The South African Jockeys and Equestrian Academy holds its annual speech day tomorrow. Patrick Salvage, who has presided as headmaster for many years over the production of some of the world’s greatest jockeys, has invited Mick Goss to deliver the annual speech, and we guess we can look forward to a topic that embraces the history and traditions of our sport, the value of relationships, the building of reputations (and the little time it takes to destroy them), opportunities, and the great traditions which this remarkable school has developed in the production of champion horsemen.
It’s a little known fact, but a wide cause for celebration, that apart from producing champion jockeys of the United Kingdom and Ireland, the South African Jockeys Academy is peerless in world terms in the production of champion jockeys in other realms. For example, the Hong Kong Jockeys title, arguably the most sought-after international title in the world, has been in South African hands for 17 of the past 19 years, while we’ve seen South Africans garner championships in diverse places such as Singapore, Macau etc as well.
Summerhill’s association with the Academy goes back a long way, to the days when Mick Goss was Chairman of the Natal Owners and Breeders Association (yes, even before we became KZN, which means before 1994). In those days he served as an adviser to the school committee, and since then, Summerhill has been an occasional benefactor, through the farm and our stallion principals, of as many as 6 annual school bursaries, aimed mainly at the previously disadvantaged communities.
It’s the least Summerhill can contribute to this great institution to be present at their speech day, and to deliver the keynote address. Indeed it’s our great honour.