Savouring the little victories!

Savouring the little victories!

Our heartiest Congratulations to all the winning connections in Mauritius. Most of us go through life thinking that we need to achieve certain goals to feel successful and be happy, or we strive so hard for the big moments that we often miss the little ones and fail to appreciate and celebrate them. As we say so often, the journey with horses is a special and thrilling one but is filled with ups and downs and while the big victories are incredible, the low points can be demoralizing and heart-breaking. However, along the way, we also get presented with smaller victories that we should never over-look. The fact remains that horses are animals first and athletes on top of that, so set-backs do occur and learning to roll with the punches and accepting that there are things that happen beyond our control makes owning horses a little simpler. Passionate people are not always pragmatic but it sure makes life a little easier. Saying that, the thrill of owning and breeding racehorses brings many moments worth savouring: Your first runner, your first winner, your first stakes winner and if you breed as well; the birth of your first foal, the sale of that foal, seeing them take to the track for the first time. All the while one feels like a parent watching a child grow up. So, imagine our thrill when our first foal won in Mauritius last weekend. Out of a well-related mare who we found by chance, the whole journey has been exciting, sometimes nerve-wracking and uncertain but a great journey regardless. To top it off, there...
Celebrating the passion of the past season.

Celebrating the passion of the past season.

With just over three days to go to the official end of the 2015/2016 racing season, we can certainly say that it’s been an interesting season, and for many of us filled with the various ups and downs that racing often dishes up. On the ups, Sean Tarry looks set to be Champion trainer again, as there is not enough time nor enough stake money to enable Justin Snaith to catch up the R9 Million + difference between them. Sean had the most runners of all trainers this season and it also allowed him to reach a milestone record of over 200 winners in one season. Stable elect jockey S’ Manga Khumalo is also in the lead to become champion again with 239 wins to date from 1325+ rides. Only Muzi Yeni comes close to this number of rides during the season, so they have both been very busy racking up air-miles, flitting between tracks to their races. On a quick average calculation, if they were to race 365 days a year, it equates to nearly 3 or 4 races a day, every day of the year, so there’s no disputing how fit they are. Klawervlei Stud Farm and Summerhill Stud have been neck and neck in the Breeder’s Championship. Of course the Elan sponsored Gold Cup (Super Saturday which is now on Sunday due to all the heavy rain in Durban) is still to be run with four Grade two races and two Grade ones offering quite a bit of stakes money to the winners, but in relative terms it is unlikely to make much of a difference to...
Are horse racing fans born or made?

Are horse racing fans born or made?

In an industry that is, internationally, so often touted as cliquey, old fashioned and losing fans and market share with every passing year, the question as to how to entice new fans to horse racing has led to much debate and various marketing efforts with varying results. Apart from the keen followers from the gambling aspect, the balance of horse racing fans and owners are either involved in it for the status or are avid horse lovers. Seemingly, these traits are often completely separate and you’re either one or the other but seldom both. At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I will say this again and probably repeat myself again; we must never forget that at the heart of Horse Racing is — THE HORSE. For those of us born with the addictive equine gene, it is obvious really; the sheer beauty and magnificence of these supreme athletes never fails to thrill and being in their presence and experiencing each different personality, is always a special interaction. BUT, if you are not born with that faulty gene and have never had the privilege of spending time with and getting to know horses, that understanding of their special presence is hard to fathom and/or appreciate. Take any sport or hobby really, the less you know and understand about it, the less interested you are in it, as it is very difficult to enjoy something that you don’t have a feeling for or understand. Horse racing, is by its very nature quite complex for an outsider and too often people are intimidated by the complexity and seeming lack of information. If...
Points to ponder before you tell your wife you’re buying her a racehorse.

Points to ponder before you tell your wife you’re buying her a racehorse.

So you want to own the next Triple Crown or Durban July winner? It’s certainly not impossible but is very difficult to achieve and requires a certain level of understanding of the “nature of the beast” that is horseracing, and sometimes a lot of patience. While the ownership experience is exciting and an unsurpassed thrill, one should consider it a lifestyle experience rather than a financial investment. In other words, don’t expect to make money but rather consider it an entertainment expense and hobby. Going into ownership with this mind set will ensure that you are not disappointed. However, one can get very lucky and own a horse that does prove to be hugely successful and the winner of stakes races, giving you an experience of lifetime with a financial return!   Your level of involvement in the racing lifestyle We all tend to enjoy sports more if we have a vested interest and an emotional attachment. Owning your own racehorse allows you to be a participant rather than just a spectator. Depending on your chosen level of involvement and what you want out of the ownership experience you can decide to own a horse individually, in partnership with a few others or in a syndicate or managed group. Consider what you are comfortable spending as your initial outlay and for your recurring monthly training fees, bearing in mind that most horses will be in training for two to three years. Sharing a horse with other partners via a managed group or syndicate spreads the cost while you share all the fun. One should always bear in mind that...
Tales from Kentucky – of Derby hats, mint juleps and horse heroes.

Tales from Kentucky – of Derby hats, mint juleps and horse heroes.

What an absolute privilege to have been fortunate enough to be invited to the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks this past weekend. Arriving in Louisville, from Nashville last Thursday evening, we met up with the rest of our travelling group (now since known as the A team), including some from Ireland and the UK, which proved an eclectic and entertaining mix for the duration. An Irish running commentary on all things, and the general hilarity were enough to keep everyone else wondering exactly when we had started on the mint juleps. If you’re uninitiated, the mint Julep is the iconic drink of the Kentucky Derby, made by muddling mint, a mint syrup and a hefty dose of Bourbon over crushed ice. It takes a little while to appreciate the unique taste but by the third one, they start to taste pretty moreish! To try your own: Crush or muddle a few mint leaves in the bottom of an 8-ounce Mint Julep Cup (using the back of a spoon to crush mint leaves) until mixture forms a paste. Then fill the Mint Julep Cup 1/2 full with crushed or shaved ice. Add prepared Mint Syrup, water, and bourbon. Stir until the silver cup is frosted on the outside. For three day’s in a row, we were treated to the best of Kentucky hospitality starting each morning with a brunch, every day being hosted at a different more gracious and beautiful home than the previous one. The Oaks morning invitation was for Mimosas and Mint Juleps at 10.30 and our hosts had invited an intimate gathering of 750...