barry irwin (michael nefdt)Barry Irwin - Team Valor International
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

The American magazine, Blood Horse, is as time-honoured a bloodstock publication as any in the world. To have yourself featured in it has parallels elsewhere only in a dedicated article in Time Magazine. Just recently, the Blood Horse paid tribute to a man who heads up one of the world’s best-known thoroughbred investors, Team Valor International.

Of special significance to South Africa, is Barry Irwin’s well-known dedication to our cause, and we quote from the article: “Irwin added the word “International” to Team Valor’s name, saying the change was made to reflect the venture’s increasing involvement in racing abroad, especially in South Africa. They breed a tremendous animal in South Africa, and they also have the land to raise a horse right,” Irwin said. “By and large, the people who market the yearlings don’t fiddle with their legs, and they don’t give them steroids. If you can go back to about 1950 in Kentucky, that’s what it’s like. We’ve got about 30 horses there, and I consider them to be like a farm team. If they’re good enough, we bring them here or send them to Europe.”

That was a recent statement. Barry Irwin is previously on record as saying “the world hasn’t cottoned onto South African bloodstock yet, despite your great performances in Dubai”. You don’t get much credit from Irwin unless you deserve it, and this is serious praise, coming from a man whom the Blood Horse describes as “one of racing’s biggest winners, and one of its biggest critics”.

At a time when customers are a little like rocking horse droppings, Barry Irwin is a stand-out Premier League commodity.

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