We lost a warrior last night. When Cheryl and I arrived at Hartford 25 years ago, we inherited some good people from the Ellis family; one man though, stood out as someone we could really count on, come hell or high water. Zap Molefe had devoted all of his working life to the Ellis cause, and he gave the rest of it to Summerhill. To his last breath, he was a man we could count on. And so were his family.
Zap Molefe's grandfather "did" Mowgli, Magic Mirror and Cape Heath; Zap himself did Sentinel. His grandchildren will one day "do" the next generation of Nhlavinis, Rebel Kings, Pick Sixes, Pierre Jourdans and Blueridge Mountains. In his four decades on the farm, Zap Molefe may not always have passed a breathalyser test, but his handling of Sentinel was never impaired. "I was young and brave in those days" he says in the conspiratorial rush he maintained till yesterday. I spoke to him a few hours before destiny came to claim him; he knew his time was nigh, but to the last, he was the man I'd known since the day we arrived at Hartford. From then till yesterday, he was my fellow worker, my confidant and I'm proud to say, my friend.
Zap Molefe had a hell of a heart. Poverty, ill-mannered horses, authority, none of these could grind him down or dull his spirit. He didn't whine when he was part of racing's army of losers, he didn't boast when Sentinel made him famous, and Mooi River hostesses wanted to buy him drinks. And by the way, his C.V. included "cocktails" with His Majesty. Best not look for his replacement. There isn't one. Which goes for a whole heap of this team. Outside of an awards evening, you won't find a better bunch anywhere.