graham beck
graham beck

J&B MET 2010


For a man who had little in the way of a “horsey” background, Graham Beck has had a remarkable association with great horses. He was telling me on Saturday that he kicked off with a R42 000 buy in Big Swinger (a multiple Graded Stakes winner), but it’s mainly for his stallions that this el padrino of our game will always be remembered. Persian Wonder, Elevation, Harry Hotspur, Jungle Cove, Lords, Badgerland, National AssemblyandJalladrush to the mind in local parlance alone, and while these include several South African Champion sires, we mustn’t forget, this is a man who’s been associated with some of the greatest stallions in history.

His acquisition of the famed Gainesway Farm in the United States from the founding father of the Breeders Cup, John Gaines, included at the time some of racing’s greatest names, Blushing Groom, Vaguely Noble, Riverman, andLyphard and through modern day associations, extends to Unbridledand the current “big hiters”, Tapitand Birdstone.

It must be ten years or more since we saw Graham’s son Antony at the races in South Africa. Now the master of Gainesway himself, his respect extends throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and he sits on both the Breeders Cup and Keeneland Association boards. As the owner of one of the most beautiful stud properties in the world, it was reassuring from a Summerhill perspective to have Antony remind us again, that most of what he knows, he learnt from Summerhill, and that this farm, for its systems and practices, could hold its own with the best in America. Pity he doesn’t come home more often.