Lionel CohenLionel CohenFollowing hard in the footsteps of Sun Classique’s amazing victories in Dubai, we’ve just heard the news that Lionel Cohen, a third generation breeder of considerable esteem, has sold the old family farms in the Koue Bokkeveld.

Although Lionel has leased back for two years the ground in the vicinity of the stud itself, this transaction marks the end of a long and distinguished era in the breeding of top quality racehorses by the Cohen family. His grandfather, Loskie, founded the now-famous Odessa Stud, one of only six farms in all the recorded history of breeding in South Africa to aspire to the National Breeders’ Championship. Father Colin stepped into Loskie’s ample shoes, and carried the torch with distinction until Lionel came along.

It was Lionel that took the farm to its first championship, and in our view, he’s not only an icon among horsemen in this country, but he stands tall among the best in the world. He’s instinctively talented, and has always bred his horses to be athletes first, and to aspire to the fashion of pedigree second, and his results are a beacon for those who believe in the adage, that unless you’re breeding an athlete and since this game is about running, not fashion, you’ll be lost in the wilderness.

A visit to Odessa Stud quickly reveals Lionel’s intimacy with the place, his knowledge and understanding of the environment in which he operates, and the sharpness of his strategic mind. His is a talent that stands out in any sphere of equine discipline, and it was interesting to hear him disclose that he could well turn his God-given attributes to training horses. He leaves no doubt in our minds, that should he follow this course, he will reach the pinnacle of his profession, and given a bit of luck, it won’t take him too long.

Meanwhile though, we can console ourselves with the fact for at least two years, Odessa Stud will go on in its new form. The Koue Bokkeveld is a region of its own, different entirely to anywhere else in South Africa. Lionel has mastered all that it has to offer, and in the achievements of its horses, there has been a pronouncement for all the world to see, of the value of what a horseman can achieve if he’s in tune with the world around him.

Lionel has been a ground-breaker all his life, and in developing Equimark Sales, he not only broke with tradition, but threw the thoroughbred marketing environment into considerable turmoil. What it did do though, for South Africa, was to introduce an element of stiff competition in the market place, and we’re all the better off today for yet another Cohen innovation.

Posted by Mick Goss