dressed. These included a specially designed pink hat from

Guests on the deck at the venue had the opportunity to go down to the parade ring before races to get up close to the pre-race action and the true stars of the day, our magnificent horses.



Stacey & Warren Holland

Garth and Lynn Towell and their guests were the lucky winners of 10% of a filly in training. They have become shareholders in Warrior’s Passion and will enjoy full ownership benefits for her racing career in the yard of champion trainer Mike De Kock. Guests also had a preview of the exclusive pink designer chair, the Dragonfly, designed by Karim Rashid and generously donated by Casarredo home décor store. The elegant chair is available from Casarredo in Corlett Drive and all proceeds from the sale will go directly to PinkDrive. Varsfontein Stud made a generous cash donation to PinkDrive and also gave vouchers to all the winning owners of the nine races on the day. In the spirit of the female theme of Ladies Day, each winning owner on the day received a voucher worth R10, 000, towards the purchase



of a filly in 2013 from Varsfontein Stud at any of the sales. There have been many superb race fillies from Varsfontein including Promisefrommyheart, Covenant, Caughtintheslips, Arcola, Princess of Light, Alexandra Rose, Irridescence, Perfect Promise, Duchess Daba, Sabina Park and Marie Galante, so this is a very nice incentive. Imagine Racing founders Sandy Wilson and Catherine Hartley were very happy with the inaugural event: “The Ladies Spring Race day was very well supported and we look forward to it growing and becoming an annual event that is recognised on both the racing and the social calendars and a flagship for women in racing!” “We want to share our passion for horse racing and encourage new ownership, while providing a platform for empowering women and raising awareness and funds for the PinkDrive campaign.”







By David Mickleburgh on behalf of Thoroughbred Breeders Association


Legendary coal magnate Graham Beck who could afford any whim of his choosing, reportedly once described horse racing as “the only game in town” and the leading in of a winner as “better than sex”. A legend in his own lifetime Beck used his millions to invest in racehorses and breeding stock on three continents and became one of the world’s major investors in thoroughbreds. 119


To a degree horseracing has often been misjudged, being known as it is as the “Sport of Kings”. While it is not a cheap sport, horseracing abounds with tales of rags to riches and it is probably true to say that buyers of medium to lower priced horses at the various TBA sales arenas generally achieve better returns than the big spenders who lash out millions on acquiring the more exotic stock. Although owning a winning racehorse is a lifelong desire of many racing fans, it doesn’t have to remain a romantic dream – it can become a real life thrilling experience. The thoroughbred industry encourages new owners at all financial levels and there are any number of experts who will happily assist. Like any new endeavour, it is sensible to undertake a little research which in racing can be fun, accompanied as it often is with some refreshment, but the best way to start is by a) reading as much as you can about the sport and the art of racing, either in that excellent publication Sporting Post or visiting one of the numerous websites devoted to horse racing and form. (,,, saracing association etc), then b) visit some horse auctions with a trainer or bloodstock agent. c) speak to successful owners who can put you in touch with trainers you can respect d) visit the race course and soak up the atmosphere e) watch Tellytrack on channel 239. Apart from running all the races in South Africa is also populated by entertaining programmes like Winning Ways, World Focus and Winners Circle. In particular tune in at 7.30am each Saturday.You will be thoroughly entertained by the witty repartee among the well know gamblers and players who are guests each week. f) visit the SA Jockey club website, there you will find rules and regulations, results and statistics Is this for me? Investing in a magnificent thoroughbred offers exciting sporting prospects and if you let it, may even open other vistas of social whirls and business opportunities. But it is important to recognize that it is nevertheless a speculative venture. Before you get



involved you need to accept that horses are not machines and there is no “guarantee” to your investment.The risks are high but the rewards both financial and emotional can be substantial.The secret is to find your own financial comfort zone. Some basic information you should know. It is important to begin by answering the following questions. What level of financial commitment do I want to allocate to my racing interests? Determine the total amount of your disposable capital you are prepared to invest and then develop a budget that includes the purchase of your horse/s and forecasted monthly expenses.This is a good guide in determining the best form of ownership for you. Would you prefer to invest as an individual or in a group? Your level of investment should serve as a guide in determining the best form of ownership for you. You may be the type of person who prefers to take control, assume all the risks and receive all the rewards. Or, do you prefer to spread your risks and share the rewards? Financial commitment to the owning of a race horse can be divided into two parts, the original purchase price, and then the cost of keeping and campaigning your wonderful new friend. Allow annual costs of R60/70 000 depending on what arrangement you have made with your trainer. What time period is involved? As a beginner we would always advise you to purchase a horsein- training or ready- to- run at one of the TBA sales (you will see the dates of these various sales on the TBA website). You will experience the thrill of participation and even winning far sooner. Buying a yearling means a wait of up to two years or more before you can enjoy the romance of leading in your first winner! Only you can answer these questions

Types of Ownership You can own a horse outright in your own name and sporting your magnificent new colours You can own a horse in a partnership with one or more other friends or in a syndicate (usually more than six owners) Or you can lease a horse, usually a filly, from a breeder but Sea Cottage, July winner and stallion, was a leased horse Sole ownership means that you are responsible for all the costs of owning the racehorse (purchase price, training fees, veterinary bills etc.). This also ensures that you will be the main beneficiary of any stakes earned or at the subsequent sale of the horse. Partnership or syndication means sharing the costs and benefits of ownership and the excitement of race days which makes this option a popular one for first-time owners. It also allows owners to spread their investment and enjoy an interest in more than one horse Syndicates consist of six or more owners. It’s a low cost option and allows owners to invest in quite a number of horses, increasing the chances of having an interest in a winner. There are new style syndicates where, through a trainer, you can arrange for modest monthly payments which include not only the running costs but also the original purchase price. Trainer Gavin van Zyl who has yards in both Gauteng and KZN is one of the pioneers in this form of syndicate and has introduced many new owners to racing in this manner and they all have plenty of fun, some owning shares in as many as 10 horses for a comparative modest monthly outlay.. Companies and close corporations can also register with The National Horseracing Authority (the new name for the Jockey Club) as owners of racehorses. Leasing involves ownership of a racehorse for a set period of time. The horse owner, usually the breeder, leases the racing career of a horse to a temporary owner or syndicate.The terms of the lease may vary, but is often for a fixed period e.g. three years.The breeder will require between 25% and 35% of stakes won, but this is for negotiation. The advantages of leasing are



that there is no capital outlay and in most cases breeders lease their best fillies in the hope that the animal will win a few top races and then the stud will benefit. Breeders leasing horses will often retain the right to approve the trainer.The disadvantage of leasing is that if your horses is highly successful only the breeder will benefit from the enhanced value that accrues to a top performer and you will face an emotional wrench when the lease is over. But remember, a leased horse runs in your colours as “owner”. Choosing an advisor Thoroughbred horseracing is a team sport. If you’re new in the industry, don’t try and buy a horse without looking for assistance. It would be wise to exercise as much care in selecting your trainer or bloodstock agent as you would in selecting a horse. Consultants or advisors can come in many shapes and sizes and there is always someone happy to give you the “benefit of his expertise”. So take your time in selecting your trainer, bloodstock agent, pedigree advisor, veterinarian or best friend when you develop your dream team.. The Racing Association has been established to assist owners and a visit to their website is a must.You can always give the boss – Larry Weinstein- a call. He is a dedicated racing man with a ton of ideas and much advice to give. Selecting a Trainer In choosing your trainer it is advisable to select one that is based not too far from your home so you can cultivate the delightful habit of visiting his ”yard” frequently, never forgetting the mints or carrots for your steed. He will love you for them. Every week the Sporting Post publishes statistics on racing and breeding. Study the trainers’ performance charts. Some trainers prefer to run small, quality yards with a minimum band of owners. Although they may not be log-leaders, their percentage of winners to runners is often a good yardstick but bear in mind that some of the smaller yards do not have top stock. The owner/trainer relationship is probably the most important in racing.

Owning a racehorse is much more than rands and cents – it’s an investment in a lifestyle – a lifestyle of fun and disappointment, of miserable lows and glorious highs – but as Graham Beck famously said – “it’s the only game in town” So take your time and select the individual that suits your needs and personality. Some “yards” cater for punters and patiently plan betting coups. Other trainers are strictly professional and while they will tell you when your horse is “trying” they are not motivated solely by the gambling bug. Decide where you get your kicks! The running costs of keeping a racehorse are many o Spelling and Training Fees o Farrier fees o Routine Veterinary Care o Insurance o Race Entry Fees o Transport o Jockey Fees o Ownership Registration Fees Costs will vary depending on a variety of factors. We recommend that you enter into a formal agreement with your trainer, which clearly sets out what the costs are and what is included in the monthly charge. Training fees start at around R3500 a month in the minor centres. Some trainers – the larger and more successful ones can charge as much as R6000 a month plus all trainers get a cut of 10% on winnings (as do the jockeys). There are specialist financial managers who vet trainer and owner bills and so avoid unwanted confrontations. They advertise in the TBA catalogues. Important. Remember when you have led in your winner, don’t forget to “reward” the groom generously to ensure his loyalty and supporting care for your winner. This is where the fun starts So you have absorbed these costs and are feeling a bit depleted financially, is it worth it all? Actually, barring accidents and ill-health which can stop a horse from running, your chances of covering expenses are about even. The lowest prize money is always allocated to Maiden Plates which, as is obvious, are reserved for non-winners. Running third in Port Elizabeth’s humble Arlington Race track will produce, after paying trainer, jockey and a bonsella to the groom, sufficient profit to cover the month’s training bills. But if your beast won the race, he will pay his keep for several months. Statistics reveal that about 35% of horses will win, some run dozens of places only, but still earn enough to pay their way. Oh Yes. Winning owners also have to pay for the drinks!



Once you advance to higher rated handicaps and listed races the rewards rise exponentially. For example, a merit rated 100 handicap winner will earn R53 000 and the lowest winning stake for our most humble listed race will get you R80 000.

respect, purchasing a filly is a better bet. Laying out a reasonable sum on a reasonably bred filly who wins a “black” type race or is place in a graded race, will mean its value is enhanced considerably.

Once you get into the black type feature races the sky is the limit – well almost. Even two year olds can earn big – the winner of this year’s Gold Slipper collected over R300 000 and even the 10th placed finisher in the Durban July won R30 000 (there were 20 runners so half took home decent money).

For a horse that your trainer feels has only one or two wins achievable in its career it is wise to consider selling it on to Mauritius, often at a profit. It is a tough emotional decision to sell your champion after he or she has won you a couple of races, but finances will dictate that you make the decision sooner rather than later.

And if you are a member of a big punting stable, who knows how much your four-legged pal could earn you! Buying at Auctions Public Auction sales offer the widest selection and generally ensure fair market values for horses. Champion racehorses can come from humble backgrounds, but are more likely to be found at major auction sales where horses are selected on pedigree and conformation and are the “cream of the crop”. A schedule of upcoming sales is available on the BloodStock SA website: Before the Sale We would like to suggest that you make a plan to visit a few studs every year. The TBA can organize the most convenient safari to suit your circumstances and time. Breeders love to see you and show off their wares. They will ply you with good grog and great food – some even offer accommodation. Show deep interest but never make a commitment. However, when buying yearlings some breeders will offer terms of delayed payment which are tempting, or offer to lease you a prize filly should you purchase one of their yearlings. Like in any business, it is a question of caveat emptor. Remember also what we said earlier, buying a yearling means waiting a while before it performs and some breeders have older horses on their farms which for any number of genuine reasons have not yet been sold or even offered on auction. A good deal can usually be struck for these animals. Sometimes a breeder will even go into partnership with you – always a good sign of confidence in a horse; some will even encourage you by offering to keep a yearling for free on their stud until ready for training. So be ready to negotiate. The choice of whether to buy an entire (ungelded male horse or colt) or a filly can be a critical investment. Few colts make it through life as entires but if yours wins some graded races it will enhance his value considerably as a future stallion. In this 123


At The Auction This is where the fun begins and you feel the first tingle that is generally referred to as “the joy of ownership” as you begin to experience the social roller coaster that accompanies racehorse ownership.The racing community is not so large in South Africa and in no time your circle of friends and acquaintances will grow enormously. Racing is packed with colourful charactersbattlers; barons and bookies all. People have been known to do extraordinary things and make strange decisions at auctions. The most important piece of advice we can give you is USE YOUR HEAD AND NOT YOUR HEART WHEN YOU MAKE ANY DECISION TO BUY. The fact that your wife fell in love with a horse’s colour (always a grey) is no reason to fork out your hard-earned cash, but you had better have a good excuse! There is nothing to compare with the vibe you sense at thoroughbred auction sales. It can sweep you along irresistibly because the enthusiasm and the generosity of sellers is amazing. Shrewd buyers can eat and drink at vendor’s expense without having to shell out a bean at the bar.! So it is advisable to attend to the essentials first. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Complete a buyer’s card application. Establish credit arrangements with the sales company Review conditions of the sale Meet your dream team (agent, vet or trainer) to select your horses. 5. Devise a first look list and subsequent short list.The short list will be dependent on the conformation inspection of each horse. A second opinion never hurt and it is often worth a third as well. . You may wish to have a veterinarian perform a pre-purchase examination but do not bother to scope for breathing disorders – it’s expensive - any of your selections until bought.All reputable auctions and sellers will take back a horse if scoping reveals a breathing problem. See, racing is honest! 6. Assign responsibilities for bidding arrangements. Best keep your hands in your pocket and let your agent or trainer do the bidding to your limit

1. Your agent or trainer will make insurance and transport arrangements. Sometimes a horse may need more time before it goes into hard training in which case it would be advisable to send your new hope to a spelling or pre-training farm near you. 2. Good advice -. Bid only on horses on your short-list. Again, your wife is a danger when a beautiful animal enters the ring! On the other hand women have a reputation of sometimes picking a good ‘un. Syd Laird did not want to buy Politician because of his legs. But owner Fanny Tenderini loved the horse and bought it.The rest is history but Syd had a life-long struggle with those legs. Payment Payment for the purchase should be consistent with the arrangements made with the sales company and vendor. Upon payment, buyers will be given a stable release and at a later stage you will receive the National Horseracing Authority change of ownership certificate from the sales company. Insuring your horse Insuring your purchase is optional and a number of factors have to be taken into account. Racehorses – move faster and train more vigorously than any other athlete and therefore at a greater potential risk. An underwriter will require a clean bill of health certificate from your vet. As such are you happy to carry the risk of your investment yourself? Partnerships or leased horses should be insured if for no other reason but to avoid any angst among owners should the animal expire. Selecting a broker is an important decision. Choose a professional, registered specialist bloodstock insurance broker. Some, like John Freeman, are also bloodstock agents as well and can offer sound advice. Once you have taken the decision to insure, your trainer must keep you and your broker informed of any illness or injury suffered by the horse. Your underwriter must give his approval for any operations e.g. gelding, before it is undertaken.

What next? Registering your racing colours: Every owner has to be registered with the National Horseracing Authority of South Africa. (the Jockey Club). No longer is ownership confined to stuffy toffs. All are welcome. Each owner can visit an NHRA branch office to select his/her individual racing colours.These will be the colours (silks) worn by the jockey who will be riding your horse. A selection of available colours will be shown to you but failing to find colours which appeal, you may design your own racing silks within certain restrictions. These will then be approved by the NHRA. More good advice – don’t attempt to select your colours without your wife present. It could lead to divorce! Making up your racing silks: There are a number of seamstresses who make up racing silks; your trainer will know them or phone Larry Weinstein. Registering your horse: On purchase of your horse, the registration papers will be forwarded to you by the sales company. You have to lodge the change of ownership forms with the NHRA and your trainer will ask you to complete an “authority to act” form on your behalf. Most important of all, make sure the racing clubs know your bank account details so they can deposit your winnings directly, which believe it or not, will be in your account within a few hours. Hooray ! but of course, you have to collect your winning trophies personally after the race and be available for an interview on Teletrack as the winning owner. You will feel giddy from the handshakes and the back slapping and probably in a daze of disbelief. Then you will know a feeling like no other.

Important Contacts. BloodStock SA : +27 (0)11 323 5700 / / Racing Association : +27 (0)11 683 3220 / / NHRA : +27(0)11 683 9283 / / Phumelela : +27(0)11 681 1500 / / Gold Circle (Pty) Ltd :+27(0)31 314 1500 / /





By Nicole de Villiers



ost successful horsemen have had years of experience and most likely a childhood surrounded by horses. Sean Tarry, one of South Africa’s leading racehorse trainers, has broken all the rules and managed to be at the top of the log through sheer determination and a thick skin.

The Beginning After school Sean did his national service in the army for the required 2-year period. After that, he tried his hand in a juice/ health bar outlet, but discovered that standing behind a till and working with people wasn’t his calling. Sean then decided to take a gap year to figure out what it was that made him, Sean Tarry, tick. Since Mark Tarry, Sean’s brother, was an owner/ breeder and is still very involved in the racehorse industry as a bloodstock agent, Sean decided to spend his gap year with the horses. It didn’t take long for him to realize that horses were his passion and after spending three years as an assistant, he went on to get his trainer’s license. 126


There were a lot of detractors; the fact that a man with no equine background was actually going to try and make it in the racing industry was rather unusual. All the negative words said were turned into a positive by Sean and had just made him more determined to prove himself in a tough industry.

The horses Sean has been very fortunate to work with top horses. One of the very first top class fillies he worked with was Golden Apple, owned and bred by his brother Mark. Golden Apple went on to win Sean’s first graded race, the Grade 2 Gosforth Park Fillies Guineas in 1999. Golden Apple was recently crowned Champion Broodmare in South Africa, besides being the dam of Pomodoro who won the July this year for Sean and owner Chris van Niekerk. She is also the dam of Golden Chariot, winner of last season’s Greyville 1900 Grade 2, as well as stakes performers Quest for Gold and Autumn Gold. “Golden Apple’s success is also a feather in the cap for my brother Mark who has managed her stud career from day one.”

In the heat of the battle (Pomodoro and Smanjemanje)

After great success with Golden Apple, he had to wait a while before he got another champion. But it was definitely worth the wait. When ALASTOR came along, he experienced what will always remain an unforgettable moment and the highlight of his career - winning the J&B Met. “The Met was a very big one for me. It is exciting when you have picked a horse yourself and it performs at the highest level. It was a truly rewarding experience,” says Sean. His favourite horse of all time to train was National Colour, who went on to win in Dubai. Mythical Flight, Buy and Sell, Wendywood, Gold Onyx, Successful Bidder and Happy Archer are but a few big names of all the group one winners and top horses that Sean has been associated with.

Pomodoro and The July Victory A long time before the race he was positive Pomodoro would bring back the gold, but leading up to the race when he saw the wide gate Pomodoro had drawn, he had to admit it was going to be a tough one. 127


About Sean Where were you born: Johannesburg Where do you live: (Umhlanga (KZN) for feature season). The rest of the time I am at Blue Valley Golf Estate, Midrand, Johannesburg for the rest of the time. What are you favourite sports? I play a lot of golf. I used to be a keen cyclist. I have done 8 Argus’s and 3 Momentum 94.7s. I am also a great golf and rugby spectator. What are you passionate about besides racing? I love spending time with my family and as I mentioned, playing golf. All time favourite racehorse? National Colour, but I’ve had a lot of talented horses to train. What is the best part of your job? The best part of my job is the early mornings and working closely with the horses, before the phone starts ringing.

Left: Chris van Niekerk(Owner) , Pomodoro’s faithful groom, Sean Tarry (Trainer) and Pierre Strydom (Jockey)

Sean and Mark Tarry with Happy Archer ridden by Anton Marcus (Grade 2 Gold Bracelet 2012)

Sean’s view on buying stock and the recession. “There are two main factors that play a significant role in the victory we had. Firstly, Dr Mc Veigh discovered Pomodoro had a shoulder injury after his disappointing run at the Daily News. If this had not been discovered in time there could have been a different outcome. Secondly the jockey, Pierre Strydom’s belief in Pomodoro despite the disappointing ride he had in the Daily News. Pierre had not seen the side of Pomodoro that I had come to know and after such a disappointing race for him still to be interested in riding him in the‘July’ was something that made me think, “this guy has felt something and believes in this horse’s ability”, says Sean. Despite the odds, Pomodoro pulled through and had the crowds roaring at Greyville Race Course, some with a bit of surprise. “Pomodoro’s owner, Chris van Niekerk, has played a major role in supporting me throughout my career and this win could not have happened to a better owner, says Sean.” Chris van Niekerk also happens to be the breeder of Pomodoro.

Up ahead When Sean is asked what young horses we can look out for, Heavy Metal, Whiteline Fever , E Jet and Skitt Skizzle come to mind. “If I have to single out some of my up and coming 3 year olds I would say keep an eye out for Hang Man who has already won a group 1 race, Amber Orchard, Fire Wheel and Tinchy Strider (Emperor’s Ready to Run race) are also showing a lot of promise.” 128


Sometimes a buyer can be a bit too picky. I am a bit more forgiving with the legs. All horses are not perfect and not all perfect horses can run. There has to be a gut feeling when I see the horse. I was really not happy with National Colour’s legs. She ended up being the best horse I have trained (Joint Horse of theYear). I liked her so much that I bought her despite the fact that I didn’t like her legs. The important thing for me is the horse needs to be athletic. A lot of the horses at the yearling sales are produced commercially and the breeders are forced to have them looking as good (too big) as they can. But it doesn’t do the horse much justice because if they are growing too fast, the horse ends up being soft. It is hard to sell horses when they are small and light. Breeders need to find the common ground and prep them less. I believe we will improve the quality of our horses and get better performances out of them. In a nutshell, they need to be athletic with a good walk as well as being scopey. I like a classic type of horse with a good girth and length of rein. Regarding the effects of the recession, I would say that I did not lose any business, but it did affect the growth thereof. People who were keen to get into racing, had to hold back due to the recession which is unfortunate.



Article courtesy of

GRAN BLANCO One of Rathmor Stud’s top broodmares Perakeen, by Rakeen - Perfick(NZ) by Straight Strike(USA), delivered a surprise in the early hours of the morning of the 14 September 2011.


ike and Tanya McHardy of Rathmor Stud had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the foal and Mike explained that, “It was all a normal birth until we started seeing this white foal emerging, it was shocking and I could not believe what was happening. I was sure it was a disaster!” The snow white colt with chestnut ears is by KZN’s Champion sire Kahal. Mike McHardy says as far as they know, this is the first time this has ever occurred in South Africa. McHardy had little doubt the colt was by Kahal. “I think he was a typical Kahal - big, immature looking and very ‘hocky’. Most Kahals’ start like that and over time mature into lovely horses.” Rathmor Stud are no strangers to being in the news, having bred the likes of Grade 1 winner in South Africa and America, Gypsy’s Warning, her half-sister Surabi, Grade 1 winners’ Malteme and her half-sister, the talented and ill-fated Wendywood.



The colt has triggered enormous interest amongst the equestrian community the world over due to his rare colouring for a Thoroughbred, defined as a Medicine Hat. Online interest has come from as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA, Ireland, UK, Japan, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, Latvia, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. Initially, Rathmor were going to name him Great White, but the name was denied by the relevant authorities. This prompted Rathmor to take an unusual route, opening the naming of the foal to the public on their Facebook page. After receiving hundreds of naming options - it was finally settled after a submission from an American Thoroughbred breeder, who put forward the name ‘Gran Blanco’ - meaning Great White in Spanish. Gran Blanco has been registered with the National Horse Racing Authority as a white horse.

The McHardys have been made several offers to purchase Gran Blanco since birth from trainers, owners and farmers from across South Africa, but they will not be selling him off the farm - it will have to be settled in the auction ring. “I am really pleased with his progress and I am confident barring any disasters that he will be a draw card for the 2013 National Yearling Sales,” says Mike McHardy. He is certainly going to be an interesting horse to follow and has the potential and pedigree to be an exceptional racehorse. Inbred to Northern Dancer, Mr Prospector, Halo and Natalma on each side of his pedigree, his dam Perakeen is a five-time winner as well as placing 12 times, including twice in the Grade 3 Yellowwood Handicap. Perakeen is the dam of two previous foals by King Of Kings(IRE) and Miesque’s Approval(USA). She is closely related to 2004 Vodacom Durban July winner Greys Inn(USA).



Perakeen will be returned to Kahal for her 2013 foal. Mike talks about his decision to send the mare back to Kahal: “In my view this was the sort of mating that would suit the mare both physically and pedigree-wise and therefore a good mating the second time around. We are fully aware that we will never see a white foal born again on this farm. Not in my lifetime will I see it here again, it is such an unusual occurrence that a Thoroughbred could throw a medicine hat foal. Physically he is a big, immature looking boy that will slowly grow into himself. Temperament-wise he is a bit of a loner and he is very quiet and easy to work with. His pedigree is really good and I hope it shows on the track.” Gran Blanco’s sire Kahal, by Machiavellian(USA) - Just A Mirage by Green Desert(GB), stands at Bush Hill Stud and continues to remain in the Top 5 on National Sires Log - where he has been for the past six years. Kahal has sired Grade 1 winners such as Bold Ellinore, Noble Heir, Spiced Gold, Desert Links and Chocolicious.

By Johan Blom

Team South Africa and Mike de Kock International Opportunity

Opens up



The International Racehorse Magazine caught up with seven-time South African champion trainer, Mike de Kock, to find out more about the Team South Africa concept he manages out of his training stables in Abington Place, Newmarket, UK.


ne of the greatest challenges for the South African equine industry is the current restrictions and legislation surrounding export from South Africa. These complicated, lengthy and expensive travel arrangements necessitated by the ban on direct importation of horses from South Africa were imposed as a result of outbreaks of African Horse Sickness and are not due to expire until next May. 133




Above: Jehan Malherbe – Bloodstock Agent, Dr John McVeigh – Mike’s Vet local and International, Mary Slack – Owner of Abington Place and Mike De Kock Left: Assistant Trainer Steve Jell

In a recent interview with David Mickleburgh, Mike argued:”It costs the racehorses a potential healththreatening 147 days (including 40 in Mauritius where they are locked in their stables from 4.00pm to 8.30am with only an early morning feed, and then a 50-day residency period) and costs the owners US$50,000 per horse to meet the export protocols.”

trainers and owners the ability to send a horse to the UK, stable him at Newmarket and race him under their own banners without the fear of losing the horse and client to another trainer. Once in Europe we are able to take full advantage of the ease of movement. This opens up race opportunities across Europe, The Middle East and the Americas”. Mike de Kock Racing provides the day to day infrastructure for owners and trainers. This includes the physical infrastructure as well as work riders, grooms etc. All this while having access to Mike and his bank of impressive local knowledge and successes in these markets.Training fees apply but the South African trainers will be paid the statutory percentages on their horses’ earnings while De Kock takes a smaller percentage.

Mike continues and says that “there is no scientific or veterinary reason for these imposts beyond the reasonable 21 days quarantine in South Africa to ensure that the animal is clean. Compare this to the limited restrictions on Australian horses where the illnesses they get can be life-threatening to even humans.These restrictions are like a trade embargo and could even be considered illegal. Our authorities could, perhaps, become a little more Mike says he enjoys working with other trainers and aggressive and contemplate legal action. After all, we have has done so in the past with great success. “We want to represent the South African Horse and hope that in the never exported a single case of African Horse Sickness.” near future we can find alternatives to the unnecessarily Mike is above all, very passionate about the South expensive and prohibitive export procedures”. African racing industry and hopes this concept will help promote the South African brand and encourage more We wish Mike the best of luck with his new endeavour trainers and owners to utilize this opportunity to race and we look forward to reporting on the successes in the from a base in the UK. “The concept affords South African coming months. 134


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The horse is an animal of concussion. How the horse distributes the energy of concussion (or impact) has a direct relationship to the athletic ability as well as the longevity of a horse’s career. Better equine athletes are more efficient in the manner for which they distribute the energy of concussion thru their limbs. The superior equine athlete utilizes the energy of concussion and efficiently distributes the energy to various tissue groups for dispersion and recovery. The stored energy (kinetic energy) is then used for locomotion derived from the recoil of the tissues receiving the energy of concussion. The horse may recover upwards of 80% of the energy stored in the various tissue groups. Sports injury or damage causing lameness or gait abnormality results from the inability of tissue to dissipate excess energy. The health maintenance of these tissues such as hoof wall, bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles is the purpose of an Equine Sports Medicine Management program. The primary methodology of equine sports medicine is to assist horses to develop optimum efficiency of movement with respect to the movement desired for different breed specifications and competition. Knowledge of normal conformation and anatomy is needed in order to deal with abnormal conditions which cause altered energy distribution and recovery. This in turn will aid in designing an exercise program to best maintain and further develop athletic potential. Just as important, is the ability to identify those animals that do not have the desired ability either due to conformation or disease states that alter the proper distribution of concussion. This enables the trainer and owner to make economic decisions concerning the value and future use of the horse. Obviously, this type of ‘gait analysis’ evaluation by the trainer and or veterinarian is so crucial when purchasing or maintaining an equine athlete. So often, owners, who are brilliant business people, make economic decisions concerning horses based on emotions without sufficient data base necessary to make such decisions. If they were buying a corporation or major equipment purchase often for less money than a horse, the entire project would 136


be analyzed extensively. Frequently, the owner then becomes disgruntled when the purchase of a horse does not realize the potential desired. This is why a thorough understanding of the athlete and the biological variability is necessary to make informed decisions. The biomechanics of human sports medicine has developed remarkably in the last 20 years and has certainly added to our abilities to diagnose and improve equine athletes. However, there are major differences to keep in mind. The major difference is that humans are upright and horses use four limbs for locomotion. This makes equine gait movement much more complex particularly with relation to the SYNCHRONICITY of movement. All the distribution of concussion has to flow in a synchronous pattern. Any alteration of the synchronicity dramatically alters the distribution of concussion and leads to eventual tissue breakdown. The horse does not have any muscle below the knees (carpus) or hock (tarsus). The muscle surrounding bone all the way to the ankle in humans can dampen the energy of concussion dramatically; this does not occur in the horse. The muscle mass of the lower limbs in humans also slows the human athlete in that there is more weight to swing on a lever arm (leg). The horse being a fright/flight species is exceedingly faster because of 1) four limbs which keep contact to the ground surface more consistently for propulsion and 2) low weight (no muscle mass) of the lower limbs. The synchronization of the distribution of concussion is also altered by the different gait specifications of various breeds. Normally, a horse mediates 65% of its total body weight thru the front limbs. A race horse actually pivots off the front limbs bringing the hind legs underneath itself for propulsion. Conversely, the show horse and horses of collection which are not concerned with high speed have to place 65% of the weight on the hind limbs to gait in accordance with breed specifications. Thus, the synchronicity of movement is totally different and places more concussion to be dispersed on the hind end. Consider also that with normal equine movement the head and neck is raised and lowered with the stride which aids in balance, energy distribution and propulsion. Show

By: Scott D. Bennett, DVM Equine Services Hospital, Simpsonville, KY

horses maintain a fixed flexion of the neck again shifting the balance and energy distribution to the hind end. Show horses that have a hind end injury thus will often fight the bit trying to counter balance the injury by naturally lowering the head. Conversely, horses that are uncomfortable with the bit placement will often counteract with a hind end gait abnormality. This is why riders should use the bit to balance the horse – not themselves. Show horses also carry more body weight for a ‘fleshier’ look than their more ‘greyhound like’ racing counterparts. Riders of show horses often are much heavier than Thoroughbred jockeys as well. Bearing these thoughts in mind, it is easy to see why we see more hind end and back lameness in show horses and more front end disorders in racing stock. One of the advantages to show horses and their longevity is that the speed developed in the show ring is dramatically less. The milliseconds with which race horses have to dispense energy at high speed is what leads to catastrophic breakdowns. When the synchronicity of energy dispersion is disrupted in a race horse, the overload of energy on compensating structures is immense at such high speed. One of the great difficulties in diagnosis and treatment of sports medicine injury in the equine athlete is the development of secondary compensatory lameness. Other structures and even other legs that become sore or injured are often a result of another primary injury. For example, a horse that is painful in the heel of a foot will land on the toe first rather than the heel (the normal horse should land heel first , then toe). This horse first lands on the toe, then back to the heel before going back to the toe again. This disruption in the synchronous dispersion of concussion will cause the other limb to have to play catch up thus possibly affecting the flight of the opposing leg, thus causing injury. Now the main source of pain is the injury of the opposite limb and the focus of our attention and treatment. The horse now compensates for the newly injured leg with the originally injured leg thus providing more energy and concussion to the first injury further deteriorating the original injury. And so on it goes! This is why lameness and gait abnormalities must be diagnosed methodically.



2. LAMENESS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE DISTRIBUTION OF CONCUSSION IN THE FOOT How the horse distributes the energy of concussion (impact) has a direct relationship to the horse’s athletic ability and the longevity of its career. The horse’s foot is a remarkable structure for dissipation of the energy of concussion. Proper size and shape of the foot with respect to the horse’s size and conformation is necessary for support. The hoof wall itself is not yielding or solid, but a pliable structure reflecting the horse’s nutritional status and the moisture of the ground to which the hoof is exposed. Only a few square inches of normal weight supporting surface on the bottom of the hoof start the initial distribution of concussion. The normal weight supporting structures of the hoof are the hoof wall, white line, bars, ¼ inch of sole and the frog. These structures comprise a surface area of approximately four square inches in the normal foot of which the frog is 60% of the normal contact surface area. Heel Phase: Normally, the horse’s foot lands heel first. The hoof wall is thinner at the heel rather than the toe to allow for expansion of the heel hoof wall. When the frog contacts the ground, the energy of impact disperses thru the frog and into the digital cushion above the frog. The digital cushion is made of fibrous tissue, fat and islands of cartilage which acts as one of nature’s best shock absorbers. As the digital cushion is loaded with the energy of impact, it expands lateral and medial like a rubber ball being compressed. The digital cushion pushing outwardly forces the collateral cartilages in the heel to put pressure on the coronary venous plexus in the coronary band thus trapping blood within the foot. The pedal bone in the foot is very porous and vascular and thus is stabilized to take concussion by the trapped blood within the pedal bone. Blood being mostly water is rather noncompressible. Therefore, this very light porous pedal bone

(P-3) is stabilized hydrostatically by blood which becomes even more pressurized as the foot rotates off the heel. Flat Phase (impact): As the hoof rotates off the heel and onto the flat surface of the bottom of the hoof, the normally concave sole will drop from the pressure of the pedal bone. This microscopically stretches the lamina which holds the hoof wall to the pedal bone. The pliable hoof wall will compress microscopically. All these structures store energy if healthy and dampen concussion. On normal, soft ground surface the foot will slide forward slightly at the end of this phase before rotating to the toe phase. Toe Phase:

bulb riding above the other. Sheared (internal tissue tear) heels and contracted heels are the most common source of unsoundness in show horses. Without proper frog support, the other weight bearing structures in the foot become overloaded due to receiving the energy not absorbed thru the frog. This compensatory overload causes hoof cracks, sole bruising, pedal bone inflammation and a variety of other maladies. As the heels contract from improper support, the area where the hoof wall starts to become thicker (quarter area) becomes prone to fatigue thus causing quarter cracks in the hoof wall. When poor frog support and contracted heels occur, the digital pump effect of blood circulation in the lower limb is diminished. Many of these horses suffer from limb edema (stocking up) requiring leg wraps to keep the legs from swelling. This would be similar to people needing support hose to aid in circulation.

The horse’s foot, under normal In Thoroughbreds, it soft ground surface conditions, will is common practice rotate the toe thru the ground. As (tradition) to lower the It can be easily realized that the the heel lifts, the pressure comes off heel hoof wall as far as three most common causes for the frog allowing the digital cushion, possible. It is believed collateral cartilages, and heel of the falsely that this will lameness include 1) improper hoof to contract back into position. extend a conditioning, 2) incorrectly applied The pressurized fluid (blood) shoes, and 3) improper ground trapped within the hoof and pedal bone is forced out of the foot and surface for competition and training. back up the leg. The snapping back of the sole to concavity also helps expel blood from the foot. All this combined is largely responsible for proper blood circulation thru the limb using the energy of horse’s stride giving a few concussion. Shoeing in itself decreases the ability of the hoof more inches of stride wall to contract and bend. However, even though shoeing length. However, what this interferes with the ability of the hoof wall to absorb and does do is to reduce the distribute energy they do protect against the increased concussion mechanism loading forces the horse encounters provided by man. These in the heel resulting in loading forces include the use of the horse (i.e. jumping, sheared heels and an faster speed, gaiting) and the ground surface provided for overload of energy on athletic competition. The energy of concussion normally other structures in the leg compresses the ground surface and the ground rebounds and many of these horses energy. Energy is rebounded faster thru hard ground and suffer from stress fractures soft ground dampens the rebound. Proper ground surface of the cannon bones (bucked for equine competitions is a must and much neglected in the shins) or inflammation of the industry. fetlocks (islets). Also, by lowering the heel in these horses the toe is effectively One of the primary problems with show horses who have lengthened. Since the horse normally rotates shoes and pads is poor frog support. Often the frog is cut the foot thru the ground these horses often have out during excessive trimming or perhaps a disease state to pick up their feet more to aid in breaking over the toe. such as thrush (infections of the frog) has destroyed the frog. Trainers complain about these horses climbing and not being Once the frog is compromised the rest of the soft tissue able to ‘grab the ground’. Often toe grabs are applied to structures do not work properly thus eventually allowing these horses to help grab the ground, however this can contracted heels due to digital cushion atrophy. Once worsen the situation by stopping the slide component of the the soft tissue support is compromised in the heel, then foot moving through the ground surface. This is accentuated the heels can easily shear causing contracted heels or one on a hard ground surface.



The sequence of timing of the distribution of concussion thru the foot is important in that the hoof must land properly and squarely onto the heel and then the flat surface followed by rolling over the toe. Deviation from this sequence either from pain, conformation, or lack of hoof balance will result in an out-of-synchronization dispersion of energy thus damaging the hoof or leg tissues. Recent MRI studies have shown fluid and/or hemorrhage of the lamina in the bar of horses with traumatic feet injury. For example, if the horse is suffering from heel pain, the horse will land first on the toe and then rock back to the heel followed by a return to the toe and breaking over the toe. This totally takes the horse out of synchronization with its motion and places more energy on other structures for compensation. This causes the flight of the leg to deviate again stressing other structures. People who twist an ankle often complain of hip pain because they have to use their leg differently to compensate for their altered gait. The same principle applies to horses except their gait having four legs is more complex and more concussion is distributed due to the horses’ weight and speed. Changes in normal anatomic structure such as toe in, toe out, knock knees, cow hock, etc. also pre-dispose to distortions in the sequence of energy dispersion. Show weight and hoof angulation can also change the flight of the foot. Extra weight gives the leg extra momentum in the swing phase of the horse’s stride. This extra momentum results in an abnormal flight of the leg and alters the synchronicity of energy dispersion. Certainly, the shoe and weight have to match the horse’s conformation, use, and talent. However, conditioning for motion is far superior to weight for motion. A horse has to first be in condition (muscle, tendon, and bone) before attempting weight alterations in shoes. It can be easily realized that the three most common causes for lameness include 1) improper conditioning, 2) incorrectly applied shoes, and 3) improper ground surface for competition and training.

3. LAMENESS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE DISTRIBUTION OF CONCUSSION THRU THE EQUINE LIMB. Energy from concussion that is not distributed within the foot and ground surface has to be absorbed by other structures in the horse’s leg. Energy not properly distributed thru the foot results in excess energy taken on by other leg structures and if not managed properly can result in injury. The structures responsible for absorbing energy after dispersion thru the foot are 139


bone, joints, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and muscle. Bone is a dynamic organ structure. Often people think of it as rigid and unyielding. However, it does bend microscopically, particularly in younger horses. One must remember, when training two-year old horses, their bone structure is not yet mature. Muscle tone will develop before bone strength in the young horse and give the false illusion of a fit horse. While the muscular and cardiovascular systems can be fit, bone fitness will lag in development and requires long slower work to develop proper strength. Often, these horses develop rapidly and look mature. They are then pushed in training beyond what their bones and cartilage can sustain. The immature bone can bend too much thus causing micro-fractures in the cortex of the bone. Young people who develop shin splints would be a similar analogy. Thoroughbreds most commonly develop micro-fractures in the front legs primarily the cannon bones. Conversely, young show horses can develop micro-fractures in behind particularly the tibia above the hock. This is because of the added stress placed on the hind legs of the show horse and the gaiting process. A common history would be when a trainer has a great two-year old performer and is really pushing the horse to get ready for the two-year old classes. All of a sudden the horse loses his mouth and is resistant to gait training. These horses often have stress fractures of the tibia which can only be diagnosed using nuclear scintigraphy. Splints are also a sign of increased loading on the bone structure. The splint bones which lie on either side of the cannon bones have only a ligamentous attachment to the cannon. This responds by healing with calcification, thus producing a splint exostosis (bony bump). Lunging young horses in tight circles too fast is the greatest cause of splints in the young horse. Horses can also fracture splint bones, but usually from direct trauma to the splint bones. Only two tendons make it all the way to the foot. The common extensor tendon which attaches to the pedal bone in the front of the foot and the deep digital flexor which attaches to the navicular bone and pedal bone in the rear of the foot. The other major flexor tendon is the superficial flexor tendon which is behind the deep flexor tendon but branches and ties into the pastern and does not go all the way to the foot. Tendons are responsible for attaching muscle to bone for movement. Ligaments attach bone to bone for stability. Thus below the knee and hock, there are only two flexor tendons that bring the leg up and one extensor tendon which brings the leg forward. Since these tendons are attached to muscle above the knee and hock, they are subject to lengthening when the muscle fatigues.

This is easily demonstrated in many photographs of race horses and often show horses at the end of performances when their fetlocks are on the ground due to the stretching of the flexor tendons and fatigue of the flexor muscles. Due to the elevated shoes in show horses, the fetlock can drop a greater distance potentially increasing the chance for injury. Tendons can stretch 10% beyond their normal length. When the tendon is stretched more than 10% beyond its normal length, the tendon will overstretch and sustain injury. The tendon fibers can look like a nylon rope trying to unravel. Evaluations of these injured tendons using ultrasound shows fiber dispersement with pockets of fluid and blood. Because of poor circulation to tendons, the repair process can take up to six months or more with severe injury and the tendons are never as resilient as before.

Poor conformation, heavy shoeing, fitness and ground surface all affect the ability of a leg to disperse the energy of concussion. Energy not distributed properly thru the foot has to be absorbed and distributed elsewhere up the leg often over loading the delicate balance of bone, tendon, ligament, and cartilage development. Injury to these structures also affects the synchronicity of movement due to pain and can precipitate more injury. The balance of cardiovascular and muscle fitness with bone, tendon, ligament, and cartilage maturity is one of the most difficult areas in training to measure. When to stress these structures with increased energy loading and speed requires the experience to be patient and certainly is a subjective training art as much as a science. However, science with aids such as ultrasonography, radiography, thermography, nuclear scintigraphy, and bone density measurement devices are helping to assist the trainer with such decisions.

Aside from the collateral ligaments to the joints in the leg for stability, the major ligament of concern is the suspensory ligament which attaches from the back of the cannon bone to When discussing sports medicine and sports medicine injury, sesamoids behind the fetlock and on to it is important to understand the pastern bones. The suspensory basic concepts to the is an extremely large tough distribution of concussion ligament and since it attaches thru the limb of the Tendons can stretch 10% beyond from bone to bone, it is not horse. Future, more subject to overstretching because in-depth discussion of their normal length. When the of muscle fatigue. This is also why various treatments for tendon is stretched more than horses can sleep standing. They joint and tendon injury 10% beyond its normal length, can lock their joints using the will be forthcoming. suspensory ligament and exert the tendon will overstretch and very little energy due to the lack sustain injury. of muscle fatigue from standing. When the muscles and ligaments stretch to their maximum, the suspensory ligament helps maintain the integrity of the leg preventing the fetlock joint from complete collapse. However, if the ligament is stretched beyond its capabilities, then it can be injured as well. Injury to this ligament can result in its origin being pulled out of the back of the cannon bone (avulsion injury), fracture of the sesamoid bones in the middle to the ligament, or the ligament itself can be injured leaving lesions similar to the flexor tendons called core lesions. Obviously, injury to the flexor tendons or suspensory ligament can carry devastating consequences if not identified rapidly and treatment initiated. New concepts and methodology of treatment will be discussed in future articles. As tendons and ligaments are stressed and stretched, the joints can also be damaged from hyper extension due to improper support. Cartilage damage can occur from joint trauma, chronic joint over use or focal overloading due to poor conformation or shoeing. Cartilage does not have any blood, nerve, or lymphatic supply. Because of this, injury to cartilage is difficult to heal and if not treated aggressively the lubrication of the joint will be altered resulting in degenerative joint disease. Treatment of degenerative joint disease will be discussed in future articles. 140






horse of the


VARIETY CLUB By Malan du Toit


he horse and sport. What a delectable cocktail of unbridled joy! I am one of the fortunate few who stumbled upon this treasure and found an unharnessed passion and instant love for one of the most majestic creatures on Mother Earth. It has been twenty years since my wife’s temporary incapacitation due to pregnancy had me rolling up my sleeves and exercising her horse. It was literally instant infatuation and I was hooked.

gelding Silver Mist, Basil Marcus’s international champion, Jay Peg, Charls Laird’s Merlene de Lago, Sean Tarry’s Aslan and Mike Azzie’s Mochachino and Potala Palace are some of the big names that will be recognised by racing enthusiasts. And then to the latter day, our current SA Horse Of The Year,Variety Club. His trainer, Cape champion Joey Ramsden has always been a believer in the benefits of proper schooling and a solid behavioural grounding.

Two decades on, the spark of that instant love has developed into a veld fire, consuming my every moment and passion. It is an indescribable honour to earn my daily bread doing something that fascinates and teaches me something unique, with every new individual pupil. While I deal with every calibre of horse in my daily travels from the training centre to the farms to the racecourse, the more recognisable names that I have had the professional honour and privilege of working with include the likes of July winner and current stallion sensation Dynasty, who was trained out of Milnerton by Dean Kannemeyer.

I first came face to face with Variety Club in the magnificent surrounds of Arc En Ciel Stud in Wellington, where I am responsible for instilling a solid foundation for all the yearlings. I remember the handsome Var colt as a standout and quite a ‘meneer’, as we say. He was just one of a group of youngsters that I was tasked with starting (some call it breaking-in) after their return from the various sales arenas. Like children, the young horses display varying personalities and degrees of confidence. They are all exposed to the syllabus, but some just need more attention than others. I would label this stage of the racehorse’s development as the primary school phase. Their graduation to the professional training yard is a step up to high school.

The multiple J&B Met and L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner Mike Bass’s Pocket Power, Joey Ramsden’s grey Western Winter



From the first time I set eyes on Variety Club, I recall feeling an acute sense of admiration for the athletic chestnut, who somehow already knew he was special. He projected that tangible champion charisma that doesn’t come around every day. He wasn’t particularly difficult and it was only after he had gone into training at Milnerton, that I got the call from trainer Joey Ramsden. ‘This one is something special and I want you to keep an eye on him. I’m not happy about his reaction to the starting stalls,’ was all he said. I assessed him, went back to the basics and reinforced the ground control processes. Like a true professional, Variety Club responded. I got the next call after his first run. It was Joey’s assistant, Ricardo Sobotker. Variety Club had proven a handful to saddle. The racecourse was obviously providing various triggers to his brain. It reminded me of another brilliant racehorse that I had worked with. Jay Peg also turned into a lion when he saw the saddle at races!



Malan du Toit (left) and Joey Ramsden (right) posing with the beautiful Variety Club.

Softly Whispering In the steady gaze of the horse shines a silent eloquence that speaks of love and loyalty, strength and courage. It is the window that reveals to us how willing is his spirit, how generous his heart.

Jockey Anton Marcus, Derek Brugeman that walks with me and Variety Club into winning encloser.

Jubilation after Variety Club won the Korean Racing Authority Guineas in KZN.

Training is specific to the individual and we took Variety Club to Kenilworth on non race-days to simulate the environment that excited and hyped him. The general idea is that when he sees me, he sees a leader figure who provides him with a sense of trust and security. My aim was to minimise the impact of the triggers that may be causing the alarmist behaviour. There are those who may have suggested gelding as a desperate measure. But he really wasn’t behaving in a coltish manner and in fact was a pleasure at home when he rung and went through the motions in good spirit with his stablemates. I attended all of Variety Club’s subsequent major races with Joey Ramsden. The record books will show that little, if nothing, has stood in the way of one of the great racehorses to grace our turf in recent memory. I recall a special private moment or two with him in KwaZulu-Natal. I was spending some quality time with him in his box on a beautiful Clairwood morning before he was going to run at Greyville, Durban. As the sound of the engine of the float that had come to fetch him could be heard pulling up outside the stable, he pricked his ears, put his head over the door and turned and looked at the vehicle.The expression of anticipation on his face and the ripple of adrenaline charged excitement that appeared to quietly cloak his magnificent frame, sent cold shivers down my spine. It was a Kodak moment. But more than that, it gave me a wonderful sense of achievement. He was saying, ‘Let’s go get ‘em. I am ready for this.You guys better be careful!’ The sense of personal pride I felt when Variety Club was crowned Equus South African Horse Of The Year in August made every hour I had spent with him worthwhile. He was the product of an outstanding team effort. But the sense of my own quiet joy was comparable to a father watching a once wayward son graduating Cum Laude.

And Variety Club’s reaction to the float on that beautiful Saturday morning? This is an interesting aspect of the simplicity of how a horse’s brain functions. His athletic frame may allow him to run like the wind, but his brain is quite a simple piece of engineering. Contrary to what many people may think, a horse lives in the here and now. So he really is concerned with his immediate environment and reacts accordingly. Put simply, if you smack him now, he won’t necessarily kick you later - as some may suspect. The accepted wisdom is that horses have very simple needs and thought processes. They want to eat, drink, breed occasionally and generally just be safe. In order to do that, they try and behave in an energy efficient way. So in theory, a horse will avoid confrontation unless really necessary. They haven’t survived thousands of years on earth without good reason! Horses’ brains are akin to giant computers. Experience or data that has been will dictate their reaction in any given situation, and they record every experience they have. If a horse has been stressed or smacked in his stable or at the starting stalls, it will assimilate that information and associate and anticipate stress or pain in that situation again - because experience dictates it. He will therefore react accordingly. So a horse does not judge necessarily, but it learns very fast from previous experience and that very experience will dictate its’ behaviour going forward. We cannot delete past traumatic experiences, but we can give them different ones going forward. The more positive experiences a horse has in any given situation, the more likely he is to react positively. And vice versa. Some go so far as to say that a horse is merely a collection of learned behaviours and reactions, and to an extent that is probably true. Naturally in a remarkable character like Variety Club’s case, that may be a little hard to swallow!

Malan du Toit is South Africa’s leading horse behaviourist. Read more on or follow him on facebook and Twitter 144










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