Gitano Fernando
Gitano Fernando

Gitano Hernando

(Team Valor International)

“An excellent example of what one rich man

will pay to beat another one.”

The Dubai World Cup on Saturday is the richest day in racing. All told, just short of $30 million (at yesterday’s exchange rate, more than R200 million) will be dispensed to the lucky connections of the days participants. The big race itself is worth $10 million (just about double its nearest pursuer in global money terms,) and that amount to just short of R70 million, which would buy you 14 good sized, up-and-running farms with implements and even some stock, in our district.

If you could scoop just the first prize in the World Cup itself, (more than R40 million) you could instantly become the biggest farmer in our district, and that illustrates what it is to own a good horse.

When you think we live on some of the finest and most productive agricultural land on the planet, that we have one of the most reliable climates, and that our way of life is incomparable, winning the World Cup or any one of its subsidiary races, is something every horseman dreams of. And considering how little is needed to get there (Lizard’s Desire, beaten a whisker last year and the beneficiary of more than R20 million in prize money for that effort alone, cost R40,000) and Bold Silvano (the morning line favourite for the event until his scratching on Sunday, cost a tad over R200,000), you begin to get an idea of the value South African thoroughbreds represent in the international market.

Another illustration of value, is the sale yesterday by Summerhill client, Team Valor, of their American Group One winner, Gitano Hernando, to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov for a figure said to be of the order of $4 million (almost R30 million). If the betting is anything to go by, he’s no Bold Silvano, but it’s an excellent example of what one very rich man will pay to beat another one.