With the pace at which the European bloodstock community entered the home stretch of its gruelling autumn-winter cycle still full of running, we were starkly reminded of the contrasting fortunes of those who transact across open borders and the shackles with which local horsemen have had to contend for decades in getting our bloodstock between provinces, let alone across borders.
On the eve of the departure of the South African delegation for Hong Kong where they will be negotiating the normalisation of South Africa’s export protocols, the prospect of trade with China raises its enticing head. It’s well documented that Mick Goss presented South Africa’s political and commercial case for this process at the Asian Racing Conference in Mumbai earlier this year, and the delegation now representing our cause is taking the scientific argument to the international race meeting in Hong Kong next week. We all know this could be a game-changer for the South African racing and breeding industry, so that its significance cannot be underestimated. The relevance of this development was highlighted by Paul Haigh in an article in the Daily Telegraph.
One can't exactly compare it to Paul Pogba's transfer to Manchester United for 105 million euros, but racing had its own big deal this year when Lammerskraal bought the stallion, Visionaire, from Summerhill Stud.
The gallops are behind us and phase 1 is complete. In the yard as we write is the doyen of Highveld trainers, Ormond Ferraris, hot-as-hell Gary and Dean Alexander and champion trainer Sean Tarry. If ever a measure of the quality of the horses was needed, I guess these three gents say it all.
Joburg residents are used to traffic jams, but we could get a horse jam in Midrand this week with 235 two-year-olds in town for the last big sale of the year - the Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run scheduled for Thursday and Friday evenings.
Ahead of his biggest sale of the year - the Emperors Palace Joburg Ready-To-Run which is scheduled for Thursday and Friday of this week - champion breeder, Mick Goss, can be relied on to provide an enticing quote.
The racing fraternity is a community all of its own, yet within that world there is another called the “insiders”. These are the guys that live and work in a world “normal” people don’t know, whose day kicks off long before normal people rise, who speak a language of their own and have an affinity for racehorses which is often greater than their affection for their fellow man.
As our Ready To Run candidates parade before the judges at Monday’s gallops in Randjesfontein, the Hartford House team faces a similar fate on Sunday (20th) when the nation gets to know the names of the top ten restaurants in the country. It’s one thing standing out in a foal crop of 3500, it’s another entirely when you’re one of more than 80 000 restaurants in South Africa in the glare of millions of “wannabee” food fanciers.
That is the question. Just yesterday, one of our pre-Training managers and certainly the most experienced of our jockeys, John Motaung, proclaimed this the best Ready To Run string he’s known. He should know; over the years he’s ridden in the States, the UK and here, he’s seen plenty of champions, July, Met and Summer Cup winners, and any number of millionaires pass through the Summerhill “breeze- up” programme, and he sat on the likes of Igugu, Pierre Jourdan, Smanjemanje, Imbongi, Rabada and Africa Rising.