Eugene Freeman and Family
Eugene Freeman and Family

“This morning Eugene smsd us a photo of the family celebration:

now that’s a satisfied customer!”

The world is never predictable when Braam “Tekkie Town” van Huysteen is in the neighbourhood. His business would not be what it is if he wasn’t a maverick, his life would not be as it is, if he wasn’t an adventurer, and his luck would be different if he didn’t try it. Last Saturday at Turffontein was no different, when he called on his nine guests in the Aquanaut Room to participate in a R5 000-odd Pick Six.

“Incredible”, “incredulous”, “miraculous” or words of that ilk, are designed to describe the extraordinary, but none of these adjectives seems appropriate in bringing understanding to anything Braam has to do with. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” they say, but with Van Huysteen you know there’ll always be some venturing. Take a look at Tekkie Town: not bad for a boy from De Aar, who’s also been crowned ‘Cape Businessman of the Year’ in his time.

Here was a race meeting where some of the favourites got over the line, but when they didn’t, the winners included a brace of “stinkers”, and this is where the man’s gregarious nature went to work. He bumped into a trainer in the car park, he got chatting to a stranger in the lift, and he took their advice at face value. He’d obviously not done his homework on the form, because there wasn’t much to recommend it (just look at the payout). He simply operated on the hunches that have been the bedrock of the biggest shoe empire in Africa: he just happens to trust people.

In the event, the table took home R1.6million-odd for their troubles, so you could say that come the restart of last Sunday’s sale, they had a bit of “spare” in the pockets. There are always consequences for dealing with Braam Van Huysteen, one of which is no “free lunches”, and you need to be a sport to play with him. He commanded his troops to the last, to dip in on Shingle Beach, a Mullins Bay colt out of the imported mare Etoile Royale, who sold for the “unprincely” sum of R70,000. Among the troops were several astute horseman, Cheveley Stud’s Vaughan Koster, Boland Stud’s Eugene Freeman, and ex-Summerhill Sales Manager, Kerry Jack, and on the “general’s” command, they became instant investors in a racing career. This morning Eugene smsd us a photo of the family celebration: now that’s a satisfied customer! Amazing how happy a Summerhill-bred can make you!

Editor’s note: Summerhill’s association with the Freeman family goes back several decades, to the conception date of what would become one of history’s greatest sprinters. Long before he achieved his immortality, Eugene’s dad, Dr. Frank Freeman, booked a service to our resident sire, Northern Guest, for his Mexico II mare, Mexican Charm. The result was the great Senor Santa, who continues to reside at Summerhill in excellent spirits at the ripe old age of 28.

It’s a tribute to the ecumenical nature of the turf that such enduring relationships can grow out of the purveying of fine sperm among competitors, but it says something for the good Doctor as a man and to the “Senor” as a horse, that this friendship is as strong today as it was when the Senor was the idol of a doting racing public.

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

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