SP Sprint - Wednesday 27 March 2024

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On the track there is no quarter given. But until the gates spring open colleagues Richard Fourie and Craig Zackey are friends. Here the pair, who rode a winner apiece at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday, pose for photographer Candiese Lenferna.

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On the cover

The 2023 Dubai World Cup winner Ushba Tesoro with Yuga Kawada in the irons returns after scoring his first victory outside his home country. He is back at Meydan to defend his title on Saturday. Chase Liebenberg took the photograph.

Read more on page 30.

Issue: 13/2024



SA Racing Celebrates EU rubber-stamp will change lives


Dubai World Cup Champions at Meydan


Buffalo Bill Cody

The charge continues


De Kock Derby Decision

Marauding Horde plans in melting pot


Zac Purton Power

The Aussie grabs second HK Derby

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Ready to take on the world again | Credit: Supplied WE ARE BACK AND FLYING HIGH!

The reinstatement earlier this week of the direct export of horses out of South Africa to the EU and beyond has been a long-held dream of the South African racing, breeding and equestrian community.

Yet the last direct exports from Cape Town happened so long ago that most people can be forgiven for thinking that its reinstatement was nothing but wishful thinking by the South African equine industry. Liesl King writes that an outbreak of African Horse Sickness in 2011 led to a ban on exports from South Africa directly to the European Union.

Prior to the ban, South African horses were required to do 40 days quarantine in Cape Town’s quarantine facility in the centre of the Hollywoodbets Kenilworth Racecourse, before shipping straight into the European Union and then if needed onwards to their final destination.

Then SAEHP announced the extraordinary news that the South African Government had been officially notified that the reinstatement of direct exports from South Africa to the European Union has been approved, quoting their official announcement below.

“South African Equine Health and Protocols (SAEHP) is pleased to provide an important and exciting update regarding the re-opening of European Union export markets to the various equine disciplines in South Africa.

“SAEHP, in conjunction with the South African Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), advises that DALRRD has received official notification that the reinstatement of direct exports of registered equines from South Africa to the European Union (EU) has been approved.

“This is a very positive development for both the South African thoroughbred racing industry as well as for other equine disciplines in the country and the re-opening of normal trade will have many benefits, including in time the creation of further jobs in this employment intensive industry. ” Liesl King caught up with Adrian Todd, the managing director of SAEHP, to understand how this rather astounding achievement finally came about.

After all it has been thirteen years since South Africa last exported directly to the EU.

Todd explained, “The negotiations are ultimately between the various governments and hence a Public Private Partnership with our government, both national DALRRD and Western Cape Veterinary Services (WCVS), was formed which was essential to the ultimate success and shows what can be achieved through working together.

“SAEHP was formed due to the vision of Chris van Niekerk and the Export Task Team which he jointly founded with Mrs Susan Rowett as a cooperative venture between the sales companies. SAEHP started on this path in January 2018. For three years it had the financial support of several individuals, stud farms and racing organisations in South Africa.

Then in 2021 The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) came on board not only as a funder, but also to provide additional expertise on a technical level. Hence, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to The Hong Kong Jockey Club and in particular to its CEO Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, for their input and support. Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges in his role as Chair of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) and Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation (ARF) has long since been a champion of South Africa in its struggle to get exports reinstated.

“I would also like to thank and recognise the NHA for their role in the process and their relationship with the HKJC due to the common membership of the ARF, as well as the South African racing operators for their support. “Before the HKJC became involved, SAEHP had since its inception unwavering financial and motivational support from various individuals and organisations in the industry.

On behalf of the whole SAEHP team, I would like to say thank you to Chris van Niekerk for his initial vision, tenacity and funding support and our various others funders prior to the involvement of the HKJC, this would have not been achieved without your enthusiasm and support.

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SAEHP CEO Adrian Todd | Credit: Supplied

Thanks must also be given to the horse owners for their efforts over the years in helping with surveillance data, as well as Cape Racing for their work on upgrading the Kenilworth Quarantine Station and ensuring it met the EU requirements and standards.”

Todd made special mention of the SAEHP team: “The SAEHP team stuck with this through thick and thin and for that I can never thank them enough. We are lucky to have an extremely dedicated team, who are truly professional and acknowledged experts in their field. In no way could have this been accomplished without them and the superb working relationship that has been developed between SAEHP, DALRRD and WCVS. The National Director of Animal Health Dr Mpho Maja’s leadership of the national authority really is world class”.

It has been a common discussion point among the horsey crowd that nobody knew what was happening on the export front, except that SAEHP seemed to be spending a lot of money on a futile exercise.We were told that an audit had to take place, but the ‘when’ seemed very nebulous. The arrival of COVID did not help matters either. In its aftermath, there was little optimism that it would ever happen. It finally did take place in 2022, but since then nothing further was forthcoming.

Liesl King asked Todd about this lack of news flow and detailed updates from SAEHP over the last couple of years which felt like silence to many industry participants.

Adrian explained: “One has to bear in mind that although this approval has taken longer than originally anticipated back in 2018, Covid affected the first official EU audit timing that was scheduled for 2020, with the audit later rescheduled and carried out in 2022, with subsequent communications between DALRRD and the EU authorities leading to this very good news. I appreciate that at times there were long periods without any industry update from SAEHP, but the nature of government to government procedures and protocols meant that matters had to be handled that way.

“SAEHP complements the South African authorities, who have been involved in Government to Government negotiations with the EU authorities. Of course, these negotiations have their processes to go through, they are influenced by other factors and the outcomes can only be announced after the approvals are finalised.”

SAEHP Chairman David Abery was equally complimentary . “It has been a lengthy, highly complicated process and one that would have never been achieved without the vision of both the HKJC and our previous funders. I thank each and every individual and organisation that has supported SAEHP in in achieving this goal. Likewise, I salute the extraordinary commitment and resilience of the entire team at SAEHP, without whom we simply would not be here today.

“Direct exports to the EU may be open, but the work does not stop here, apart from continuing the drive to open other export markets, what has been achieved must now be maintained.

Our next goal now is to ensure that the necessary functions of SAEHP that are vital for the maintenance of the protocol are well funded and secure for perpetuity.”

The announcement not only makes it possible for our top racehorses to compete internationally, but also creates the opportunity for our equestrians to compete in events such as the Olympics and other international competitions!

It has been a long, arduous, frustrating, and extremely bumpy road, followed by an achievement that is still very hard to believe is real. Yet real it is.

The goal has been achieved, and Abery and Todd, along with the SAEHP team and everyone else who contributed funds, skills and enthusiasm along the way, can certainly be extremely proud of that!

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Trade is vital to all countries and all industries. When trade is blocked, the result is detrimental to the entire industry, and the resumption of trade provides hope and is a stimulus to economic growth, employment and to entrepreneurial enterprise, writes Robin Bruss.

Wings over Cape Town – exciting times ahead! | Credit: shutterstock

All of the South African racing and breeding industry has welcomed the renewal of the EU protocol which will allow direct exports to resume from Cape Town’s AHS Free Zone to the EU, and no doubt warrants the praise being heaped upon Adrian Todd, CEO of the SA Equine Health Protocol (SAEHP), the quasi-government body which works as a type of public private partnership with the Dept of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD).

The Thirteen Year Wait

Thirteen years is an awfully long time to negotiate a veterinary protocol, which in itself should be based on science and risk analysis, but almost certainly involved the complexities of trade politics and the bureaucracy of dealing with a Union of 27 countries.

Since Adrian Todd assumed the CEO role in 2018, his six years were also affected by long delays with the EU bogged down in Brexit, as well as dealing with the Covid Pandemic, and the matter of South African horse imports would have sat low down the pecking order in terms of priorities.

Todd wasn’t the only one to tackle the issue, as there were prior organizations before the set up of SAEHP, who spent 6 years on the job from the onset of the 2011 suspension without making much progress.

The 2011 suspension followed the deaths of a group of donkeys in Mamre township some 54 km away from the designated Free Zone in an area known as the Protection Zone (which covers a vast radius of around 100km) which has the purpose of catching any outbreak early and thereby protecting the sanctity of the Free Zone Area which stretches between Milnerton and Kenilworth in Cape Town.

The dead donkeys, it was later discovered, were suspected of having succumbed owing to having adversely reacted to being vaccinated.

Any death from AHS is reported as a notifiable disease and even a single case becomes the red flag for the suspension of the protocol, which according to the 1996 set-up of the zone, is a mandatory suspension of 2 years. And so began the 2 year suspension of exports in 2011 which has now lasted 13 years.

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BSA Sales candidates at Gosforth Park
Credit: Candiese Lenferna

However, the suspension could not be lifted when two years later in 2013, SA failed an EU audit and that had to be fixed first before any progress could be made. These corrections were dealt with but who would know that owing to Brexit and Covid, the EU would not conduct and approve another audit until 9 years later in October 2022.

In the interim, according to the published EU Audit Report October 2022, a new Animal Health Law in the EU had rendered the legal authorization No 2008/698EC of the Free Zone to become obsolete, and that Law was required to be repealed in order for the authorization to be considered once again. This required a different focus to the matter of trade and consequently has taken a long time to be achieved.

According to the SAEHP/DALLRD press release this week, the legalities are now in place and the authorization has been granted by the EU for the re-opening, although the detail of regulations around the protocol is not yet published and we must be cautious not to assume too much until the detail is made known.

In the past, the requirement was for a period of residence required in the Western Cape before entry into pre travel quarantine (PEQ) at Kenilworth racecourse quarantine and then 40 days in the quarantine stable with daily exercise permitted before flying out.

If a single case of AHS occurred in the Protection Zone, there used to the 2 year suspension and this had happened in 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2013.

Since AHS has a 10 days incubation period (like Covid) and is easily detected on a PCR test (again, like Covid) it therefore would be hoped that in the renewal, given the modern success of the PCR test, that the suspension period might be something practical like 30 days, and not punitive as the 2 year period used to be. They say that in any regulation, the devil is in the detail, and therefore we look

forward to the publication with a measure of hope and optimism.

Detrimental Effects of the old EU DirectTrade embargo

To understand the detriment, let’s first understand what the 1996 advent of direct trade through the EU did for the breeding and racing industries which was positive.

USA Historical success

We knew that South Africa was capable of breeding horses of high calibre when in the 1960s, a spate of South African horses were sent to America to race.

America has a completely different importation policy to the rest of the world.

The US Department of Agriculture does not believe that animals should be Pre-Travel Quarantine (PEQ) tested by the exporting country and arrive with clearance certificates from foreign vet authorities. The Americans prefer to trust themselves, so they go for Post Arrival Quarantine (PAQ) in their own facility, and if the animals don’t meet with strict standards they are sent back.

Europe, on the other hand, does not want to quarantine any horse on arrival, and therefore insist on PEQ in the horse’s home country and the EU audits the Authority, rather than the Horse!

Colorado King (SAF) was the first South African to go to the USA after winning the Durban July in 1963 and he became the best horse in California, breaking the world record for 1800m.

The success of Hawaii (SAF) proved that South Africa was breeding world class horses – although considered inferior to Sea Cottage at home, he became Champion Grass horse in 1970 in USA and the first $1million South African stallion syndication.

America looked easy with weekly scheduled flights operating Johannesburg/New York with any horse booking a pallet and flying. But

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that was stopped in 2001 after 9/11 with all scheduled cargo flights being disallowed into New York.

The European ban from 1958 remained problematic as it was the gateway not only to Europe, but also to the Middle and Far East as well as Australia and it was an important matter to solve.

The Free Zone concept

In 1995, Prof Allan Guthrie of the Equine Research Centre seized upon the European principle of a Free Zone which had been authorized and used at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and he proposed a similar system to be set up in Cape Town -and ultimately it was approved.

London News (SAF) – the pioneer

When it was accepted as a system for competition horses to train during 40 days quarantine at Kenilworth racecourse, the first horse to try to raid internationally was London News (SAF), who completed his race preparation at Kenilworth, exercising in the morning and quarantining in the evening.

He then flew Cape Town-Amsterdam-Hong Kong and five days later he won the then biggest race in Hong Kong, the 1997 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr1) over 2000m. And not only that, he broke the course record as well!

South Africa had arrived on the world’s stage. Two years later, Barry Irwin’s Team Valor began buying in South Africa and their first horse Delta Form, winner of the Johannesburg Summer Handicap, left for America, where he won at Gr2 level and placed in Gr1.

It was enough for the TVI supremo to see the economic gap: Buy South African value in Rands and aim for USD success. His results were spectacular. He took the risk no-one would, and his intrepidity has paid handsomely.

Spook Express, whom Mike de Kock had trained to Gr1 success in South Africa, was sold to the USA, winning the Keeneland Galaxy Gr2 and ran 2nd in the 2000 Breeders Cup

Fillies and Mares World Championship. Mike de Kock sent Horse Chestnut to America and then set up his stable in Dubai, and the South African juggernaut began with year on year success through to 2012.

In the first decade of the 2000s, South Africa, 8th largest racing country in the world out of more than 60 countries that race, was now showing its mettle in global competition.

Victory Moon and Ipi Tombe each became Horse of the Year in Dubai, TVI’s Irridescence won the Queen Elizabeth S. Gr1 in HK, Crimson Palace won the Beverly D Gr1 in Chicago. Perfect Promise won the CF Orr S. Gr1 in Australia, Dane Julia won the Kelt S. Gr1 in New Zealand; on a memorable night in 2006, Jay Peg won the $5m Dubai Duty Free Gr1 and Sun Classique won the $5m Sheema Classic Gr1 in Dubai; JJ The Jet Plane won the Cathay Pacific Sprint Gr1 in HK, Gypsy’s Warning won the Matriarch S. Gr1 in California, Variety Club won the HK Mile Gr1 at Sha Tin and Shea Shea won the Al Quoz Sprint Gr1 in Dubai.

Lizard Island, bred in Port Elizabeth from a R5000 mare, was beaten a whisker in the first running of the world’s richest race, the $10m Dubai World Cup Gr1, then got his revenge on his conqueror when they met again in the $3m Singapore Cup Gr1.

South African horses were winning big on all five continents and Mike de Kock was the South African trainer in Dubai, attracting the investment of Sheik Hamdan deputy ruler of Dubai, and Sheik Mohammed bib Khalifa, who became big supporters of South African racing.

Racing South Africa

A new marketing arm, Racing South Africa was set up in partnership with the Racing Operators and the Racing Association, with the aim of supplementing the international racing picture with the international performances of South African horses, creating interest and enthusiasm in the SA product – it had a relentless drive to attract and bring more buyers to the SA auction sales.

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“We don’t just compete in big races around the world” laughed Racing South Africa’s CEO Peter Gibson at the time, “invariably we seem to win!”

Racing SA itself became recognized by the DTI as an official Trade Council which qualified it to receive R1 million p.a. to market the SA product across the world. They held trade missions to HK and Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, China and UK.

The success rate was felt at the National Yearling Sales:

“In 2001, only 1% of the TBA turnover was foreign money” wrote TBA Chairman Adv Altus Joubert in the TBA Annual Report 2009, “now it’s more than 30%”.

“Since 1996” he glowed, “the TBA Sales have increased year on year - until 2009 when we were affected by the global financial crisis - our first downturn after 14 years of growth.

“However, we continue to offer what I believe is the best value for money of any breeding industry anywhere in the world”.

The chart below of National Yearling Sale statistics from 2000 to 2010 reflects the impact of the growth curve.

In the 14 year period, the average price showed 430% growth. Similarly, the sale aggregate at the National Yearling Sale QUADRUPLED.

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International buyers on top of the world! Visitors entertained to the delights of Table Mountain | Credit: Supplied

In 2011, the TBA elected to start the Cape Premier Yearling Sale inside the International Convention Centre in Cape Town. It had a R2 million budget to fly in new buyers from around the world. It had the support of the Western Cape Government with the Cape Premier Helen Zille opening the Sale and welcoming the foreigners.

It featured Mango Groove as a singing act to commence the sale as it hosted buyers from 18 countries and was lauded and congratulated for internationalizing the South African product at a time of the year – January – which suited all the Northern Hemisphere buyers.

The sale broke all records and for the TBA, the startling realization that 60% of the sale aggregate was by foreign purchasers.

The downside of the EU Suspension 2011

In 2011 there were 352 registered thoroughbred breeders, they owned 4,138 broodmares and stood 112 stallions.

In 2023, by comparison, and the downturn of 12 years of EU export bans, there were 185 breeders (48% reduction), they owned 2,329 broodmares (44% reduction) and stood 58 stallions (49% reduction).

To be fair, there were other significant factors which affected the health of the thoroughbred breeding industry, most notably, the Covid Pandemic 2020 and the bankruptcy of Phumelela which followed in 2021.

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SA talent entertains guests at opening of Cape Premier Yearling Sale | Credit: Supplied

Notwithstanding 2020 and 2021 events, the decline began with the sustained reduction in foreign spend, the absence of South African successes around the world, and the realization that sights once set at massive international stake earnings such as Jay Peg (R46 million),

Lizard’s Desire (R52 million), Sun Classique (R48 million), Variety Club (R32 million) and Iridescence (R19,7 million), were no longer going to be possible, unless a way could be found to freely export.

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Racing South Africa was closed down, the Trade Council relationship terminated. International visitors enjoy the beauty of a leading Cape stud farm | Credit: Supplied

In 2023 /24 in South Africa only, reigning Horse of the Year Princess Calla took her earnings to R5,5 million after 12 wins and five Gr1 races, and champions Charles Dickens to R5,119,813 and See It Again to R4,136,875.

Domestic prize money looks good when we are at home, but not so much when we look at foreign purses in booming Middle and Far East.

• Our richest race, the Hollywoodbets Durban July carries a stake of R5 million.

• The world’s richest, The Saudi Cup, carries a stake of $20 million (R366 million).

The 2024 Saudi Cup winner, Senor Buscador is a 6 year old who had not won any Gr1 in 17 starts in America and in six Gr1 attempts before his amazing Gr1 achievement in Saudi.

It’s hard not to think our best South African horses could be competitive in the 1800m event in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially in the light of the first decade of the 2000s.

The export protocol for easy and effective delivery for competition horses becomes the critical pathway to the opportunity to regain our global success, whether the horses are bought in South African by foreign buyers or whether South Africans will fly the flag themselves on the world’s stage.

It also stands to reason that if South Africa is the 8th largest racing country in the world and the average earnings per horse in Rands currently places us out of the top 20, then every country where the prize money is bigger becomes an “arbitrage” opportunity –that is, change the geography and the horse becomes worth more because it can earn more.

Quality Control and the Improvement of the Breed

What we don’t know right now is the current CLASS of our horses against the world’s best because it has been so long since we have been able to test them in global competition.

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Jay Peg connections celebrate at Meydan after the $5m Gr1 Dubai Duty Free | Credit: Supplied

For this reason the recent bold move by Drakenstein Stud, Ridgemont Stud, Hollywood Syndicate, Mario Ferreira and Barry Irwin’s Team Valor, to take a significant group of top horses to America in the hope of getting runners in November’s Breeders Cup World Championship is to be commended.

On one hand, we know that the National Horseracing Authority’s handicapper is part of the 16 nation global panel that must agree the Longines World Ratings and the panel has agreed that our best horses like Do It Again, Jet Dark, Kommetdieding, Charles Dickens and Princess Calla have featured highly in the global rankings, most of whom would have ranked higher in ability than Senor Buscador on his form prior to Saudi Cup!

Opinions are one thing. The Winning Post is another. And stakes cheques are not paid on opinions!

Whilst we have witnessed the downturn in numbers of stallions and mares, it’s also true that in this same period, the number of horses imported to replenish the gene pool have been significantly low, that is, lower than at any time in our modern history.

According to the NHA, in 2023 there were 4 horses imported for breeding, in 2022 there were 6 and in 2021 there were 5.

How does the breeder positively impact the gene pool on such a paltry number?

And if only 3% of all horses win Graded Stakes races because Graded stakes are only 3% of all races, how can we expected just the 3% of Black type earners to improve and uplift the general population of horses ? Logically, the standards must deteriorate, and after a decade, even great families will decline.

If Breeders seriously want to see an export market flourish, and South African horses compete successfully on the world’s stage, they had better focus on IMPROVING THE GENE POOL.

Hand in hand with that assertion, the Department of Veterinary Services, DALLRD, no doubt currently buoyed by the success of the EU negotiation, had better also consider how best to ease the mechanism for IMPORTATION of horses, which, in my experience, are harder and more difficult and more expensive to import than at any time in the past 40 years.

The Export Market

• The Yearling Market will be boosted by foreign spend, enjoying the substantial discount of the Rand exchange rate and buying cheaper horses to race in South Africa in the hope to take the proven horses out later on.

• The Yearling Market will also be boosted by domestic buyers, hoping to find the great racehorses that will be able to compete in USD races or for Dirhams or Riyals in the great rich races of the desert.

• Whilst yearlings are significant, the real export market is going to be for young progressive proven horses and for Stakes winning fillies and colts where $100,000 (R1,8m) to $250,000 (R4,5m) offers will be hard to resist. This will be the domain of owners and trainers boosting income at a vastly higher value than the purses they can earn in South Africa.

Shortage of Horses

The double edged sword here will be the real risk of a shortage of horses to compete in local races – the 2023 population was 4688 horses in training, which is understandably down 20% from pre-Covid level of 5816.

There will be a concerted effort by the operators, most notably Cape Racing, to shore up prize money, especially in 2 year old racing, as they have done, in order to encourage young horses to remain.

If 4Racing and Gold Circle follow suit, the juvenile programme will be richer than ever before and incentive owners not to sell too quickly - and there will be the knowledge that, in order to keep more horses at home, prize money must go up.

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What this will also do, is for demand to exceed supply and that means prices will rise. Breeders will finally overcome the desert of the last dozen years where flagging prices have not kept pace with rising costs and almost half the studs have gone out of business.

But if breeders want to stay in business and prosper, they and the TBA and the Department of Veterinary Services will need to have a serious discussion on how to replenish the gene pool and how to service and grow the foreign markets that really suit them.

In this respect the Ministry of Agriculture should be a willing contributor – the Minister’s published Strategic Directive 2020 to 2025 puts the number 1 priority for the Ministry of Agriculture to be a focus on EXPORTS:

“Agriculture is one of the most important sectors with the greatest potential economic growth and job creation. The growth in exports cannot be over emphasized.” –Minister AT Didiza

Action and not words will be needed to fulfill this imperative. Incentives, tax breaks, streamlined importation and import quarantine, can join an agenda.

Looking Ahead

Next week, we will look at the recent success rate of South African horses abroad. Although few are racing, what we have tracked is the astounding successes of the small number of South African graded SW mares that are at stud overseas, none more so than those who have found their way to Australia.

It is in the Middle and Far East where RESPECT runs high for the toughness and soundness of South African racehorses, and for the strictness of our drug rules.

However, it is in the Antipodes where RESPECT runs high for the South African racemares at stud and whose success rate is greater than South African breeders even know or realise.

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Exciting and challenging times for all of our breeders| Credit: Supplied



Ridgemont seeks a competent work rider to join their team. Work will vary from riding breakers, pre-trainers, ready to run sale horses as well as older racehorses.

The opportunity is based in Wellington, where a full-time position is available to the right applicant.

Please email us your CV including two contactable references. For more info during business hours only:

+27 (0) 63 667 5383

EMAIL YOUR CV TO: julia@ridgemont.co.za
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Mike de Kock and assistant Johnny Geroudis
Credit: MDK Racing

Mike de Kock writes on his website that it would be remiss of him not to extend sincere thanks to the individuals involved in finally getting South Africa past the winning post for the reinstatement of direct exports of our bloodstock to the EU and elsewhere.

Monday, 25 March, 2024 was a most exciting day for our industry with this breaking news and it may well go down as an historic turning point for our embattled industry.

There are a number of breeders who made contributions to the South African Equine Health and Protocols (SAEHP). At the risk of leaving someone out, I am just going to express my heartfelt thanks. They know who they are. I am sure a list of names will be published soon in their recognition. I’d like to give my thanks and appreciation to four individuals that deserve the most accolades.

Firstly, Chris van Niekerk, with whom I had the privilege of serving with on the original board of SAEHP when it was formed to address the export protocol issues with increased vigour in 2018. Six long years later, SAEHP has succeeded in what it had set out to do – after having to overcome a series of major obstacles and unforeseen delays. But the task has been done, and I want to tell you that there were months that Chris had to fund SAEHP from his own pocket. We owe him a debt of gratitude.

Adrian Todd, often maligned in this period, kept his head down and continued to press on. I, too, had words with Adrian a few times, especially about the frustrating issue of the movement of horses inside South Africa. He faced a battering of criticism and sarcasm in the media, but he persevered and deserves kudos for that.

Adrian built a top team around him. He carried the flag at dozens of sensitive meetings with high-raking officials here and abroad that were never reported on. He kept digging and digging to get to the right people, knocked on doors

all over the world and had to endure some demoralising brush-offs. Well done, Adrian!

David Abery took the reins when Chris stepped down. There was a stage, not too long ago, when SAEHP was on the verge of collapse, but David came up with the masterstroke to approach the Hong Kong Jockey Club for financial assistance through a percentage of the World Pools.

Lasty, a word of thanks to Winfried EngelbrechtBresges, the long-serving Chief Executive of the HKJC, an administrator of celebrated stature whose belief in the South African thoroughbred stems from his witnessing of the exploits of horses like Variety Club and was fundamental to his assistance in allowing for monies to be assigned to our cause. Personally, I have what can be described as fire in my belly today.

I know that South Africa produces thoroughbreds that can compete around the world. Now that the playing fields are level, we can return to international competition. My son Mathew tells me every day of his belief that our runners will hold their own in Australia, especially over a mile and up. I look forward to seeing our runners take on the Aussies in their backyard.

And then there is Dubai, where our former infrastructure remains accessible to us. We have stables and equipment, and now we can return with our horses to fill those stables. In recent seasons the Dubai Carnival has lost its competitive edge and with that some of its glamour. This issue was dealt with in a recent Racing Post article.

Perhaps the time has come for us to send some runners to the UAE again, to restore healthy competition, international flair and traditional rivalries.

There are interesting times ahead!

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Meydan hero Lord North leads the British and Irish challenge for Saturday’s Dubai World Cup meeting as he seeks a record-extending fourth success in the $5 million Dubai Turf
Lord North looks to set more records in the Dubai Turf Credit: Chase Liebenberg

After the declared fields were announced on Monday, Lord North is set to face John and Thady Gosden stablemate Nashwa, a threetime Group 1 winner against her own sex, in the Dubai Turf as well as the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair Luxembourg and Cairo.

The eight-year-old has won the last three runnings of the race under Frankie Dettori, starting with a three-length success in 2021 before dead-heating with Panthalassa in 2022. Last year, Lord North brought up the hat-trick by beating Danon Beluga by three-quarters of a length in the 1m1f contest. He has only raced once since then, when second in last month’s Winter Derby at Southwell over 1m3f.

He can be backed at 13-2 for the Dubai Turf, with Arima Kinen winner Do Deuce and Godolphin’s Measured Time heading the market at 3-1.

Europe’s champion three-year-old Auguste Rodin, who was kept in training by Coolmore this year, makes his first start of the campaign in the $6 million Sheema Classic, where he is joined by Aidan O’Brien stablemate Point Lonsdale.

Successful four times at the highest level last year, including in the Derby and Breeders’ Cup Turf, the Deep Impact colt’s clash with Japan’s fillies’ Triple Crown winner Liberty Island is one of the highlights of the $30.5m meeting.

Britain has two notable Sheema Classic contenders in high-class mare Emily Upjohn and Spirit Dancer, who has been a moneyspinner for his owners - including Sir Alex Ferguson - this winter after winning the Bahrain International Trophy and Neom Turf Cup. There is no British or Irish interest in the feature $12m Dubai World Cup, in which last year’s winner Ushba Tesoro will look to reverse form from last month’s Saudi Cup with Senor Buscador.

Dettori will be aboard the Bob Baffert-trained Newgate, while Kazakhstan sensation Kabirkhan is a fascinating contender given his humble beginnings.

In the Al Quoz Sprint, Diligent Harry (Clive Cox), Emaraaty Ana (Jamie Osborne) and Frost At Dawn (William Knight) fly the flag for Britain, with Sprint Cup winner Regional and Annaf missing out with late setbacks.

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Champion 3yo Auguste Rodin runs in the Sheema Classic – his first start in Dubai | Credit: Candiese Lenferna


$12,000,000 Group 1 Dubai World Cup

Sponsored by Emirates Airline (2000m, dirt) The countdown to one of the world’s most prestigious races ramped up on Monday morning as 12 horses were declared for the US$12 million feature.

Most of the international contenders took to the Meydan main track in preparation for Saturday’s contest. Notably, Gr1 Santa Anita Handicap (2000m) winner Newgate breezed five furlongs over the dirt with assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes on hand, representing five-time winning handler Bob Baffert.

The son of the all-conquering Into Mischief made his appearance at the top of the 1600-metre chute and was partnered in his work by exercise rider Humberto ‘Beto’ Gomez. Tom Ryan, representing part-owner SF Bloodstock, deemed the gallop ‘perfect’ in a post on X, while Barnes offered a wry smile post-work: “We’re very happy with where he is at, he did exactly what we wanted this morning.”

Frankie Dettori, who won his record-equaling fourth World Cup atop the Baffert-conditioned Country Grammer back in 2022 was in the irons for the Big ‘Cap and is at the controls again this weekend.

The local brigade is also preparing for Dubai’s biggest race with Emirati trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri saddling up veteran Military Law. The nine-year-old, a fixture of the local ranks for five seasons, will contest his first Dubai World Cup after upstaging his rivals in the G2 Al Maktoum Classic Sponsored by Emirates Airline (1900m) on Super Saturday.

“He has actually been invited to run in the Dubai World Cup three times, but this will be the first time he actually makes it to the race

so it is very exciting,” Al Mheiri said. “He has been improving with every race this season but it will not be easy in this field and against these horses. Hopefully, he can draw between gate three and gate six to give him his best chance.”

$6,000,000 Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic

Sponsored by Longines (2400m, turf)

A provisional field of 12 has been declared for the Dubai Sheema Classic, featuring a remarkable 10 Group 1 winners.

It was a fairly quiet morning for many of these horses, with Japan’s superstar filly Liberty Island particularly attracting attention as she paraded in front of the throngs already at Meydan.

Junko, winner of the G1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) in December, is one of three runners at the meeting for French maestro Andre Fabre. He led his Dubai Gold Cup-bound stablemates Sober and Sevenna’s Knight around the Tapeta training track, located behind Meydan’s back straight.

Richard Lambert, Fabre’s long-time travelling head lad, said: “There have been no problems with Junko, he has recovered well from the flight and is very relaxed. His weight is good and he won’t do much more in terms of work, he will just tick over.”

$5,000,000 Group 1 Dubai Turf Sponsored by DP World (1800m, turf)

Sixteen horses from all corners of the world have been declared for the Dubai Turf, including three-time champion Lord North among six Group 1 winners.

One of those yet to win at the highest level is the Jerome Reynier-trained Facteur Cheval, although his efforts last year included four Group 1 placings in races like the Sussex

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Stakes (1600m) and the Prix d’Ispahan (1800m).

His Monday morning saw him canter on the Tapeta training track at a discrete distance behind the three Andre Fabre-trained horses. Jessy Cabot, Reynier’s travelling head lad, said: “The horse is really calm and has coped with the flight fantastically. He is in good form and everything is going well.

“He is an experienced traveller but it was his first time on a plane. He’s done a lot of travel by road and it’s great that he’s so calm.”

$2,000,000 Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen

Sponsored by Nakheel (1200m, dirt) A provisional field of 14 has been assembled for the Dubai Golden Shaheen, a race that

shapes as a fascinating contest between the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Japan.

Defending champion Sibelius stood out as he took to the track under regular rider Allyson Walker with trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer casting a watchful eye: “We just let him roll down the lane, he dropped in there around the threeeighths and just started two-minute licking from there. When he got to the quarter pole, he just kept picking it up. I got him in 23.2 seconds his last two furlongs and just let him ease up past the wire.”

Also set to represent the United States is Run Classic for Jose D’Angelo. The Florida-based handler was trackside Monday as the recent winner of the Gulfstream Park Sprint returned

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Newgate, under Humberto Gomez, completes a gallop on the Meydan main track on Monday | Credit: Dubai Racing Club/ Liesl King

for a second session of gate schooling, after which he pronounced himself pleased with the six-year-old’s preparation.

“He did very well,” said the affable D’Angelo. “As a sprinter, it’s really important to have a good start. It’s a different gate and he’s not the best starter at home in his races. So we just want to be on top of all the smallest details. “It’s the second time he schooled and we’re probably going to come one more time and we’ll be ready.”

Run Classic and Sibelius are two of five American runners in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, a race won by the red, white and blue squad on no fewer than 13 prior occasions.

$1,500,000 Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored by Azizi Developments (1200m, turf)

A 12-strong international array of sprinters will thunder down the Meydan straight on Saturday in the Al Quoz Sprint.

Lining up to defend his title is Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Danyah, something of a shock winner when returning to the straight last year to defeat Australia’s The Astrologist by a head.

“This has been the aim all season and we have brought him on slowly with this in mind,” Al Mheiri said. “He surprised everyone last season and I think that he has a good chance to repeat last year’s success.”

The Al Quoz Sprint is one of the few races at this meeting which has not been won by Japan. This year, the Hideyuki Mori-trained Jasper Krone - a winner over Japan’s only straight course at Niigata - will seek to change that.

“We cantered on the main track,” Daishi Hidaka, a stable representative, said. “After travelling from Saudi Arabia, we have been able to maintain his condition without any issues and everything is progressing smoothly as we planned.

“His jockey, Taisei Danno, will be aboard for his

gallop on Wednesday,”

$1,000,000 Group 2 UAE Derby Sponsored by Atlantis The Royal (1900m, dirt)

Thirteen three-year-olds will tackle the UAE Derby and, for the 10 runners bred in the northern hemisphere, the allure of a ticket to the G1 Kentucky Derby (2000m) in May looms large.

Among the most eye-catching horses on Monday morning was Pandagate, a son of the late Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate.

Christophe Clement’s charge is hoping to secure a position in the gate for the Run For The Roses and the last-start Listed Gander Stakes (1600m) winner certainly drew plenty of admiration, stamping himself as one to follow through the week.

Representing the stable, Clement’s son and assistant Miguel and his wife Acacia both expressed satisfaction with the way he had travelled to the Middle East with more expected from him later in the week.

$1,000,000 Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup

Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (3200m, turf) A full field of 16 stayers will tackle the 3200-metre journey in the Dubai Gold Cup.

Among their number are Andre Fabre-trained stablemates Sober and Sevenna’s Knight, who followed the Dubai Sheema Classic-bound Junko in a gentle canter on the Tapeta training track on Monday.

Sober was set to run in the Dubai Gold Cup last year but knocked a leg en route and was withdrawn, while Sevenna’s Knight is yet to race outside France.

Richard Lambert, Fabre’s travelling head lad, said: “Sober has taken the travel well this year and there’s been no problems. It’s new to Sevenna’s Knight but he’s been fine and our team have recovered well from the flight and are very relaxed.

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“Their weights are all good and after two days they’re nice and relaxed. They will just be ticking over during the week, they won’t do much more in terms of work.”

Japanese stayer Iron Barows will join his halfbrother, Dubai Sheema Classic runner Justin Palace, on the Dubai World Cup card. Both horses are also half-brothers to G1 Belmont Stakes (2400m) winner Palace Malice, who now stands at stud in Japan - all three horses are out of the mare Palace Rumor.

Shoritsu Kurono, representing trainer Hiroyuki Uemura, said: “The Meydan turf is firm this year. We galloped him over 1200 metres on Sunday to try and keep him as fresh as we can for race day. He breezed well and is in good form, so we will just do light work from here.”

For the home team, Musabbeh Al Mheiri saddles up Daramethos, a winner of the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes (2000m) just nine days ago. Saturday’s race will represent his first foray beyond 2400 metres.

“We are running in the Dubai Gold Cup as there is no other option for him,” said Al Mheiri. “The Godolphin Mile would have been too short for him, so we will give him a go here.

“It may have surprised others but we expected him to win the Jebel Ali Stakes and he did it well. We are happy with him.”

$1,000,000 Group 2 Godolphin Mile

Sponsored by EMAAR (1600m, dirt) One of the most fascinating races of the meeting, the Godolphin Mile has attracted a provisional field of 13.

It is a race in which the Emiratis have done very well in the past and Musabbeh Al Mheiri, who won with Tamarkuz in 2015, will be looking for a second success with Qareeb.

“Every morning, I wake up and I pray for him,” Al Mheiri said. “I’ve liked him from the day he came to us, although he has surely surprised everyone - us included - by making it to the Dubai World Cup meeting this season.

“He will be running on late and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

It is also a race that typically attracts a strong contingent from the United States and this year is no exception. Saudi Crown, a courageous third in the G1 Saudi Cup (1800m) at his most recent start, sets a strong benchmark while Caramel Chip creates interest for Florida trainer Jose D’Angelo.

Caramel Chip was a latest fourth to defending Golden Shaheen champ Sibelius in the Listed Pelican Stakes (1200m) at Tampa Bay Downs in early February, but he steps up in trip for the Godolphin Mile.

“I think the longer distance is going to be good for him and this stretch is longer than what he’s used to at home. That is actually going to help both Caramel Chip in the Godolphin Mile and Run Classic in the Shaheen,” D’Angelo said.

$1,000,000 Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic Sponsored by One Za’abeel (purebred Arabians, 2000m, dirt)

Dubai World Cup night will start with a heavyweight clash between 13 of the world’s best purebred Arabians, with Saudi Arabia’s Asfan Al Khalediah and Tilal Al Khalediah set for a pulsating battle akin to Ali v Foreman.

Seeking to keep the trophy on home soil is the lightly raced Alarqam, who was Group 1-placed behind Saturday’s rival Barakka at just his third start when second in the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 (1900m). He has had one start since for fifth on the Abu Dhabi turf in the G1 HH The President’s Cup (2200m).

“What he has achieved this season isn’t easy,” trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri said. “To go from a maiden to a handicap to finishing second in a Group 1 in three starts is pretty special.

“The Saudi horse Asfan Al Khalediah will be tough to beat but he is travelling for the first time so you never know!”

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Narina Trogon (Mathew Thackeray) runs them ragged at Hollywoodbets Greyville | Credit: Candiese Lenferna


The value of buying second-hand on the monthly BSA Online Sales was underscored at Hollywood bets Greyville on Sunday when the lightly raced and beautifully-bred 4yo Narina Trogon showed his class with a career first stakes score in the R150 000 Listed Kings Cup.

The winner was bred by Drakenstein Stud, who raced him in the Cape with Candice BassRobinson for the first part of his career, where he picked up 2 wins from 11 starts, including the 2023 Non Black-type Newlands Stakes.

Drakenstein disposed of Narina Trogon on the BSA September 2023 online sale, where he was purchased by Pound Bloodstock on behalf of Morgan Govender for R390 000.

After an unplaced run on the polytrack at his first start for the Miller team, his two subsequent turf efforts in KZN have seen a second and now a career peak victory on Sunday. And now trainer Michael Miller may now have a few plans up his sleeve for the relatively lightly raced 4yo!

In a fairly scrappy race, Passage Of Power led the Sundance Kid and Narino Trogon’s stablemate Winter Games early on.

Into the home run, Mathew Thackeray chose the traffic-free passage up the inside on the horse who runs in the Morgan Govender silks, who can easily be mistaken for those of Nic Jonsson. Thackeray unwound Narina Trogon, with the fancied pair of Celestial City and Imilenyenzeyokududuma not having the easiest of routes home.

Into the final 200m Narina Trogon (10-1) had a few lengths on them and he had 2,30 lengths to spare over Celestial City (3-1) in a time of 96,79 secs.

The tote favourite Imilenzeyokududuma (18-10) didn’t have it easy in running, but stayed on well for third, a further 0,15 lengths back.

The winner is a son of late multiple champion Silvano (Lomitas) out of the five-time winning champion Beach Beauty (Dynasty). This is the family of, amongst others, recently exported dual Gr1 winner Beach Bomb, Wild Coast, Rex Union and Amanzimtoti.

It ended up a very good day for the Michael Miller yard with Magical View and Ethereal View giving stable jockey Tristan Godden a nice double earlier in the afternoon.

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Trainer Mike Miller enjoys the winner’s enclosure with Narina Trogon and Mathew Thackeray | Credit: Candiese Lenferna


The outcome of this year’s renewal of the Listed Kings Cup at Hollywoodbets

Greyville no doubt delighted pedigree purists, given that the first two past the post not only paid homage to their late great sire Silvano, they also added further stature to their respective dams.

Victory in this historical precursor to the KNZ Winter season went the way of Narina Trogon. He became the fourth stakes winner produced by champion racemate Beach Beauty, the Drakenstein-owned matron whose three-yearold daughter Beach Bomb lifted her dam’s stature to even greater heights with her fine Gr1 double in the Cape Fillies Guineas and Cartier Paddock Stakes.

Narina Trogon initially raced for breeders Drakenstein and looked a fine prospect when he ran out a fluent winner first time out.

However, he failed to cut the mustard in five subsequent starts and although he managed to score again after suffering the ‘unkindest cut’, he was still a two-time winner when offered on an on-line auction in September.

Enter Morgan Govender, who purchased the four-year-old for R390,000 through Pound Bloodstock. Now in the care of trainer Mike Miller, it took the gelding two starts to hit his straps and he did so with his stylish two-length win in the Kings Cup.

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Wilgerbosdrift manager Karel Fredericks with the yearling Celestial City | Credit: Candiese Lenferna

As for runner-up Celestial City, this was a deserved and vital first bit of black-type, especially as it enhances his prospects as a future stallion.

Purchased for a staggering R7 million at the 2020 National Yearling Sale, the entire’s pedigree has ‘stallion’ written all over it, for he is out of the dual Broodmare of the Year Halfway To Heaven, whose first three foals are Horse of the Year Rainbow Bridge, Gr1 Cape Derby hero Golden Ducat and multiple Gr1 winner and young sire Hawwaam.

Remarkably, three years went by before Celestial City finally made it to the track as a four-year-old and much to the relief of trainer Sean Tarry and owner Henning Pretorius, he cracked his maiden first time out over a mile.

A frustrating string of seconds and thirds followed, but after finishing unplaced for the first time in his short career, he regained top

form with a vengeance by putting together a fine hat-trick of wins. Not seen out again for seven months thereafter, he returned to action last month with a promising fourth at Turffontein.

The quest for black type took Celestial City to Hollywoodbets Greyville for the Kings Cup, and he acquitted himself with aplomb in what was both his stakes debut and first appearance at the Durban track.

There’s no question that he will be a valuable addition to the KZN stallion ranks, hence any additional black type will further boost his already considerable appeal.

Finally, what more is there to say about Silvano. Enough has been written to fill an encyclopaedia about the deeds of this grand stallion who passed away almost three years ago, yet continues to cast a long shadow.


The Western Cape Equine Trust accepts equines, particularly ex-racehorses, into their care and after suitable training re-homes them to inspected homes, with caring new owners. The Western Cape Equine Trust is a registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) and has been raising funds to help improve the life of equines since 2005.

The programme focuses specifically on the safe and secure future of thoroughbred racehorses once they are retired from their racing career. Many of them are retired as young as 2 or 3 years old.

The WCET has been invited to participate in a Charity Raceday Day at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on 20 April and have been allocated two races for the day.

They are seeking sponsors for these two races at a cost of R30 000 per race, which would include naming rights, 4 lunch tickets and advertising in the race card.

As a registered Public Benefit Organisation, WCET can issue a tax certificate for this donation.

Sponsors would also be given publicity on the WCET mobile sites where they have a large following.

The day is very innovative and breaks new ground in respect of the local community and their related organizations and deserves every support from the racing community.

• Please contact Ken Truter on 082-5561606 or email him at truterk@global.co.za

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With so much depending on a freshman sire’s initial market appeal and first book of mares, Wilgerbosdrift stallion Buffalo Bill Cody found himself very much on the backfoot when he retired to stud in 2020.

The Irish-bred son of Redoute’s Choice had not enjoyed the rub of the green on the track in a career comprising just ten starts. Besides, missing from his resume was that all-important stakes win, a lack of which poses an almost

insurmountable handicap for a new stallion when it comes to attracting mares.

Not even the fact that his career wins included defeats of the likes of Gr1 winners Lobo’s Legend and Cirillo was enough to sway breeders, hence Buffalo Bill Cody’s first three crops numbered a paltry 18, 19 and 31 registered foals respectively.

That’s very little ammunition to go to war with, yet it hasn’t stopped the horse from making

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Buffalo Storm Cody charges to victory under Calvin Habib on debut last Thursday | Credit: JC Photos

a sparkling start to his stallion career. His first runner, the Anthony Peter-trained Pistol Pete, won first time out and also became his sire’s first stakes winner when strolling to a bloodless victory in the Listed Storm Bird Stakes.

They say one swallow does not make a summer, however, and another exciting prospect recently burst on the scene in spectacular fashion, this being Pistol Pete’s stable companion Buffalo Storm Cody.

Backed to the exclusion of his rivals, that confidence was spot on as the first-timer streaked up the Turffontein strip and bolted home by all of nine lengths. A half-brother to the Peter-trained Swallow Stakes victress Freed From Desire, he too, appears to have tons of ability.

Buffalo Storm Cody was bred by Narrow Creek’s John Everett, a staunch supporter of the sire from day one.

“I love him as a stallion,” he told Sporting Post. “When I first saw him at the stallion day, he just impressed me so much with his looks, he’s a bold, substantial, masculine horse. He certainly stamps his stock, you cannot miss them in the paddock.”

John not only sent Buffalo Bill Cody a good number of mares, he also snapped up some of the limited shares on offer.

Thus far, the gamble seems to have paid off, and he now finds himself in the enviable position of having the only Buffalo Bill Cody yearling catalogued for next month’s National Sale.

Mike de Kock, who trained Buffalo Bill Cody, is not surprised by his former charge’s early success.

“He was as good as any Gr1 winner I’ve trained,” he recalls. “He was a horse that showed you brilliance and as a sprinter/miler he had everything.”

As regards Buffalo Bill Cody failing to earn

black type, he elaborated: “The horse’s career was bedevilled by bad luck and little niggles. When I took him to the Western Cape, he got travel sickness so badly, he was never the same again.”

That much was apparent in Buffalo Bill Cody’s return to action when he finished last in the 2020 renewal of the Gr2 Hawaii Stakes, which would be his final start.

“I was adamant that he go to stud, I rated him better than Soqrat,” De Kock admitted.

High praise indeed, given that he was comparing the horse to a champion juvenile and a triple Gr1 winner!

De Kock currently has a handful of Buffalo Bill Cody’s progeny in the stable and when asked whether Redoute’s Choice could be a factor in Buffalo Bill Cody’s success, he added: “I would think so, he’s been such an outstanding success.”

He should know, he also trained the Australian champion’s Gr1 winning sons, the full brothers Mustaaqeem and Rafeef.

For now, Buffalo Bill Cody looks a young stallion of infinite promise. As the sire of two undefeated winners from just five runners (the most recent, Diyarani, ran a promising third on debut this past weekend), it is quality, rather than quantity that will define the start to his stud career.

Clearly, he poses no danger to red-hot logleader One World, who by the way already has had more runners than Buffalo Bill Cody has first crop foals. Yet at this stage, both have sired a stakes winner apiece.

As De Kock wryly quipped: “They were giving away free services to Buffalo Bill Cody when he retired.” One thing is certain, there will be no freebies when the next breeding season comes around.

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By the time the Sprint hits the online shelves on Wednesday afternoon, we will know whether Mike de Kock opted to go the SA Derby route with Marauding Horde or rather avoid potential nasty penalties with an eye on preserving a possible future Hollywoodbets Durban July candidate.

Just a fortnight after the handicappers officially confirmed that Tony Peter’s One Fell Swoop was ‘gifted’ her second graded stakes success courtesy of the operator’s ratings restrictions, another smart 3yo enjoyed similar benefits and a confidence boosting SA Derby prep in the process, with a good victory at Turffontein.

Two weeks earlier it was Mike de Kock’s Betway Gr3 Sycamore Sprint runner-up White Pearl, who was on the receiving end of the operator

conditions that are essentially designed to protect promising youngsters from incurring overzealous official ratings that might have the effect of denying their career aspirations. It’s all swings and roundabouts though, and on Saturday the master trainer saw his promising 3yo Marauding Horde slung in for the Turffontein sixth, a 2000m MR 80 Handicap, where he duly arrived, giving a half kilo and a beating to contemporary Jordan (20-1) by a facile 1,75 lengths in a time of 129,37 seconds.

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Marauding Horde charges clear under Marco van Rensburg | Credit: JC Photos

The improved again 3yo Crepuscolo (40-1) was always thereabouts, and was beaten 2,15 lengths into third in receipt of 6,5kgs from the winner.

Marauding Horde had his rating increased to 89 from 83 after winning the Listed TAB Hawwaam Stakes on 9 March, beating the eventually designated line horse George Handel (93).

The specific race conditions there prohibited the Handicappers from increasing the winner by more than 6 points, and he was capped on 89, despite achieving a considerably higher performance figure.

Bred by Maine Chance, the progressive Marauding Horde is a son of Vercingetorix (Silvano) out of the feature winner producing Indigo Magic mare My Lady Bluff.

He was a R750 000 National Yearling Sale graduate and has now won 3 from 5 with 2 places for stakes of R323 000.

If he runs on 6 April, Marauding Horde bids to give the De Kock team a seventh SA Derby victory after Horse Chestnut (1999), Greys Inn (2004), Bouquet-Garni (2009), Irish Flame (2010), Malmoos (2021) and Aragosta in 2022.

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Narina Trogon has had his rating increased to 97 from 91 following his comfortable win in the Listed Kings Cup at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday.

The Handicappers believed that third placed, Imilenzeyokududuma, made for the most suitable line horse and as such, his rating remains unchanged on 105. In rating the race this way, second placed Celestial City also runs to his rating of 92, effectively making him a line horse as well.

Cyber Time was the only other runner apart from the winner to receive a rating’s increase and he goes up to 87 from 85. This partial increase is due to the specific conditions of this race that do not allow for more than 2-pounds increase for placed runners.

There were merit rating drops for four runners in this race. Queue Wing is slightly down to 94 from 95 and Passage Of Power is down to 89 from 91. Mexican Pete and Winter Games also received 2 pounds drops each, from 98 to 96 and from 103 to 101 respectively.

East Cape Sprint Cup (Listed)

Countdown has had his rating adjusted to 108 from 107 following his victory in the East Cape Sprint Cup at Fairview racecourse on Friday.

Here, it was fifth placed Evies First who was deemed to make for the most suitable line horse and his rating remains unchanged on 99.

There were ratings increases for two more runners in this race. Despite running to higher marks both second placed, The Winter Lake and fourth placed Whatever Next had to be capped to a 4-points increase. This is due to the specific race conditions that prohibit the Handicappers from adjusting placed horses by more than 4 points.

No fewer than 4 horses received merit rating drops in this event. Cliff Top sees his rating drop to 110 from 113, Inherit The Rain was trimmed to 100 from 101, Silver Falcon received a minor drop from 116 to 115 and lastly, Smorgasbord dropped from 106 to 103.

East Cape Guineas (Listed)

Fairy Knight has had his rating raised to 105 from 99 after easily accounting for his rivals in the East Cape Guineas over 1600m at Fairview on Friday.

The Handicappers were unanimous in their view, that second placed, Zil Moris made for the most suitable line horse to rate this race. Consequently, his rating remains unchanged at 102.

There were no other upward merit rating adjustments in this event. However, third placed Zoomie was dropped to 101 from 103 and Hat’s Pride was dropped by 1 point to 99 from 100.

• Media release by NHA on Tuesday, 26 March 2024.

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The Ascot Stud-bred Global View gelding stamped his championship aspirations as a leading local classic male this term, when he beat a smart field, including three Cape raiders, to win the R250 000 Listed East Cape Guineas at Fairview on Friday.

Having won all his three starts since gelding and his fourth on the trot, Fairy Knight was given a supremely confident ride by Winning Form rider Richard Fourie, who released his mount at the 500m to go on and win his race.

Starting at 7-10, Fairy Knight never looked like being caught and he went away to beat Cape raider Zil Moris (4-1) by 1,25 lengths in a time of 96,55 secs.

The Fairy Knight connections celebrate the moment | Credit: Pauline Herman

The runner-up’s stablemate Zoomie (9-2) was a length further back in third, Glen Kotzen’s Hat’s Pride (20-1) a half-length back and rounding off the quartet.

The Guineas was always the target race for this dream horse who races in a partnership of Pine Lodge Stud and the multinational Halo Syndicate.

Richard Fourie was non-committal as to how much more Fairy Knight had to come at the line, but he clearly rates the handsome son of Global View and who knows what lies ahead as

the SA Champions Season looms on the East Coast.

A R120 000 National Yearling Sale purchase, Fairy Knight was registering his second stakes success with his sixth victory and 5 places from twelve starts.

He took his earnings to 610 775.

Bred by Ascot Stud, Fairy Knight is by their Galileo stallion Global View out of the two-time winning Lecture mare, Fairy Queen.

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Richard Fourie guides Fairy Knight to a smart victory | Credit: Pauline Herman


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Countdown (Denis Schwarz) defends his title to beat The Winter Lake (Muzi Yeni)
| Credit:
Pauline Herman Glen Kotzen’s Woodhill Racing Team broke a frustrating and uncharacteristic six-week drought when their classy Gimmethegreenlight gelding Countdown delivered a successful defence of his Listed East Cape Sprint Cup title at Fairview on Friday.

A year ago – coincidentally his last victory – Countdown beat Phedra under Grant van Niekerk to win the 2023 renewal of the 1200m contest, which was run on the polytrack.

In the interim, he has been mildy inconsistent, with a standout eye-catching peak effort as runner-up in the Gr2 Cape Merchants behind Cosmic Highway in December 2023.

But ups and downs aside, on Friday

Countdown (11-2) was in a galloping mood and the 4yo was produced late in the race under a well-judged ride by Denis Schwarz, to sail into the lead and then held off a determined late move by Gavin Smith’s 14-1 The Winter Lake under Muzi Yeni.

At the line a neck separated the top two, with the winner clocking a time of 68,18 secs.

Cliff Top (8-1) ran up the outside and led

the charge for a long way, before staying on commendably into third, a further 1,50 lengths back.

Woodhill Racing assistant Kuyan Kotzen made the long trip up the Garden Route from Paarl and could have been the lucky charm for the change of fortune.

A R200 000 National Yearling Sale graduate, Countdown was bred by Varsfontein Stud and is a son of champion Gimmethegreenlight (More Than Ready) out of the one-time winning Philanthropist mare, Imperadora.

A winner of 5 races with 7 places from 24 starts, Countdown has now earned R642 250.

• Fairview horseracing continues on Friday with the first due off at 12h30

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The descendants of the wonderful broodmare Ethane continue to make their illustrious ancestress proud.

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– Champion 3yo of 1969 – pictured at Summerveld with Raymond Rhodes in the saddle | Credit: Supplied

Ethane’s descendant Countdown (Gimmethegreenlight) made it back-to-back Listed East Cape Sprint Cup wins when he won the Fairview feature on Friday.

Countdown’s half-sister One Fell Swoop (Lancaster Bomber) recently won the Gr3 Betway National Currency Sprint and Gr3 Betway Sycamore Sprint in her two previous outing.

Countdown and One Fell Swoop were produced by Imperadora (Philanthropist), a half-sister to dual South African Horse Of The Year, and eight time Gr1 winner, Legal Eagle.

Imperadora, whose fifth dam is Ethane (Mehrali), won once, when victorious over 1200m, but has proved more effective at stud. Inbred to the great mare Grey Flight, Imperadora was produced by the smart

racemare Young Sensation (National Emblem)

A six time winner who finished second in the Listed Scarlet Lady Handicap and third in the Gr2 Gerald Rosenberg Stakes, Young Sensation produced five winners with her multiple champion son Legal Eagle (Greys Inn) her star performer.

Young Sensation was produced by Gr1 Allan Robertson Fair Model (Model Man), a great granddaughter of Ethane.

The latter established herself as an exceptional broodmare, whose nine winners were headed by outstanding half-brothers Hawaii (Utrillo II) and William Penn (Netherwood).

The former was one of the greatest thoroughbreds ever produced in South Africa, while William Penn, who showed high-class form at the advanced age of 11, won two

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| Credit: Supplied
– durable champion racer

runnings of the Gr1 Champion Stakes and carried top weight to victory in the 1968 Gr1 Metropolitan Handicap.

This is one of the greatest testimonies to Ethane’s prowess as a broodmare, as both Hawaii and William Penn were by far and away the best horses produced by their respective sires.

Hawaii made a huge impression at stud, with his progeny headed by Gr1 Epsom Derby winner Henbit and Kentucky Oaks queen Sun And Snow, and his name can be found today in such important racehorses and stallions as Ghostzapper, Justify, Scat Daddy, City Zip, and No Nay Never, as well as 1992 Kentucky Derby winner Lil E. Tee to name a few.

His half-brother William Penn left behind just nine foals, of which eight were winners and three were stakes winners.

In total, Ethane produced five stakes winners, and her descendants also include the likes of Gr1 Computaform Sprint winner Military Song (Song Of Songs) and Gr1 Cape Of Good Hope Derby Futurity hero Bold Chieftain (Singh).

Inbreeding to Ethane’s champion son Hawaii continues to reap rewards with this pattern having produced US Triple Crown winner and important young sire Justify (Scat Daddy), Gr1 Pacific Classic winner and promising sire Collected (City Zip), and Gr1 Beverly D Stakes winner and Chilean star Dacita.

Ethane is descended in female lines from the influential taproot mare Illuminata, dam of 2000 Guineas/Epsom Derby winner Ladas, 1000 Guineas winner and important broodmare, Chelandry, and the influential, if rather unfortunately named, Gas.

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Change of date - 6 June 2024

Cape Racing continues to unveil exciting initiatives for upcoming thoroughbred auctions.

Next on the revised schedule is the Cape Racing Winter Yearling Sale which, due to the South African General Election on Wednesday 29 May, has been moved to Thursday, 6 June 2024, at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth, at 11h00.

The change of date means that viewing will commence on Tuesday, 4 June at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth.

There are currently 113 Lots on offer listed in the catalogue, with the following vendors bringing yearlings to market:

• Ambiance Stud

• Beaumont Stud

• Drakenstein Stud

• Hemel n Aarde Stud

• Hopes and Dreams Stud

• Klawervlei Stud

• Maine Chance Farms

• Millstream Farm

• Narrow Creek Stud

• Normandy Stud

• Oldlands Stud

• Ridgemont

• Soetendal Estate

• Syrilla Stud

• Varsfontein Stud

• Wilgerbosdrift

A wide spread of South Africa’s established, and freshman sires will be represented to suit buyers across the price spectrum.

Commercial highlights include five Vercingetorix yearlings, nine out of Rafeef (AUS), and a sole Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) baby – all of whom will be highly sought after.

The Pinhook incentive scheme, introduced in 2023, will again be a sale feature. The incentive allows speculators to make purchases at the Winter Yearling Sale in June while only having to pay for the stock once selling at the Ready to Run Sale in October.

All graduates qualify for the CRS Juvenile bonus, which pays R100,000 to the winning connections.

The Cape Racing Sales personnel listed below are available to assist:

• Table bookings – Joanne Knowles jo@ caperacing.co.za

• Buyers’ Cards – Janine van Blerk janine@caperacing.co.za

• Sales queries & general info – Justin Vermaak justin@caperacing.co.za

Catalogues and further information will be available for download from www. caperacingsales.co.za

• Media release by Cape Racing Sales on Friday, 22 March 2024.

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Narrow Creek Stud, breeders of, among others, exported Equus Champion Isivunguvungu and 2022 World Sports Betting Gr1 SA Classic winner Red Saxon, enjoyed some great results at the 2023 National Yearling Sale.

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| Credit: Chase Liebenberg
Narrow Creek’s dual Gr1 winning flagbearer, Isivunguvungu

The farm sold the Rafeef filly Queen Of Love for R700 000, while the Narrow Creek Stud consigned Rafeef colt out of Spring Wonder was knocked down to Form Bloodstock for the same amount at the 2023 National Sale.

John Everett will be bringing another top-class consignment to this year’s National Yearling Sale, with Narrow Creek’s draft made up of yearlings sired by all of Buffalo Bill Cody, Canford Cliffs, Elusive Fort, Hawwaam, Master Of My Fate, Querari, Rafeef and the ever popular What A Winter.

This is a very nice bunch across the board with a mixture of proven stallions with a few very exciting young stallions thrown in. While there is plenty to recommend this draft in its entirety, there are a few real standout yearlings in this draft, including:

Lot 191: Strutting f by Hawwaam ex Isabelle Neat Hawwaam filly out of a half-sister to Sandringham Summit

Lot 197: Rock The Road f by Rafeef ex JinGo-La-Ba

Beautiful racy Rafeef half-sister to Sprinkles. She oozes class!

Lot 228: Mystical Lass f by Rafeef ex Magical Miss

Classy half-sister to Magical Wonderland, and also by Rafeef

Lot 243: Yippee Kiyay c by Buffalo Bill Cody ex Miss Magical

This colt is a must see not only because it is the only Buffalo Bill Cody on the sale. (Narrow Creek are no strangers to Buffalo Bill Cody, having bred the stallion’s very promising son Buffalo Storm Cody).

Lot 328: East Coast Girl f by Querari ex Sherry

One for the pedigree lovers. This is a very neat full sister to Homely Girl and is also a perfect match on Goldmine.

Lot 389: Helderberg f by Elusive Fort ex Too Phat To Fly

A nice strong Elusive Fort filly being a first foal out of a stakes winning dam in the form of Too Phat To Fly.

• Narrow Creek’s string can be found in Block C at the TBA Complex in Germiston.

The BSA 2024 National Yearling Sale takes place on 18 & 19 April 2024 at 10h00

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draft this year | Credit: Supplied
– a top


Nadeson Park Stud, breeders of, among others, multiple Equus Champion Got The Greenlight, will be offering a large, quality draft at this year’s National Yearling Sale.

One of the standout aspects of this string is the presence of a number of yearlings by champion sire Gimmethegreenlight, sire of the aforementioned Got The Greenlight among many others, on offer.

Comeback Johnny (Lot 92) is a Gimmethegreenlight colt out of a stakes winning half-sister to Gr3 Gold Bowl winner Don’t Look Back, and this colt hails from the family of champions Along Came Polly, Young Opera and Rock Opera, with the latter dam of French Gr1 winner and promising young sire Royal Meeting.

Gimmethegreenlight, whose flagbearers this season include the likes of Gimme A Nother, Green With Envy and Sandringham Summit, is also the sire of Greenside Girl (Lot 100), a full-sister to Listed Lady’s Pendant winner Roll In The Hay who is closely related to the likes

of Gimme One Night and Lady Of Steel, while Green Skyeline (Lot 343) is a colt out of a twice winning daughter of Gr3 winner Queen’s Command.

Other appealing lots by South Africa’s reigning champion sire include the half-brother (Lot 371) to recent Listed Breeders Guineas runner up Siddeley who is bred on similar lines to Gimme A Prince, and the full-brother (Lot 382) to the smart Gr2 Cape Merchants runner up Ready Steady Go.

However, this consignment is not only about Gimmethegreenlight, with Nadeson Park also offering yearlings sired by the likes of Master Of My Fate, One World, Querari, What A Winter and Trippi, with the latter represented by a halfbrother (Lot 93) to this season’s Cape Racing Sales The Ready To Run Stakes winner Tail Of The Comet.

This draft can be found in Block D at the TBA Complex in Germiston.

The sale is on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 April.

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The Sanne’s Oldlands Stud has bred numerous top-class horses over the years. Oldlands – scenic piece of paradise near Hermanus| Credit: Supplied

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From such Gr1 winners as Canadian Summer, English Garden and Zarina, to the dam of Gr1 Vodacom Durban July/Gr1 World Sports Betting Cape Town Met winning sire Kommetdieding and this season’s Gr2 TAB Gauteng Guineas runner up Hotarubi, Oldlands Stud is a proven source of thoroughbred stars.

Yet another smart sort bred by Oldlands Stud is this season’s promising two-year-old Taxi To The Moon, who recently made a winning debut at the Vaal.

Oldlands Stud will be offering six lots (one as agent) at this year’s National Yearling Sale, including half-brothers to both Hotarubi and Taxi To The Moon.

Their string is made up of yearlings sired by Canford Clifffs, Captain Of All, Legislate, Master Of My Fate, One World and Querari. Barbara Sanne is confident her draft will find favour with buyers at the 2024 National Sale, and had the following comments to make about Oldlands’ exciting consignment:

Moon Ship (Lot 121) c - Captain Of All ex Earn A Moon by Indigo Magic

This colt had an exciting update when his half-brother, Taxi To The Moon, won on debut as the hot favourite

Love My Style (Lot 136) c - Canford Cliffs ex Feel My Love by Fusaichi Pegasus (Offered as Agent)

His half-brother by Royal Mo is knocking at the door

Marketa (Lot 155) f - One World ex Geolina by Kabool

She is a well developed filly and quite forward

Peace Rose (Lot 165) f - Querari ex Guns And Roses by Trippi

She is a classy, big filly

Like Fire (Lot 168) c - Master Of My Fate ex Hanabi by Var

He is a special colt with a special brother in Hotarubi, a Derby hopeful

Good For You (Lot 345) c - Legislate by Slightly Blonde by Indigo Magic

He is well made and should be early

This draft can be found in Block A at the TBA Complex in Germiston.

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To say that Lara Neill whistles on her way to work might not be over-stretching the point. She’s on a hands-free speaker and Gary Lemke can hear the car’s indicator as the two chat…

There’s power in the leap
Credit:Merlynn Trichardt Photography

Gary Lemke writes that it’s just after 08h00 and she’s dropped off her two children at school and is on her way through to her tack shop, Equestrian Affair, for a meeting.

The day will still stretch out ahead of her, later she will exercise her horses, she will also help out with her children’s homework and catch up with her husband.

By any standard, she has a busy schedule but her day job, and passion is fuelled by the team of people she has working with her, who help get things done seamlessly. Team work makes the dream work, as they say.

Neill is the Horse Product Manager at Kuda Sport Horse Product Manager and she takes overall responsibility for the Sports Horse side of things. This includes sales, marketing, and of course the essential integration with both Underwriting and Claims. The appointment fills the vacancy created by Kerry Byerley, and feeds into the Head of Kuda Niche based in Cape Town, Janine Koster.

Originally from KwaZulu-Natal, where her innate

love for horses was born – both her parents were involved in equestrian sport – Neill has lived in Johannesburg for nearly 15 years, having spent 20 years in Cape Town, where, in 2009 she launched Equestrian Affair.

It was at the opening, where she was introduced to the CEO of Kuda, Wehann Smith.

The garlanded show jumper has a CV as long as her arm and while we chat, despite the inconvenience of dropped calls – blame that on loadshedding – she makes the time to conduct the interview. A scheduled 10-minute telephonic booking with her stretches to 20-minutes.

She’s a giver, not a taker. It all started with her saying, “I don’t like to talk about myself”. And she doesn’t. She’s modest, but is passionate about what she does, who she is, and most importantly, about her new role at Kuda – which she gushes over as we speak.

“In truth I’ve had a working relationship with Kuda since 2010 and from about 2014 I actively worked as an agent. I can assure you that the core values that Kuda promotes and lives are exactly those that I identify with.”

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In full flight - Lara Neill and Diamond Dundee at the 2022 Foresyte Winter Classic | Credit: Denford Studios

Her role with Kuda has now evolved and she admits that while she spends at least two hours in the office working through email and necessary admin duties, her role thrives from the fact that she eats, sleeps and breathes horses and spends her days either training her (8) horses or competing at shows.

“I suppose you could say that I’m in the trenches with our clients and more often than not, I have first-hand experience of the claims people ask about or can confidently recommend the correct product to clients asking advice”.

A love that shows! | Credit: Merlynn Trichardt Photography

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She laughs, “I love it! Almost every weekend I’m at a show jumping event. If I’m not personally competing, I’m watching my kids. So, I’m always out and about, available to our clients and learning more about our sport.”

There’s a change in her voice. I can only assume it’s taken a more serious tone. “I would never work with a company that I didn’t believe in. So, it’s with all sincerity and honesty that I can say that I truly believe and trust in the company. And that is why I work for Kuda.”

“I know, from personal experience, that they are true to their core values, some of which include, ‘Trust is Everything’, ‘Only employing good humans’, ‘Talk with real people’ and promote ‘High performance, with heart’. That is embedded in their DNA and that’s why I’m involved with them.”

Neill also speaks from first-hand experience. “We’ve lost one or two good horses and I’ve also had some of my horses undergo colic surgeries. Kuda has always been helpful with the claims, sympathetic and they have always paid out. That’s not a sales pitch, it’s a reality.”

Insurance is a competitive industry and Neill admits that insuring a prized possession of a sport horse should be as “normal” as insurance on a car, or health, or household.

“As someone who has been involved with horses basically all my life, I’ve experienced the highs and lows. And insurance of a sport horse is paramount. If you had to press me, I’d say that the critical care and life-saving surgery option is an absolute no-brainer option. You simply can’t tell me that if you love your horse –and of course that’s a rhetorical question – then you can’t afford R3300 a year insurance, which works out at R275 per month with Kuda for a critical care and life-saving policy.”

“Their product options are amazing and, what’s most important is that they work. I’m not sure I can say it any better than that.”

And indeed, she doesn’t have to. I can hear the car’s indicator signalling she’s turning again...

Down the road to further success for her and Kuda, no doubt.

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Lara Neill and Diamond Dundee – Heads up!
Credit: Denford Studios A Summerveld sunrise in HD - What a view!
Credit: Candiese Lenferna


In an ongoing quest to deliver a world-class platform for all South African horseracing fans, Gallop TV is constantly improving features to provide a convenient one-stop window on the exciting world of KZN and international horseracing.

The popular free-to-use high-definition sports broadcast channel includes live racing, odds, results, dividends, interviews, podcasts and play-on-demand previews, highlighting all aspects of the racing industry.

Gallop TV aims to provide all racing fans with the very best information that they need to make more informed decisions and delivers the very best of online live racing action.

As part of the ongoing upgrades to improve your security and access, existing and new users will be requested to reset their passwords.

New and existing users visiting the site for the first time since the upgrade, will be prompted to reset their password by a pop up as seen below:

The first-time user will need to click ‘Register now’ in order to set up their account. If the user has already done this, they can proceed by clicking ‘I have already reset my password’.

If a user has mistakenly closed the popup notification, or finds that it has not popped up, they can still reset their password by clicking the login button and then clicking ‘trouble logging in?’.

This will reveal a notification that also allows you to reset your password.

Have a look below:

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Once the user chooses to reset their password. as shown above, they will be directed to a screen that will ask for the email address associated with their GallopTV account.

Here is an example of what you will see:

After entering their email and clicking “Reset Password”, a link will be sent to their email address.

That link will take the user to the page shown below, which will allow the user to enter their new password.

Thereafter, the user will just need to follow the login instructions that pop up!

In the unlikely event of customers experiencing any issues, please contact Gallop TV via email at support@galloptv. co.za or on telephone 031 3141902.

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A decades long stalwart of Cape Racing, both as an administrator and owner and breeder, Rodney Dunn has passed away peacefully at the age of 76 after a long illness.

Probably the last of the old-fashioned racing administrators, and a go-to man for just about anything and everything on and off course in the Cape, Rodney Dunn lived for Cape Racing and expended all of his waking hours to uplift the sport he loved.

He filled various positions, including as a board member of the now defunct Western Province Owners and Trainers Association for over 30 years and worked tirelessly to promote the then Kenilworth Racing to owners from England, Ireland and Europe.

Rodney Dunn represented all that was great in Cape racing for decades.

An innovator and sentimental racing fan, he drove the promotion of the J&B Met through the popular Charity evenings and J&B Met Sweepstakes for over two decades, and also initiated the establishment of the Honours Boards and Grade 1 photo galleries, and the tribute to the ‘King Of Kenilworth’, Pocket Power, at the Southern Suburbs track we know as the new-look Hollywoodbets Kenilworth today.

Rodney is survived by his wife Joy, daughter Catherine, and sons Michael and Andrew, and their families.

Our condolences are extended to his family and friends.

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Rodney Dunn – will be remembered as a Cape Racing icon | Credit: Supplied
WHATSAPP LINE (063) 929-8630 JOIN THE CAPE TURF CLUB AT www.caperacing.co.za Experience the exhilaration of cheering your horse home across the finish line. join the passion


With a month to go to the end of the National Hunt racing season, which ends on 27 April, Harry Cobden leads Sean Bowen by twelve.

Harry Cobden, the number one rider for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, currently has 149 race victories compared to Sean Bowen on 137.

Defending champion, and three-time champion jumps jockey, Brian Hughes is in third position with 107.

The trainer’s title is a much tighter affair with Dan Skelton just edging his former boss and defending champion Paul Nicholls by £56,000. The Skelton yard is currently on £2,564,000, whilst Nicholls has earned £2,508,000 for his owners.

Irish supremo Willie Mullins is incredibly in

third with £1,915,000 thanks to his Group 1 successes at the Cheltenham Festival. A Mullins victory in the £1 million Randox Grand National on 13 April would make this title race very interesting.

In Ireland, Willie Mullins has wrapped up an 18th Irish NH Trainer’s title. Traditionally the National Hunt Season finishes on the final day of the Punchestown Festival in early May where the leading jockeys, trainers and owners are crowned champions.

Willie Mullins leads Gordon Elliott by €1.3 million with a little over 5 weeks to the end of season. 231 victories from 694 runners (a seasonal winner rate of 33%) is phenomenal

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Frankie Fever! Gosden stable’s #1 rider Frankie Dettori blows a kiss to fans at home| Credit: Chase Liebenberg

when one considers that in many races, he ran more than one horse.

The Irish ‘jumps’ jockey title looks a real battle between Jack Kennedy, currently on 115 wins and Paul Townend who has 108 victories this season.

Kennedy was well clear in the first half of the season but is being reeled in by the defending champ. Townend’s 108 wins have come from only 262 rides, mainly from his boss Willie Mullins, at a seasonal strike rate of 41%!

Staying on the jockey front, it looks like Kieran Shoemark is in line to be retained by Clarehaven stables.

Frankie Dettori’s decision to relocate to the States has seemingly presented Shoemark with a huge opportunity to be the Gosden stable’s number one rider.

The UK Jockey championship only starts in May, but Shoemark is carded to ride last season’s Coronation Cup heroine Emily Upjohn at Meydan on Saturday in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

Shoemark deputised for a suspended Dettori aboard Oaks winner Soul Sister in the Grand Prix de Paris and then picked up a prize spare ride on Gregory in the St Leger.

If Shoemark is indeed number one for the Gosdens, then it represents a remarkable rise for a rider whose highest position in the jockeys’ championship was 16th in 2021.

Arguably only the number one role for Godolphin is a bigger job for a jockey based in Britain so this is the chance of a lifetime.

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Massive Sovereign under Purton edges out Galaxy Patch and Ka Ying Generation | Credit: HKJC


Six-times Hong Kong Champion Jockey Zac Purton rode another beautifully judged race to get the former Aidan O’Brien-trained Massive Sovereign home in last Sunday’s HK$26 million BMW Hong Kong Derby in front of 60 976 thrilled spectators at Sha Tin.

South African racing fans love the fastpaced Hong Kong racing action, and having representation, both equine and human, in the city that never sleeps, gives us all some skin in the game.

Besides patriotic support for our former dual champion Lyle Hewitson, who registered a

superb double on Sunday, the faithful also follow Cape Town Met winning rider Luke Ferraris, and ‘Durban Demon’ Doug Whyte, as well as the inimitable Zac Purton, and ‘Mauritian Magician’ Karis Teetan.

All of the mentioned stars are firm favourites with the over 5000 players who again bid for

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Champion Jockey Zac Purton celebrates his second BMW Hong Kong Derby win | Credit: HKJC

glory in the exciting arena of the Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge on Sunday. The Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge is a free-toenter competition, and can be played on Hong Kong and Singapore fixtures, as well as on all of our local racemeetings.

Visit www.punters.hollywoodbets.net to find out more.

On Sunday, the 41-year-old Purton was winning his second Hong Kong Derby after Luger in 2015 and, interestingly, Massive Sovereign clocked the fastest time in modern Hong Kong Derby history - 1m 59,85s - since the race distance was changed to 2000m in 2000. He bettered champion Golden Sixty’s time of 2m 00.15s, set in 2020.

A son of No Nay Never, who coincidentally is also the sire of last Saturday’s Hollywoodbets Kenilworth winner The Abdicator, the Irish-bred Massive Sovereign won at Leopardstown for Aida O’Brien and is now unbeaten in two starts for trainer, Dennis Yip, who said that winning Sunday’s feature was ‘bigger than the championship’ for him!

Yip, who was champion trainer in Hong Kong in 2012/13, suggested a tilt at the Gr1 FWD QEII Cup next month for the former Irish stayer. Purton will no doubt have a few other choices, so it makes things interesting.

It’s fascinating to learn that Zac Purton actually sent Mr Yip the video of Massive Sovereign’s victory at Leopardstown and asked him for the ride.

Purton described securing the ride on Massive Sovereign - a No Nay Never gelding who won two of five starts for O’Brien - as the fruit of several ‘sliding doors’ moments.

“There are all those sliding doors moments in the season leading up to it. At one stage, I thought I was going to ride Ensued and the owner wanted Ryan (Moore), then I thought I would ride Helios (Express) and I was away when Hughy (Bowman) won on him and then I

watched him win the first two legs (of the FourYear-Old Classic Series),” Purton said.

“I didn’t really have a horse for the Derby until this bloke won so, like when I won on Luger, it was a late pick-up ride into the race. I feel extremely honored and privileged to have found such a horse to win it.

To win the race itself, it’s the most prestigious race in Hong Kong and I’ve had a frustrating run in this race and a frustrating season, so it’s nice to get another big one - and probably the biggest one among the local races overall.

“He’s shown us so far that he’s the ideal horse here in Hong Kong and he’s got such a good attitude. He just takes everything in his stride since he got here. I loved him in the mornings. But one can love a lot of horses in the morning, but they don’t turn up on race days - this guy has turned up on race day so far. I’m not sure how good he’s going to be, only time will tell but he’s done a good job so far,” he added.

Purton capped a treble on the day to take his win tally to 83 for the term – 27 ahead of Karis Teetan.

The Australian has amassed season stakes of HK$157 423 910. While it’s purely academic in the scheme of things, that equates to R378 million at current rates of exchange! Purton started his career in Brisbane and was an apprentice sensation, winning the championship there in 2003. He then moved on to Sydney where he was twice second in the championship.

He arrived in Hong Kong 17 years ago and boasts a famous Royal Ascot win for Hong Kong aboard the Danny Shum-trained Little Bridge in the 2012 King’s Stand Stakes Zac Purton ended our own Douglas Whyte’s 13-season dominance with his first Hong Kong jockeys’ championship in 2013/14 (112 wins) and in earning his second title in 2017/18 he halted Joao Moreira’s title streak at three. During his first championship season, the Australian ace raced to what was then the

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fastest 50 in Hong Kong history and became the second rider, after Whyte, to notch 100 wins in a season.

Purton lost his title when second to Moreira in 2014/15 with 95 wins, a position he filled for the next two terms, including when notching his second century in 2016/17.

His second championship was a remarkable effort as he chased down Moreira to take the lead for the first time that term on June 10, 2018. Five weeks later, at season’s end, he had outpointed Moreira 136-134.

He took a third consecutive championship in 2019/20 with 147 wins and three Group 1’s, and his triumph aboard Exultant in the 2020 QEII Cup saw him become the only rider in history to have won every Group 1 race on the Hong Kong calendar.

Purton’s championship winning streak was stopped at three in 2020/21 but he soon reclaimed the title in 2021/22. He took his fifth title after another enthralling battle with Moreira, enjoying huge success with 136 wins, including his third Stewards’ Cup triumph, this time aboard the John Size-trained Waikuku. He also sealed a third International Jockeys’ Championship title.

Purton closed out a highly successful 2022/23 season, completing the campaign with 179 wins and a sixth Hong Kong Champion Jockey crown.

He also reached 1600 career wins in Hong Kong as of July 2023.

Through the same term he set a new single season earnings record of HK$277,712,060 and posted a personal-best seven wins at a single Hong Kong meeting on 9 October 2022.

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Sent straight to the front from barrier 10 by jockey Derek Leung, Victor The Winner held the lead until approaching the final 200m when Mad Cool, ridden by Ryusei Sakai, took the lead and appeared destined for an easy win before Namura Clair charged late to cut the margin to a head.

Victor The Winner was beaten three lengths but earned HK$2.236 million for the performance. The overall winning time of 1m 08.90s was considered outstanding in the soft conditions.

Mad Cool and Victor The Winner could be set for a rematch in the HK$22 million Gr1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Sha Tin on 28 April along with Toshin Macau (6th), Lugal (10th), Matenro Orion (16th) and Champagne Color (17th) who also ran at Chukyo today.

Leung said: “It was a very good effort. He jumped so quick and he was a bit fresher than when he’s in Hong Kong, so when he got in front, he was a bit excited.

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Hong Kong sprinter Victor The Winner’s attempt to emulate Aerovelocity’s 2015 Gr1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) triumph has ended in a gallant third at rain-sodden Chukyo Racecourse in Japan on Sunday. Mad Cool wins the Takamatsunomiya Kinen | Credit: HKJC

“The track was soft, so it wasn’t 100 per cent perfect for him but he ran very well. When I asked him to go at the 350m, it was uphill, so he struggled a little bit and kept on one pace.

“I’m so proud of him, he’s still run a very good race.

“We always try and let him be positive and when he jumped, he felt very comfortable. I just let him be where he wanted to be, and he fought a little bit with me because it’s his first time here.

“I love Japan and I’m so glad I could ride here. Hopefully I can come back soon.

“It was a big challenge for him. It was his first time going left-handed and a bit uphill with a soft track.

“He won on a soft track at Sha Tin at the beginning of the season, but he was carrying 115 (pounds) – This time he was carrying 128 (pounds), so it was quite a bit different for him.

“He gave me a good turn of foot in the home straight but as we hit the uphill, he couldn’t kick anymore. I asked him to go but he couldn’t find any more speed. I have to thank the owners and trainer for letting me to come to Japan and I hope I can represent Hong Kong overseas again.”

Watching from Sha Tin, trainer Danny Shum said: “He has run a very good race. I’m so proud of him and I have to say thank you to my team – they have done a great job. Also, Derek Leung, has ridden a very good race.”


Tony Cruz is confident Hong Kong raider California Spangle can defy convention by reprising elite sprinting form and pressing for victory in the HK$11.7 million Gr1 Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday night.

To face 11 rivals, including John Size’s Sight Success, California Spangle will contest a 1200m race for the first time since 16 January, 2022, having had 18 starts since from 1400m to 2000m while racking up seven wins, including a last-start victory in the Gr1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) on 10 March.

Bidding for his third overseas Group 1 score after wins with Silent Witness in the 2005 Sprinters Stakes (1200m) at Nakayama and the 2006 Yasuda Kinen (1600m) with Bullish Luck at Tokyo, Cruz is confident California Spangle has the requisite attributes.

“I think the 1200 metres here (Meydan), you need a 1400-metre horse to do it. He could be the right horse to come here,” Cruz said. “On his debut in Hong Kong over 1000m, he won the Griffin race (on 13 June, 2021) and he broke the class record (clocking 55.33s) and when he raced over 1200m, he broke the Griffin record, too (clocking 1m 08.47s on 4 July, 2021).

“But then we went further with him and he did well. So, he’s a really good sprinter-miler, but I believe the 1200 metres here will suit him. “It’s every trainer’s dream to make something happen, not just in your home country but you’ve got to be winning elsewhere so I’m happy to be here – and I think I’ve got a shot this time.”

To be ridden by Brenton Avdulla, California Spangle will contend with an international brigade of proven sprinters, including last year’s winner Danyah, Charlie Appleby’s Star Of Mystery – who will be partnered by Frankie Dettori – US speedster Casa Creed, Diligent Harry, Frost At Dawn and Japan’s Jasper Krone, among others.

“Dubai is a big meeting – the world stage and you’ve got the best horses from all over the world,” Cruz said. “I’m so happy to be part of it and I’m very happy with California Spangle coming over here.

“I believe this horse is really a sprinter-miler. I believe he can run the 1200 metres, I believe he can do 1400 metres. He’s a 1200m-1400m horse really, the mile we’ve been lucky many times

27 MARCH 2024 | 111

results up to: 2024-03-27




27 MARCH 2024 | 113 .0
Name Other Places Place % Win Stake (R) Total Stakes (R) Runs Wins Win% 2nd 3rd Mr S J Snaith 705 78 11.1 81 82 125 288 40.9 9,263,944 14,074,763 Mrs C L Bass-Robinson 461 60 13.0 57 53 99 209 45.3 7,047,188 10,520,300 Mr M F de Kock 391 52 13.3 60 43 70 173 44.2 5,191,563 9,708,313 Mr S G Tarry 446 53 11.9 49 58 114 221 49.6 5,106,250 9,631,450 Mr B J Crawford 614 75 12.2 71 67 105 243 39.6 5,554,131 9,091,188
Name Other Places Place % Win Stake (R) Total Stakes (R) Runs Wins Win% 2nd 3rd Mr R D Fourie 1040 229 22.0 168 116 229 513 49.3 15,166,750 23,242,569 Mr M A Yeni 1003 133 13.3 146 118 227 491 49.0 11,056,875 16,441,000 Mr G J Lerena 556 104 18.7 97 87 104 288 51.8 8,334,563 12,400,213 Mr C J Habib 820 101 12.3 78 96 162 336 41.0 7,987,188 11,625,525 Mr C Zackey 881 88 10.0 114 95 190 399 45.3 8,042,813 13,021,156
Name Places B.T. Winrs B.T. Wins Total Stakes (R) Runrs Runs AEPR Wnrs Wins Drakenstein Stud (Nom: Mrs G A Rupert) 178 776 113,045 69 112 38.8 347 15 20 20,122,006 Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein 295 1458 68,179 123 181 41.7 608 11 14 20,112,663 Varsfontein Stud 152 748 79,452 59 79 38.8 309 9 10 12,076,731 Klawervlei Stud 230 1117 46,866 81 103 35.2 440 1 1 10,779,163 Maine Chance Farms (Pty) Ltd 140 630 60,820 56 77 40.0 238 4 4 8,514,863 Wnrs/ Rnrs% SIRES Name Places B.T. Winrs B.T. Wins Total Stakes (R) Runrs Runs AEPR Wnrs Wins Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) 210 952 81,041 79 109 37.6 406 7 11 17,018,525 Vercingetorix 182 808 74,297 83 117 45.6 350 4 4 13,522,025 Querari (GER) 169 830 61,920 69 92 40.8 360 7 8 10,464,438 Master Of My Fate 175 838 55,824 69 97 39.4 351 2 2 9,769,125 William Longsword 147 715 59,497 57 74 38.8 288 2 4 8,746,050 Wnrs/ Rnrs% See all the detailed standings - Click here
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