A survey of racing success as a factor of how much money you spend was recently undertaken in Australia. While its outcomes were “Aussie” specific, it’s probably fair to say, they’re likely to have universal application wherever horse racing is conducted as a serious commercial pursuit. The answer, rest assured, is that the more money you spend, the more success you will have. The only problem is that the spending/success relationship is not a linear one.
When it comes to SA training legends names which spring to mind are Syd Laird, Terrance Millard and Mike de Kock. Close behind are Pat Shaw and Jean Heming. Sadly, Heming passed away in the UK last week at the age of 78.
Shaw, who won the 1995 Durban July with Teal and went on to become champion trainer in Singapore, is back in SA where his opinion on all racing matters will be closely followed.
Nobody worth his salt in the sport of racing needs an introduction to Pat Shaw – he’s as much a totem of the game in South Africa as Vincent O’ Brien was to Ireland and Bob Baffert to America. You don’t reach those heights as a racehorse trainer without a gifted eye, an abiding intuition and dare we say it, a smattering of courage and “chutzpah”. While some of those legends might’ve chosen to be excluded from the latter category, there’s no escaping it for Mr Shaw.
It seemed so typical of the strange fortunes governing our sport that we should have been made to wait so long for a Triple Crown winner, only for another one to turn up three years later in the very same barn. On the face of it, that coincidence will now be compounded as Justify (Scat Daddy) joins American Pharoah (Pioneer of the Nile) at Ashford for his own attempt to parlay historic capacities, on the track, into an equivalent impact on the breed.
Usurping the Ballydoyle battalion for favouritism in Sunday’s G1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh, Quorto (IRE) showed his mettle to emulate his sire Dubawi's 2004 success and register a career high in battling fashion.