If you’re in the sales business, the one thing you need to convince customers to come back is a big horse first time around. There are few people in the sport of horseracing these days who don’t know Brian Burnard, better known as “Buffalo Bill”, who was christened that way after his buying debut at the inaugural Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run at Summerhill. There was no mucking about that day for “Buff” though, green as he was when he took on the lofty likes of Alesh Naidoo and the late, intrepid Glanville Gardner for the right to own a burly chestnut son of Kahal out of the East Cape Horse of the Year, Coastal Waltz. 

To explain the background, Glanville Gardner was the former owner of Coastal Waltz and he wanted a horse good enough to turn up at Greyville on the first Saturday in July. Alesh Naidoo’s interest had been sparked by glowing reports of the colt’s work on the Summerhill gallops, and none of this daring trio was willing to give quarter. That notwithstanding, this was just a “farm” sale, the first of its kind in the land and one aimed at finding homes for whatever was left on the property at the end of the sales season. Of course, we’ve since learnt that there are two kinds of “leftovers”, particularly on a property that’s earned itself ten championships and a reputation for keeping some of its best advertisements for last, but this was a baptism for the event, and buyers at best were plunging into the great unknown.

The plot thickens, with Alesh Naidoo concealing himself on a couch in the venue’s foyer, Buffalo Bill as large as life at a ringside table, and Alec Laird positioned alongside the rostrum with instructions from a man he’d never met to buy the horse whatever the cost. In their wildest dreams though, nobody expected the big chestnut to set a record that stands to this day, and since this was an initiation of the relationship between the trainer and Mr Gardiner”, the former conditioner of London News was spotted fumbling for his phone in an attempt to get hold of his client as the bidding raced past the R300,000 mark. At R420k, Mr Gardiner emerged from his boardroom meeting in Johannesburg, and promptly gave best to Buffalo’s final bid of R440,000, when the gavel fell. He needn’t have worried: as they say in Oz, “No Worries mate”, and that’s just about the size of the colt’s story.

Vercingetorix and No Worries in the Daily News 2000 (Grade 1)

For the record, No Worries cobbled together more than R3million in stakes during an illustrious career defined not only by some massive victories in the best of company, but especially by his bob-of-a-head defeat by Vercingetorix in the Daily News 2000 (Gr.1); the latter who would wind up rated among the top 50 racehorses in the world.

No Worries arrived home at the place of his birth yesterday to take up his place as a “babysitter” at Summerhill alongside fellow millionaires, Hear The Drums and Amphitheatre. He’s in the shape of his life, complete with the offset knees that left him out of the conventional sales a horse of his class would otherwise have been consigned to. Long live the new king!