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.

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?

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.

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.

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...

Of fools and horses, crowns and heroes

Not that I usually consider myself a fool on a normal day, it just sometimes feels that way when faced with horses and especially those standouts that carry their presence at all times. Watching most horses is special, whether it be searching for the next champion, as at the past two yearling sales, watching foals and stallions on the farms, or seeing them perform at the racetrack. Watching great race-horses is an emotional experience just by the sheer magnificence of their athleticism and the heart with which they compete. This past Saturday showed us just such a horse, as Abashiri won the R2 Million SA Derby, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown to become only the third South African Triple Crown winner. He was so nearly beaten at the post but gave his all and put his head down when it mattered most. To take nothing away from the runner-up Rocketball, who so very nearly caused an upset and fought as hard, it is that fighting spirit, heart and attitude that make a great horse. The Mike Azzie yard say that Abashiri is a dream to work with, unfussed and uncomplicated and just gets on with his work, allowing that easy action and magical stride to carry him over the line first. Abashiri (Go Deputy x Donya) wins the Grade 1 SA Derby to win the South African Triple Crown. Photograph courtesy and copyright of Candiese Marnewick. The three-year old Abashiri was bred at Lammerskraal Stud by the US-bred Go Deputy whose dam sire was Secretariat – himself one of the most famous Triple Crown winners....

That Winning Feeling – Horse Racing in South Africa

Feel the Magic! 2015 has been nothing short of a whirlwind so far but when it comes to horses and horseracing it never feels like work. That is the beauty of what we do and we love every minute; sharing our passion with so many! January passed by in a blur with the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and J & B Met feature races in Cape Town and the Cape Thoroughbred Sales Premier Yearling Sale, at which we were thrilled to buy a very nice colt by Seventh Rock out of Tirza (Silvano) for our syndicate owners. The end of February is already looming with the TBA Val de Vie Sale happening on Sunday, the 22nd and the start of the Triple Crown in Johannesburg the following Saturday. We’re hosting a group for the day in a “Gatsby at the Races” themed event, which will provide much fun and laughter and a host of photographs no doubt. The best Imagine Gatsby pic will be selected for a special award. Our very big thrill this month has been hosting our German owners, and now friends, Ana and Jens Jacobi from Stuttgart. Avid horse lovers and racing fans, they bought into their first Imagine Horse in 2013. The A.P Arrow colt has already had one win and a place from 5 starts and since gelding we look forward to a great 3 -4 year old season with him. The Jacobi’s have since bought into two other horses still to race, as well as the recent acquisition Tirzan. They have had a month’s stay in South Africa, splitting their time between Zimbali, (with a brief weekend in Mooi-River) and...

New owners meet their first filly

New Imagine Racing owner Mr Davey Mabotja joined us at trainer Joe Soma’s racing yard to meet his new filly. Davey has bought the majority share in the Imagine syndicate filly Fallen Leaf (Rebel King x Legendary Hero). As a first-time owner Davey was excited to choose his colours and he was thrilled to receive the replica of a jockey made by Jockey’s Up. Fallen Leaf took the celebrations in her stride and we look forward to her debut on the track later this year. Mr Davey Mabotja’s new colour...

The 2014 International Jockeys Challenge

They’re back! In what is fast becoming a highlight on the South African Racing calendar, the International Jockeys Challenge takes place again on Saturday and Sunday the 15th and 16th of November. The International jockeys flew in earlier this week to spend some down time at Sun City before the weekend’s activity. Most love a game of golf, so will be enjoying the course and all the facilities, as can only be experienced at South Africa’s iconic destination. Saturday the 15th will see the competition across four races at Turffontein, with the action moving to Kenilworth in Cape Town on Sunday the 16th. The jockeys are awarded points for their placing in each of the specified “International” races and it makes for exciting competition between our SA Team and the visitors. The first international race on Saturday will be Race 5, off at 2.35pm and then Races 6, 9 and 10. The Grade 2 Victory Moon Stakes will be run at 16.15 with local trainer St John Gray having booked Adam Kirby and Jams Doyle to ride Glorious Jet and Everest respectively. Sunday’s International action kicks off in Race 4 at Kenliworth, off at 14:50 and then Race 5, 8 and 9 concluding the competition races. The Grade 2 Cape Merchants is the feature of that day at 16:35 and English jockey James Doyle has again been commissioned, this time by Joey Ramsden to ride Happy Forever. The International Jockey’s Challenge is a great opportunity for the South African jockeys and public to ride against and see international jockeys in action. We look forward to seeing you all there!...

Petrichor for Joe Soma and Imagine Racing

“Petrichor, a graduate of Summerhill’s 2013 Ready To Run Programme, scored by 3.5 lengths for Imagine Racing.” Ready for the ride of your life? We don’t know about you but it is starting to feel like holiday season already – busy, social, and the exciting prospect of special gifts. We are not talking about gifts in the more traditional sense but rather those that come packaged as four long legs above hooves, a heart bred for courage, and an athletic frame born to run – the horse! With not one but two Ready to Run sales in the offing, and the imminent arrival of the drafts at the two venues in the City of Gold, this next week heralds the start of much excitement. The first sale kicks off on Friday at the recently re-built Inanda Club in Sandton and although this is a polo venue in the middle of the business district, this will be the first time that it is host to a Ready to Run Thoroughbred Sale. With over 140 lots on offer from 4pm on Friday the 31st of October, it is sure to be a milestone event and no doubt the great hospitality offered by CTS and Inanda will keep the fun bunch there until way past the last lot has been sold. Saturday the 1st of November sees the running of the Emperors Palace Ready to Run Cup, associated with the Germiston sale last year and the ever-popular Charity Mile, at Turffontein. With the Ready to Run log hotting up, it still remains to be seen who will make the final field for...

• Imagine Racing Welcomes First Ladies To Race Horse Owners Group Winning Women.

IMAGINE RACING WELCOMES FIRST LADIES TO RACE HORSE OWNERS GROUP WINNING WOMEN. Imagine Racing welcomed its first official all-women share owners group with a Champagne celebration, at Turffontein Racecourse on Sunday the 6th of April, as part of their recently initiated Winning Women programme. The four friends, three of whom are first time horse owners, met their new horse, Lass O’Gowrie, at a celebratory introduction at the Turffontein racing stables of trainer Joe Soma. Lass O’Gowrie is a striking two year old chestnut old filly in training with Joe Soma Racing and is likely to have her first run towards the latter part of the year as she develops and progresses in her training. The four women are very excited about their new acquisition and are looking forward to the experience of enjoying racing and the lifestyle benefits associated with it. There was already much discussion about what to wear to the Durban July, so a few serious shopping expeditions are clearly on the cards! Imagine Racing launched the Winning Women concept to encourage more women to participate in horse racing as owners in their own right and to enjoy the experiences that ownership brings. Horse Racing is so much more than just gambling and big sums of money; it’s a lifestyle. What other sport allows you to compete at the highest level, against a cross section of different people, while dressed in high heels and hat and sipping Champagne? Imagine Racing, through Winning Women, puts together exclusive groups of women to share in the ownership of a racehorse and tailor each one to suit the individuals. Groups are...

South African horses feature in New York Times!

With today being the culmination of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, all eyes in the Thoroughbred Racing world turn to the UAE. South African’s have a particular passion and interest for this race meeting since our fearless Champion trainer Mike de Kock started campaigning there with great success. Despite the rigours of travel and quarantine to eventually get to Dubai, (unlike the rest of the world who’s horse are able to fly in a few days before) our horses line up and compete against the best in the world showcasing the tenacity and great value that South African Bloodstock has to offer. To view the New York Times article, click on the link below.   http://nyti.ms/1g7tfpk View the article....

Beyond Racing – Thoroughbred careers after the race track

The Thoroughbred Race Horse has been refined over the last 300-odd years through selective breeding and careful pedigree selection to the ultimate athlete that it is today. Bred from three Arabian Stallions and an original handful of mare stock, the Thoroughbred is bred to run and born to race. While racing may be their purpose, their inherent workmanlike nature, generosity and athleticism mean that they are highly suited to other forms of equestrian sport and given the right environments and grounding, go on to excel.Beyond Racing is Imagine Racing’s initiative to promote and publicise Thoroughbreds, highlight their successes as highly suitable sport and leisure horses and to promote their appropriate transition from racing to be well looked after, much loved and valued beyond their racing careers.The campaign aims to combine all forces in the breeding and racing industry, sport horse industry, the National Thoroughbred Trust and animal welfare units to promote their care and highlight their suitability and successes as riding horses across all disciplines.For the 2014 Equestrian calendar, Beyond Racing will start to initiate and encourage special Thoroughbred series classes and prizes within classes at shows, to highlight and acknowledge competitive Thoroughbreds and their riders, in their chosen disciplines at all levels.Together with the Thoroughbred industry we will also initiate annual awards for Thoroughbreds that have stood out or excelled outside of racing. For example, the Thoroughbred of the year award will recognise a Thoroughbred that has excelled in a non-competitive career such as equine assisted therapy, police work or Rhino Patrol and a Thoroughbred ambassador award will acknowledge a horse that has stood out from a publicity...

The crazy colour of Summer – own it!

On the back of the Lanzerac Ready to Run Stakes and Sale this past weekend in Cape Town, there is hardly time to pause for breath before we dive headlong into Johannesburg’s big racing event, the Sansui Summer Cup. With the theme Colour to Conquor, it is sure to dish up a profusion of colour off the track, as well as on course. The vibrant silks that jockeys wear in a race lend such a festive air to racing but the colours are so much more than just that and choosing one’s own silks becomes the next step in the fun of the ownership process.People are really taking notice of the lifestyle and networking opportunities that Horse Racing in South Africa offers and realizing that it is not that cliquey or complex to own your own race horse. You don’t have to have the background or family connections either. While it is viewed as a luxury pursuit, this lifestyle experience is not only limited to the very wealthy.Sharing in a syndicate with a group of friends has many benefits and is not as complex as it sounds.To demystify the concept, here are a few pointers:1. A syndicate is a group of people who share in the ownership of a horse or horses.a. Syndicates can be made up of 5 – 20 people.2. In order to race a horse, each individual or the syndicate needs to be registered with The National Horse Racing Authority of South Africa (Jockey Club). As a registered syndicate the NHRA grants the privilege of colours (an annually renewable registration), which allows you to race the...

Emperors Palace Charity Mile Celebrities – are they Ready to Run?

Imagine Racing to ensure that celebrities have the inside track on racing.The Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile and the R3 Million Ready to Run Cup take place at Turffontein Racecourse on the 2nd of November 2013.With just over two weeks to go, the excitement is building for one of the biggest race days on the Highveld Horse Racing calendar.The Charity Mile sees each horse represented by a well known personality who is also representing a charity. While the names of some of this year’s celebrities are being kept under wraps, well known faces include radio personality Bailey Schneider and Super Sport presenter and passionate racing enthusiast, Neil Andrews. Also rumoured to be on the list for this year is Olympic Gold Medalist, Ryk Neethling.In this worthy showcase of horse racing for a good cause, a total of R550, 000 will be given away to the 16 participating charities. The charity of the winning horse gets R100, 000 with each following represented charity receiving a relative portion of the total. Even the 16th placed charity receives R20, 000, so no organisation is left out. This makes for a very exciting race day and the celebrities and charities relish the thrill of shouting home their horse, and hoping to see it cross the line first.While horse racing is the ultimate sporting thrill, to those not familiar with the sport, it can seem complex and confusing. Imagine Racing is offering Horse Racing 101 background to anyone who wishes to know more about the ins and outs and ensure that they come to the races fully prepared! Fashion tips can also be arranged but...

The first black jockey to win the Durban July! A new order for horse racing – Imagine?

Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July was a poignant one in many respects, with 67 seconds of silence observed for our beloved Madiba and a great rendition of the South African National Anthem sung, before the start of the 2200 metre race for the pinnacle of South African horse racing titles. In a copybook ride, S’manga Khumalo became the first black jockey to win the prestigious race for owner, Chris van Niekerk and trainer, Sean Tarry. S’manga, born and bred in Kwazulu-Natal, signed up for the SA Jockey Academy because he was short. Having never ridden a horse before he has gone on to build up a respected reputation and solid career, and won the Sansui Summer Cup in November 2012. With his sights then firmly set on one-day winning the Durban July, he has seen that goal come to fruition just seven months later, his next ambition of winning the jockey’s championship may not be too far out of reach! With his infectious smile and trade-mark blonde hair, could he be the new face of horse racing? Often seen as the domain of English aristocracy and business tycoons, horse racing is heralding a new era, where it is much simpler to get involved as an owner and many young, ambitious people are seeking the thrills associated with this exciting lifestyle experience. Not only for the fun, elegance and excitement of a day at the races, but also for the social benefits and  bragging rights that come with being a race horse owner! Many people may have dreamt of owning a racehorse but either do not know how to get started...

In the grip of a spreading fever!

Highs and lows are a symptom of fever, in any form and the fever caused by horse racing is no exception. With this Tuesday marking the start of Royal Ascot and some gripping action, last week heralded a very low moment in the world of international horse racing with the news that Sir Henry Cecil, legendary trainer of numerous stakes-placed winners and, most notably, Frankel, lost his battle with cancer! A stately figure and one of racings great ambassadors and gentleman, the world is a poorer place without him. Lady Jane Cecil continues his legacy by sending out the Royal Ascot runners, as planned and Frankel’s half-brother, Morpheus, was a fitting and emotional winner at Nottingham last Friday afternoon for Lady Cecil and James Doyle. On the first day of the Cecil stable having runners since Sir Henry’s passing, Songbird also went on to score at Yarmouth 10 minutes later, and Ascot announced that the Queen’s Vase will be run on Friday as ‘The Queen’s Vase In Memory of Sir Henry Cecil’ after the legendary trainer’s 8 victories in the race. Lady Cecil’s first runner of the Royal meeting is Tiger Cliff in the fifth race on Tuesday! Over the past 300 years, Ascot has established itself as a national institution; with Royal Ascot becoming the centrepiece of the British social calendar and the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world. The Queen Anne Stakes get the meeting underway today and the highly publicized favourite, Animal Kingdom will be attempting to add this title to his already admirable list of wins, including the Kentucky Derby 2012 and...

Where Eagles Dare! Made to Fly at the 2013 J&B Met.

Martial Eagle made to fly at the J&B Met! The J&B Met this past weekend heralded a surprise winner in the way that only horse racing can. While many punters may not have been thrilled with the outcome, the connections of Martial Eagle were justifiably ecstatic. Owner, Mrs. Sabine Plattner, trainer Yogas Govender and jockey Aldo Domeyer could not have been more excited and proud of their charge. For both Yogas and Aldo this was their first Group 1 winner and the highlight of their careers to date.  According to the ante-post betting, the seven year old gelding was not expected to feature due to his age and being drawn out wide. However, as the saying goes; “horses will make fools of us” and most of us probably did not consider that he was carrying the lowest weight and had run fourth behind Variety Club in the L’ormarins Queen’s Plate just 3 weeks before.  Aldo Domeyer also enlisted a bit of advice from top jockey Anthony Delpech, who did not have a ride in the big race. Anthony’s sage words to “stay out wide and keep out of the crush” paid off when Martial Eagle had an open run to the post, although strongly challenged to a tight finish by Hill Fifty Four!  Martial Eagle, by Silvano is out of the Jallad mare Seeking the Wind and was bred by Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud. In his race career, he has won eight times and placed 13. His former stakes of R515 680 have been seriously bolstered by the J & B Met first stake money of R1 425 000....

Off to a galloping start

And they’re off! Well, 2013 is at least and a great start it has been!  With the L’ormarins Queen’s Plate a superb day out and a great success all round (despite the false start in the main race). Winner Variety Club may have been a bit lucky not to have been in the false start but one cannot take anything away from his great performance. He certainly showed why he is the country’s top miler and last season’s Horse of the Year, by overcoming the widest draw and running handily, under Anton Marcus to win convincingly.  We look forward to him taking his place in the Breeder’s Cup Mile at Santa Anita, California in November! Coming up later this week is the third Cape Premier Yearling Sale, held on Thursday and Friday the 24th and 25th of November, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The sale kicks off at 17h00 on Thursday evening with the first 117 lots and there is bound to be a lot of local and foreign interest in the yearlings on offer, especially after last week’s Meydan results!  The Highlands Farm bred National Assembly colt, Soft Falling Rain, ran for the first time in Dubai and continued his unbeaten streak, making it five out of five in his short career.  South Africa’s champion 2 year old for last season, Soft Falling Rain, led from the start to win the UAE Guineas Trial comfortably. This will certainly be a talking point at this year’s sale and will, no doubt, add to the hype surrounding the CTICC for the next few days! It certainly will be...

The L’ormarins Queen’s Plate and the New Year’s hot happenings.

A Right Royal Summer Season! A new year is always exciting and 2013 looks to be no exception!The L’Omarins Queen’s Plate kicks off the 2013 summer season with its usual refined elegance, tomorrow. Apart from setting the benchmark for style and glamour, the Queen’s Plate has become the epitome of elegant race days. With its dress code of blue and white, the whole tone of the day leans towards good taste and old-fashioned glamour rather than the loud, garish and overly conspicuous that some of the other big race days sometimes bring out! Apart from the socializing and fashion, (the highlight of which will be the best hat and best dressed competitions, judged by designers Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan du Toit of KlukCGDT and Catherine Moore, among others) the day’s racing will be thrilling. The Queen’s Plate is off at 16:50 and with the 2012 Durban July winner, Pomodoro, Champion Miler, Variety Club, Jackson and top sprinter What a Winter among the favourites, it should prove to be a riveting race. The winner of the 2013 race will automatically qualify for the million dollar Breeder’s Cup Mile in the United States.  L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1) (Weight for Age) R 1000000, 1600m 1 WHAT A WINTER 10 60.0 Mike Bass Bernard Fayd’Herbe 2 VARIETY CLUB 15 60.0 Joey Ramsden Anton Marcus 3 JACKSON 13 60.0 Brett Crawford Karis Teetan 4 BRAVURA 6 60.0 Joey Ramsden Glen Hatt 5 POMODORO 7 60.0 Sean Tarry Piere Strydom 6 MASTER PLAN 5 60.0 Greg Ennion Robbie Fradd 7 CASTLETHORPE (AUS) 12 60.0 Mike Bass Anthony Delpech 8 RUN FOR IT 4 60.0...

Pink Drive Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

Boobs !  (there, bet I’ve got your attention now).  Boobs and racing (even better !!).  I don’t often get the opportunity to start a column like that and figured I had to grab the opportunity with both hands (oh dear …). Who ? Albert Einstein once said “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions” and Catherine Hartley and business partner Sandy Wilson are not just content to stop at the trailers !  Approximately 2 years ago, Catherine and Sandy, who describe themselves as ‘two independent business women who are passionate about horses, racing and the fun and glamour that go with it’ joined forces to create Imagine Racing.  The concept is to be a marketing, PR, communication and syndication campaigner for the horse racing industry (sorry, no boobs yet, but bear with me). Catherine is immediately warm and engaging and her enthusiasm is obvious even over the phone.  As a die-hard ‘horsey girl’ and racing fan with a background in marketing to boot, she is frustrated by the absence of a cohesive public profile of the sport and the severe lack of mainstream marketing. And it’s pretty hard to disagree with her.  People tend to want to get into racing because they have an interest in horses.  But do a quick Google search on horse racing and the top links will be gambling related.  We always focus on betting.  The industry seems to be missing the crucial aspect of marketing the horse as the core of racing and the passion that goes with that. Other than betting, we promote sales and big race days, but there seems...

City Press article, January 2012

Born ‘n’ bred for the races 2012-01-15 10:00           Always think out of the box when you put together your unique ensemble because “standing out” is a must Galleries   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories Related Links Go gaga for the Met Mokgadi Seabi Equestrian sports have become the new golf. They provide the ground where the well-heeled and the fashionable mingle while placing bets to increase their wealth or simply for the thrill of it.   Between polo and horse-racing events such as the L’Omarin Queen’s plate, the Durban July and the upcoming J&B Met, locals are now spoilt for choice.   A select few of these participants have also realised that they can have the fun lifestyle experience while making money by owning a racehorse.   Personalities such as film producer Anant Singh, South Africa’s richest family the Oppenheimers, business mogul Patrick Maponya, TV producer Carol Bouwer and Erfsondes star Emmanuel Castis all own or have shares in various racehorses.   Granted, most of them also have buckets of money to fund this venture and that means they can treat it as a hobby.   As Penny Broodryk, a marketing executive at the Racing Association, explains: “Buying a horse may offer rewards but it’s important to acknowledge that it is nevertheless a speculation. Before you get involved you need to accept that horses are not machines and there is no guarantee to your investment.   “The risks are high but the rewards, both financial and emotional, can be substantial.”...

The Emperors Palace Ready to Run sale is here! Are you Ready?

  We are into the final stretch leading up to the Emperors Palace Ready to Run Cup and Charity Mile on Saturday, with festivities kicking off on with the cocktail party on Thursday night. The sale starts on Friday with the first 75 lots going under the hammer from 5pm, just to whet the appetite, before the rest of the sale on Sunday at 2pm. The horses are all settled into the TBA sales yard in Germiston and viewing has begun in earnest. The draft this year is particularly strong with a number of lots attracting much attention. The Charity Mile is always a great day with much excitement and promotion for the recipient charities. Ensuring maximum media attention and royal elegance, this year’s guests of honour include His Majesty King Letsie of Lesotho and our very own princess, Her Serence Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco. Of course the highlight of the day’s racing has to be the Emperors Palace Ready to Run Cup, being run this year for total prize money of 2.5Million Rand. Qualifying entrants will only know on Tuesday afternoon who has made the final field of 16, so nerves will be frayed between now and then! To stand a chance of lining up for the 2.5 Million Rand sweepstake in 2013, you need to have your ticket! And if you don’t already know, that ticket is a horse bought off the sale this weekend and entered for the race next year by “ticking the box”. We’ll be at the Tawny Syndicate box, behind the sales ring, so join us for a drink and to preview...

Pink Race Day for PinkDrive

Imagine a Pink race day for PinkDrive! The Imagine Racing Ladies Spring Race Day, held on Saturday the 6th of October at Turffontein Race course heralded the start of the summer season, encouraging involvement in the PinkDrive Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, while exposing people to the thrill of horse racing. The pink theme was evident throughout the race course, highlighted by the PinkDrive mobile unit, parked near the parade ring, for women to have free breast checks on the day.   The event was elegant and glamorous, with a fresh spring theme and more than a touch of pink. Guests arrived in their pink finery and prizes were awarded for the best dressed. These included a specially designed pink hat from Peta Eggierth-Symes of Pallu Boutique as well as Yves Saint Laurent gift hampers from renowned make-up artist David John. The best dressed prize was awarded to Stacey Holland, who won a voucher from Gemini Jane and Made You Look Stylists, the most elegantly pink award went to Sarah Savage, who was the envy of many in her new Pallu hat! The men were not left out, and Chris van der Merwe, editor of Salon Prive magazine, won the prize for the best dressed man.   Guests at the venue, on the deck, had the opportunity to go down to the parade ring before races to get up close to the pre-race action and the true stars of the day, our magnificent horses.    Garth and Lynn Towell, and their guests were the lucky winners of 10% of a filly in training. They have become shareholders in Warrior’s Passion...

Double Delight and we are not talking about the Springboks beating the All-Blacks!!

The Spring Ladies Race Day is here! Well, after much talk and a lot of action, the Spring Ladies Race Day has arrived and if you are not heading to Turffontein tomorrow mid-day, you will be missing out! The Spring Ladies Race day in aid of Pink Drive promises to be a very elegant affair for those prudent enough to have booked with us on the deck, overlooking the parade ring! From the best dressed prizes to the pink Dragonfly chair from Casarredo, the opportunity to acquire something new and elegant is enormous, whether you win it or bid on it! And as if that isn’t enough, one of the attendees will become the lucky owner of 10% of a filly in training with Mike de Kock. Warrior’s Passion is a three year old filly by Casey Tibbs out of the mare Summer Passion. She has had one run and should be due for another quite soon. The beauty of this fantastic opportunity is that the new owners will share in her, at no cost to themselves and will not have to wait too long to see her race. Assistant trainer, Matthew de Kock will be on hand to give the new owners further insight into their new horse! All it requires is to get Turffontein tomorrow, follow the pink ribbons to the venue and enjoy an elegant and glamorous day with us, and show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness and the PinkDrive. All guests will have the opportunity to go down to the parade ring before races and experience the feeling of ownership where all the action...

Imagine Racing away with Finweek for the Ladies Spring Race Day.

Imagine Racing, has joined forces with Finweek to promote the Ladies Spring Race Day in aid of PinkDrive. The race day ties in with the Johannesburg Spring Challenge on the 6th of October 2012 at Turffontein Racecourse. The day will be about elegance, glamour, and fun, empowering women and encouraging involvement in the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, while exposing people to the thrill of horse racing. Race sponsors and guests will network in style, and will have greater involvement in the actual race day proceedings than usually allowed for non horse owners. Hosts will be on hand, including some of racing’s best known personalities and industry leaders, to assist and answer any questions. Guests will have the opportunity to go down to the parade ring and the start before races to get up close to the pre-race action. Imagine Racing’s partners, Catherine Hartley and Sandy Wilson say, “our ultimate aim is to grow the day to become similar to the ladies day held at Royal Ascot, and to make it an annual event that is recognised on both the racing and the social calendars.” The tone of the event is classic, elegant and glamorous, with a fresh spring theme set off with a touch of pink. Adherence to the dress code will be encouraged and prizes will be awarded for best dressed most elegant and most striking hat. The theme will be evident throughout the racecourse and anyone who comes on course will feel part of the day. Owners of any of the 5 placed horses that have pink in their colours will receive a token gift to remind...

Imagine Racing Silver Pendant

To celebrate our majestic horses and highlight the Ladies Spring Race Day in October, Imagine Racing had acclaimed jeweler, Jenna Clifford design a special pendant symbolizing the horse. Power, Grace, Beauty, Nobility, Strength, Freedom Fittingly, these attributes also embody the modern women, who we honour at the Spring Ladies Race Day on the 6th October 2012. Proceeds from the sale of the silver pendant will go to PinkDrive and the National Horse Trust. A first, limited edition of the pendant is available through the Thoroughbred Breeders Association at the National Two-Year Old Sale from the 10th – 12th August 2012. For orders and enquiries please contact Catherine or Sandy: Catherine@imagineracing.co.za /0836401155  or Sandy@imagineracing.co.za/0828704210  Horses lend us the wings we lack. (Unknown...

Two and three year old future bucking horses inspect their South African visitors in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Calgary, Canada.

The passion for horses From the Calgary Stampede to Saratoga Having just returned from a trip to Canada and North America which included a visit to the Greatest Outdoor Show on earth, the Calgary Stampede, the Imagine Racing team continues to be inspired by the magnificence of the horse. Apart from the Bull riding, steer wrestling and calf-roping, the Calgary Stampede Rodeo showcases some of the best bucking horses and riders in the world, including a 22 year old star horse, and every evening ends with the Chuckwagon races, known as the GMC Rangeland Derby. A team of four former thoroughbred race horses pulls a small wagon around a dirt track, against 3 other teams, each backed up by two “outriders. Although a far cry from our classic racing, one cannot but be enthralled at the speed that they go in a very tight space. Sadly this trip meant that some of us missed the Vodacom Durban July and the great win by Sean Tarry’s Pomodoro! We can’t all be everywhere but at least half the team was there to shout him home. Our congratulations to Sean and Chris van Niekerk for their first win in the race! While still thinking of North American racing, an article by Jeff Deitz in the New York Times reminded me that Saratoga racing starts on Friday 20th July. Known almost as the grand dame of race tracks, Saratoga has an old school grace and class that does not exist at many other tracks in the US. Its position in Upstate New York means that it is lush, green and surrounded by old...

Is Horse Racing the new Golf?

Golf has long been the business person’s networking event; a chance to spend a few hours with like-minded people away from an office environment, while being sufficiently relaxed to allow for easy conversation, exchanging of ideas and building relationships. The latest kit, club memberships and handicaps are bandied about as marks of status when comparing notes, and offer great points of discussion. However, in a world always looking for the next ego boost or bragging rights to the next big thing, and with a growing appreciation of, and a return to more genteel traditions (whiskey, cigars, champagne and fine wines) horse racing presents an exciting alternative. It is most certainly more likely to raise the pulse rate than a quiet 18 holes, unless of course a diabolical shot lands your best Titleist balls in a pond.  Whether you own a whole horse or a small share of one, horse racing gives one the opportunity to enjoy an exciting day out with friends, mingle with leaders in their fields and provides a great networking opportunity. Having your own horse certainly does give you some bragging rights and the sheer thrill and pleasure of watching your own horse, while being able to invite your friends and colleagues to join you has got to be more appealing than a round of golf. Unless you have just sunk the putt to win the Masters, you are not likely to be throwing your hat in the air or hugging the nearest person – BUT when your horse is first past the post, even the most reserved personalities will be driven to public displays of...

Ladies’ Spring Race Day

Looking to the spring ahead, Imagine Racing will host a Spring Ladies Race Day at Turffontein Racecourse on 6th October. We have partnered with the Pink Drive and proceeds from the day will go towards their great work in Breast Cancer Awareness and their mobile mammography units. See : PDF for more details on getting...

A colourful Autumn season!

With the CTS Yearling Sales and the Summer Ready to Run Sale under the bridge, we now look to the Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale to be held at the Germiston sales complex from Friday 27th – Sunday 29th of April. The catalogues are out and there are some very nice individuals available on the sale, so it will be well worthwhile joining us there. It is bound to be a great week-end with the Derby and the Oaks to be run on Champions day on the Saturday, to inject some added excitement into the week. The Summer Ready to Run Sale was held at Summerhill Stud at their magnificent School of Excellence! Between Jacqui Cameron’s wonderful lunch and the picturesque setting, one would be hard-pressed to find a better sales venue in South Africa!  Imagine Racing acquired a very nice Solskjaer filly, out of the family of Russian Sage. She is in training with Robbie Sage (names being purely coincidental) and we welcome our new owners to the Imagine Racing team! Looking to the spring ahead, Imagine Racing will host a Spring Ladies Race Day at Turffontein Racecourse on 6th October. We have partnered with the Pink Drive and proceeds from the day will go towards their great work in Breast Cancer Awareness and their mobile mammography units. See : PDF for more details on getting...

Ready and Waiting – Come on Summer!

The Summer Ready to Run sale takes place next week Wednesday at Summerhill Stud. As reported in the Sporting Post last week, this catalogue is up there with some of the best Ready to Run’s of previous years and we expect to see some very nice horses. Having been the source of a string of champions, including Imbongi, Hear the Drums and Emperor Napoleon, we are hoping to find a pearl or two for our owners. So if you are looking to share in the thrill of owning a champion, stay in touch and just Imagine!...

Will you be sizzling in the City?

Never mind the weather; the horseracing action in Cape Town this next week is scorching! The Cape Flying Championship on Saturday 21 January sees old favourite Champ, JJ the Jet Plane’s return to South African Racing against the likes of champion What a Winter and the remarkable sprint mare, Val de Ra. This is bound to be a thrilling race and although we may all have our personal favourites it is going to be a hard race to call! Thursday the 26th sees the start of the CTS Premier Yearling Sale with a delectable catalogue of very well bred and well-related yearlings on offer. The two days of the sale at the CT ICC will showcase some of the top yearlings that South Africa has to offer and we should see some record prices and some superb horses. To view the catalogue: http://www.capethoroughbredsales.com/lots/view_by_catalogue/1/Cape-Premier-Yearling-Sale-Book-1 Of course, January 28th is the last Saturday of the month and we all know what that means – the running of the J&B Met! Although reports from the gallops yesterday do not point to any standouts on the day, popular choices include Champion filly Igugu; recent winner of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, Gimmethegreenlight, Ilsanpietro, Tales of Bravery and Bravura. The three year olds are likely to find it tough in this field and the remaining question is whether any of the older boys can better Igugu! We are firm believers in girl power as you can Imagine! Barrier draws for Gr1 R2.5 million J&B Met 2012 to be run over 2 000m at Kenilworth Racecourse on Saturday, 28 January 2012 Sc# Horse Mass MR Draw...

A New Year’s Invitation – Just Imagine!

As 2011 comes to a close, we reflect on what has certainly been an interesting year with many ups and downs for the world as a whole! For Imagine Racing, we had a string of firsts which will make 2011 stand out for us as a landmark year! We had our first runner in our colours of Old Gold and Cream and we look forward to those becoming a regular sight coming down the final straight! We had our first winner in the filly Final Score, owned in partnership with her trainer Sean Tarry and Mike De Kock. We also had our first colt born; The Blue Streak, by A.P. Arrow out of Blue Ballet and we look forward to seeing him grow into a real racehorse. Looking to the New Year, 2012 promises to be very exciting, starting off with the always elegant L’Ormarins Queens Plate followed by the CTS Premier Yearling Sale, 2 days before the J&B Met. Now, if that is not enough to get you rushing to Cape Town you should check whether you still have a pulse! Ensuring that we keep a cracking pace and our pulses racing for the rest of the year, we have a number of things that we are planning! One of our projects for 2012 is a dedicated Spring Ladies Race day to be held in October in association with Pink Drive to benefit the great work that they are doing in the field of Breast Cancer Awareness! Watch this space for the details but it is going to be a spectacular day focusing on empowering women! As always,...

Are you Ready?

The Emperors Palace Ready to Run Race and Sale take place on Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th of November respectively. The final field will be confirmed on Tuesday the 1st of November and the draw will take place, live on Telly Track at mid-day. This is a very exciting week for the potential contenders as although many are most certainly going to make the final 18, there are still one or two positions which may change. The spectrum of horses which have qualified is varied and reaffirms the fact that the Ready to Run sale has a horse for everyone and all those who enter the sweepstake have a shot at the big race, regardless of the purchase price. This extract from the TBA website gives a bit more detail to the sale: READY TO RUN 2011 GRIPS RACING PUBLIC Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 01:35PM THE EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN SALE TBA Sales Complex, Gosforth Park, South Africa 6 November 2011 Bloodstock South Africa – 185, two year olds go under the hammer on Sunday 6th November in the 2011 Emperors Palace Ready To Run sale at the TBA Sales Complex at Gosforth Park from 2pm. The sale has grown in stature over the years and has produced last season’s champion racehorse, Igugu. The horses will arrive at the sales complex by Sunday this weekend and there will be a full week’s viewing for the public. Sales catalogues have been posted and are also available online at www.tba.co.za. The added bonus is the ability to contest the R2 million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup...

The Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale 2011

It’s all action at the TBA sales complex in the run up to the National Yearling Sale which starts at 1pm on Friday 15th April. There are 600 lots on offer and there are some very nice horses to be seen. The general feeling is that this sale will strongly favour the buyers and there should be some very nice value horses available. The Imagine team is on hand and we hope to see you there. See: http://www.tba.co.za/catalogue.php?url=2011nys for the online catalogue, if you have not yet seen...

News update: Final Score has gone into training with Sean Tarry

News Update: Exciting news for Imagine Racing is that our shared filly, from the 2010 Ready to Run Sale, Final Score (Solskjaer x Tribute) has gone into training with Sean Tarry and we are looking forward to seeing her develop and progress! Other good news for the early part of this New Year is that our Alami mare, Blue Ballet (a half sister to Orbison) is in foal to A.P....

Of Champions, Dreams and a flying start to 2011

Having got off to a great start, 2011 promises to be an exciting year in our racing industry! Last Saturday’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate was won by Mary Slack’s superb mare, Mother Russia (Windrush), followed by Tales of Bravery (Kahal) , with the third place going to the imposing filly Ebony Flyer (Jetmaster). Running on bravely to clinch fourth place was the darling of South African racing, four times Queen’s Plate winner, Pocket Power (Jet Master) These results are sure to provide added interest in and a great boost for the Cape Premier Yearling Sale. The Sale’s catalogue includes a full sister to Mother Russia, Lot 184, whilst Lot 223 is a half-brother (by Captain Al) to Ebony Flyer. The sires (Windrush, Kahal and Jet Master) of the first four home in the Queen’s Plate, all have offspring on the Cape Premier Sale. The inaugural Cape Premier Yearling Sale will be held on Thursday, 27th and Friday 28th January 2011, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, from 4pm on the two evenings prior to the 129th running of Cape Town’s superlative event, the R3m J&B Met at Kenilworth Racecourse on Saturday, 29th January. The 300 yearlings catalogued for the Cape Premier Yearling Sale have been individually selected on pedigree and conformation by experts from the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of South Africa and a representative from America’s famed Keeneland Association. Bloodstock South Africa and the Western Province Breeders and trainers have a full calendar of events for visitors in the run-up to the Sale and the J&B Met. It is a perfect time to experience Cape Town’s glorious summer and...

News update, 2010

The Ready to Run sale has been and gone and we look forward to seeing the graduates of this sale on the tracks in 2011. The question is; which of these will be eligible for the R2 million Ready to Run Race? As long as buyers ticked the box to enter the sweepstake, anything is possible! The more immediate question on everyone’s minds; is who is in line for the Sansui Summer Cup to be run on 27th November at Turffontein? It is an impressive field and any of the contenders has more than a fighting chance. All eyes are likely to be on Mike de Kock’s charges, of which there are six. The three year old Perana will certainly have his work cut out for him, as no three-year-old has won the race since it was re-introduced in its traditional format in 1999. The colt performed impressively to win the Victory Moon Handicap, despite nearly stopping at the 400m mark and giving jockey Anthony Delpech a challenging ride. Imagine Racing will be there in full force and we look forward to seeing you for a great day’s racing. Remember your splash of pink! The final field, with draws, trainers, jockeys and weights, for the R2-million Sansui Summer Cup (Grade 2) over 2000m is: 1 – 13 PIERRE JOURDAN (G M Alexander) A Fortune 60.0 – 112 2 – 15 RUDRA (M F De Kock) M Mienie 60.0 – 111 3 – 12 MOTHER RUSSIA (M F De Kock) K Shea 59.0 – 109 4 – 16 GALANTHUS (T Zackey) …………… 57.5 – 107 5 – 18 SERVICE ACE...