South Africa hosted the International Thoroughbred Breeders Federation Conference in Cape Town in January this year. I attended some of the presentations, many of them were very technical and veterinary specific. The entire program was filmed and I am sure that they won’t mind if anyone who is interested takes a look at what was said. I went to the stallion parade and dinner that Varsfontein hosted for delegates. Also very interested to see the demonstration of the new lip micro-chipping. I spent some time chatting to Kirsten Rausing. She was a director of the British Bloodstock Agency at the time when I was their representative in Africa. Kirsten is the new Chairman of the International Thoroughbred Breeders Federation and is also Honorary Chairman of The European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders Associations but is better known as owner of Lanwades Stud in Newmarket. It was said some years ago that Ms Rausing was, as then Chairman of the British Thoroughbred Breeders Association, anti the idea of new South African export protocols. I doubt that is the case. In fact, having heard from the delegates at the meeting and from chats I have had with others I am more encouraged now than I have been for many years that our industry looks to be on the verge of a solution to our export dilemma.
As 2016 closed, we ran full tilt into the glamour and excitement of the Cape’s January racing season. The 156th renewal of South Africa’s oldest and most prestigious WFA event, the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate was a triumph for racing and the sponsors. This year they turned it into a two day festival which went off extremely well and provided two days of fun, top-class racing. The tradition and spectacle of the event gets better and better every year. If there was any day on which SA would want to put on its best racing show, it was at this year’s renewal. Loads of international celebrities and the delegates to the conference that flew in earlier to enjoy a bit of racing before their long week of meetings could only have been suitably impressed. Markus and Ingrid Jooste’s Legal Eagle was an obvious, popular and worthy winner. It’s such a pleasure to see the public’s faith rewarded when the favourite wins courtesy of WFA terms. Definitely a fair result. Devoid of the mystery of handicapping and silly conditions in other Gr1 races where punters feel duped by rules they don’t understand and which make the best horses the most unlikely to win. Gold Circle should take note and do something about the Durban July. One day someone will make sense at the National Programming Committee and downgrade that race – all Gr1 races in SA should be WFA events. That’s the only way to build public confidence in our product.
Before I go into more detail about the season to-date I should remind everyone that it’s the CTS Premier Yearling Sale at the CTICC next week. Viewing starts on Tuesday and the sale starts at 5:30pm on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd. We will be able to inspect all 237 of the entries in the viewing time provided and we will once again put together a few of our popular (and highly successful) racing teams. If you’d like to participate please give me or Jono Snaith a call. The stallions we manage are all well represented, in fact they make up half of the catalogue. I covered the catalogue with Grant Knowles and Justin Vermaak for the Breeding To Win show which was broadcast on Tellytrack last Sunday – we had a lot of positive feedback about the show. If you missed it you can see it on YouTube:
The field for the R5m Gr1 Sun Met is now online. It’s going to be a very interesting race day on the 28th January. Be sure to book your ticket to Africa’s richest race day. R25m in stakes on offer with eleven feature races in a single racecard. It’s not only Africa’s richest, it’s one of the best meetings in the world: R5m Gr1 Sun Met, R1m each for the Gr1 Betting World Cape Flying Championship, Gr1 Investec Cape Derby and Gr1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes, two US$500,000 CTS races, R1m Kuda Sprint and two other features. At this rate we might even persuade the nation to follow the example of the Australians who celebrate the Melbourne Cup as a national holiday and make a proper party out of it.
Later in this edition I will also cover more of the season’s feature results including Dynasty’s LQP graded feature double, Gimmethegreenlight’s brace of winners this week, Captain Al’s UK winner and his superb Gr1 Cape Guineas winner, Trippi’s Cartier Sceptre Stakes heroine, What A Winter’s great start to his Freshman year, Twice Over’s surprise early start, update to season stats, the sad passing of Querari’s star filly and more.
In this edition:
- Breeding To Win - Captain Al, Dynasty & Gimmethegreenlight
- End of breeding season stallion update
- Captain Al’s Gr1 Cape Guineas winner – another Graded double and overseas news
- Dynasty double feature at LQP and another stakes win for Time To Dream
- Trippi filly – Cartier Sceptre Stakes
- Midweek double for Gimmethegreenlight
- What A Winner, the fast one, off to a quick start
- Dutch Phillip impressive win
- Querari loses his Falcon
- Twice Over makes an early start - filly qualifies for $500k CTS race
- Stats update - not just sires - breeders, trainers and jocks