(Image : The Write Sisters)
“Service, Courtesy and Generosity”
Summerhill CEOMost times, headings like this in these columns have to do with a great race filly or a venerable old broodmare, but this one isn’t. It’s about a lady who was there when I was a trustee of the Racecourse Development Fund in the mid 1980s, she was there when the elders of racing approved my submission for the establishment of a breeders’ premium fund, she was there for its implementation and she was there for its administration, and for the past twenty-six years, Toni Dolstra has been there for the pay-outs to breeders.
A handsome, intelligent, engaging lady, Toni Dolstra witnessed the rise of KwaZulu-Natal as the destination of choice among breeding’s investors in the 90s; she saw the emergence of Northern Guest, Foveros, Secret Prospector and Rakeen among the elite sires of the country; she was there when Jet Master was born and saw him reach for the top of the mountain, and she was still there to see KwaZulu-Natal’s three race clubs merge into Gold Circle, under the urging of our former Finance Minister, Peter Miller.
Toni Dolstra’s life has been one of service, of courtesy and generosity, and it’s fair to say there’s not a breeder in this fair land of ours who’s not known the kind touch of her hand which, I’m told, is deft at bridge. Toni’s retirement as the chief administrator of breeder’s affairs in the province marks the end of an era: it also signals the beginning of a new one, which we all should face with the faith and confidence that marked the closing decades of the last century. The foundations are good, and the history is eminently repeatable. As Toni goes, we will bid her well, as we do her successor, Candiese Marnewick. She has different boots to fill, in a new and complex world, but she has different tools at her disposal, and everything is possible.