My Year of the Racehorse: Falling in Love with the Sport of Kings

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The sport of kings

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Retrieved from web address Example: Ontario Seniors' Secretariat. Retrieved from web address Example: Diet for stress management slideshow: Stress-reducing foods. In the in-text citation, the words of the shortened title in quotation marks are capitalized. In the Reference list, only the first word and proper names are capitalized. The fashion stakes are high, as are the racing, with three grade-one races on the cards. From humble beginnings on the windy, dusty Green Point Common, the Sport of Kings has found a majestic home in South Africa — and beyond, even, because local horses blaze a trail internationally.

South African thoroughbreds have conquered the world, winning at the highest level in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, England, Australia, America, France and Turkey — all true ambassadors of the land.

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The ability and class of local horses also bring a host of overseas visitors with only one intention in mind — to buy a South African racehorse. Annually, yearling thoroughbreds are sold for millions of rand at two gala events, the Cape Premier Yearling Sale, held in the unique setting of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and the National Yearling Sale, held in Johannesburg.

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In the striking surroundings of the sales ring where a yearling circles in the spotlight, local and international buyers think nothing of paying up to R4-million for the mere chance that it may be a future champion. Regardless of their backgrounds, racing personalities the world over share a common bond — a love for that magnificent animal, the thoroughbred racehorse.

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  7. And, here at the tip of Africa, it is certainly no different. The history of the Oppenheimer family is firmly entwined in the history of South Africa and its mining conglomerates. Yet outside of South Africa in the mid s, few had heard of a place called Mauritzfontein. A fledgling stud founded by Harry Oppenheimer and his wife Bridget on the site of the famous De Beers remount depot, Mauritzfontein started small with only 18 mares and one stallion.

    Mauritzfontein has now grown into a powerhouse stud, standing top sires such as Fort Wood. Racing is also no longer the domain of just the titled and wealthy, and with this shift has come the glorious prospect that anything is possible. From humble beginnings as the son of a farmer and a trading station proprietor, Mick Goss has built Summerhill Stud in the rolling foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains into an empire that has garnered the title of Equus Champion Breeder for a staggering nine years.

    Goss seems small in stature — until he starts to speak. For there surely is no greater orator in South Africa when it comes to the story of his little patch of earth, in the land of the Zulu warriors, and his passion for the magnificent thoroughbred racehorse. My wife had to leave school early to go and work and yet racehorses have taken us to faraway lands, sat us down with the Queen of England and made us many friends. Across the country, in the arid Karoo, is another colourful character whose love of the horse is matched only by his love of golf. Nicknamed the Black Knight, Gary Player dominated tournaments the world over and ranks amongst the greatest golfers of all times.

    Ruby Walsh to the rescue after Balthazar King’s Grand National fall

    In , Player acquired a stud farm in Colesberg. The vastness of the Karoo, coupled with the scarcity of grazing and the extreme climate, lends itself to the breeding of tough, durable thoroughbreds, rather like the golfer himself. Having travelled the world, Player still thinks South African racehorses are among the best. Moving down south to where it all began so long ago, we come across two extraordinary stud farms owned by two extraordinary people. A keen rider, racing enthusiast and student of pedigrees, Jacobs was handed the reins of the stud at the tender age of Then on a chance visit to South Africa he fell utterly in love with a beautiful valley and a stud farm called Maine Chance.