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(Image : Summerhill Stud - Footage : Tellytrack)
HEAR THE DRUMS : LEGS OF STEEL AND HEART OF IRON
One horse who’s really caught the imagination in recent weeks (besides Pierre Jourdan) is our friend Hear The Drums. News of his exploits is being reported as far afield as Czechoslovakia (www.paddock-revue.cz) as well as in Britain’s most celebrated daily, Racing Post (www.racingpost.com). Scarcely a day goes by that some scribe somewhere isn’t talking about his charge for the title of winning-most racehorse in South African history. As matters stand, he’s the joint record holder with a warrior who lived by the name of Screech Owl back in the fifties, and if anything, we’d want the record to rest in the hands of a horse who was at least well named!
Trainer Des McLachlan has just confirmed that his assault on the title will take place on the 23rd April at Arlington, scene of so many of his victories to date. The seven-year-old gelding is just 15.2 hh in height, but when he gets to the racecourse, he’s a veritable colossus who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “give up”. His legs are of steel, his heart is of iron.
The same weekend, the new darling of South African racing Pierre Jourdan, will be the first horse since Horse Chestnut with a crack at the Triple Crown, when the son of Parade Leader lines up for the R1million South African Derby (Gr1). The manner of his authority at the races has captured the minds of a public who love nothing like a champion.
Both these horses, a son of Parade Leader and Hear The Drums, have a sort of military ring to them. The great soldiers who bestrode our hills in the late 1800’s, Generals Botha, Joubert, Buller and Penn-Symons, were masters of the tactical trade of cavalry engagement. While what they did and what we do these days, may seem to be poles apart, the one thing these generals appreciated, was that in battle, the value of good breeding and a decent upbringing was inestimable. Both these fellows, Hear The Drums and Pierre Jourdan know where they come from. We see it every time they go to the races.
Both have widely different aspirations of course, there are two distinct messages flowing from each of them. In Pierre Jourdan, we have a racehorse who has the ability to ensure that the Empire of Racing can still strike back, while the seven-year-old gelding is proof positive that, like an old cavalry horse, you can still hear the bugles.