hear the drums south african horseracing record
hear the drums south african horseracing record

Hear The Drums

(Photo : Wally Strydom)



Friday 23rd July 2010. The day HEAR THE DRUMS went where no other horse has ever been before. At 1:15pm yesterday, champion jockey Anton Marcus jumped out of stall number 7 at Port Elizabeth’s Arlington racecourse. Before the clock struck 1:16, South Africa’s winning-most racehorse of all time, scooted home under a burdensome 62kgs for his 33rd career victory. In the process he eclipsed the sixty five year old record of Screech Owl, having previously passed the 30 victories of the great Hartford warrior, Sentinel, who was out on his own among racehorses of the past 4 decades.

HEAR THE DRUMS’ R2million in earnings, makes a mockery of his R42,000 Ready To Run price tag, but that in itself is a tale of its own. Passed over by most judges prior to his entry into the sales ring on account of his faulty foreleg engineering, HEAR THE DRUMS would have failed the scrutiny of his owner Peter Fabricius as well, had he not bought him over the telephone.

In the end, it takes a horse of steel will and sound limb to win 33 times, and HEAR THE DRUMS is the greatest advertisement for the fact that there’s more to champions than just legs.

His story reminds us again of the fascination of our sport. Here is a horse that was given the best of upbringings, and a career modelled by a sympathetic owner and fashioned by an astute trainer. But there is another thing to this horse that we often neglect in a champion. They often win when they shouldn’t, and there’s no substitute for sheer grit.