Monday, July 28, 2014

All Fired Up (USA) - What did he look like?

All Fired Up has been one of the most prolific stallions that South Africa has ever seen. He was born in the USA, in 1981, which is where he also raced. He had a total of 5 wins, including the Gr 1 Arlington Washington Futurity, and a Gr 3 Juvenile Stakes race, both as a 2yo. AT 3 he has to places in stakes races. His wins ranged from 1000m to 1400m. His sire, Timeless Moment, was a 10 time winner of multiple Gr 3 races. His dam Anjelicco (by Angle Light) won 5 races.
All Fired Up was a very striking, closely coupled, 16hh red bay stallion, who had incredible presence. Many accounts of him recall his exceptional temperament, which he passed onto to many of his progeny. One of his most famous stakes winners is Golden Hoard, a 3 time Gr 1 winner here in South Africa. Golden Hoard was trained by champion trainer Mike De Kock. Other Stakes winners include: Sound Of Light (Gr 2), Irish Ranger (Gr 2), Molten Magic (Gr 3) and Supersonic Surprise (Gr3). I worked with a son of his called Burning Secret, who won 8 races (including the Germiston Consolation November Handicap, beating stable companion Hard Ball by the shortest of short heads!). Burning Secret was given a name by the stable staff, Benny McCarthy, after the then striker for the South African national football team, Bafana Bafana - apparently because he could run so fast! He had a fantastic temperament, and was an absolute pleasure to work with.
All Fired Up has also excelled as a broodmare sire. All in all, he stood at stud for 16 seasons, from 1986 to 2001. His very last foal, One For The Road, won 11 races, in South Africa and Mauritius. He sired 603 foals, of which 530 were runners. 329 of those runners won races, including 27 individual stakes winners and 24 stakes placed horses.
Winning the Gr 2 Arlington Washington Futurity as a 2yo

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Mokaro was an exceptional racehorse. By Manaloj, out of a Fort Wood mare called Matumi, Mokaro was born at Mrs Oppenheimer's Mauritzfontein Stud in 2003. Over 4 seasons, he won 7 races, had 14 places, and amassed over R1.4 million in stake money, in just 33 starts. His biggest win was in the  2009 Grade 1 Canon Gold Cup 3200m at Greyville, in Durban. He also was victorious in the Grade 2 J&B Reserve Stayers, on J&B Met Day, in 2009, at Kenilworth in Cape Town. He raced in the famous black and yellow Oppenheimer silks, and was trained by Stephen Page, who is based in Cape Town.

He is now owned and ridden by Carey-Anne Radford, a prominent racing personality on the KZN racing circuit, who has taken him to the top level of Eventing, where he has excelled immensely.

Here is his story in her own words:

"I was given Mokaro through my aunt (my mother's sister), Gail Page, who works at Mauritzfontein with her husband Nigel Page. Gail had asked Mrs Oppenheimer if she would be happy if Mokaro was given a new home with me. He had been retired to the farm after racing, and had been there a year and a half relaxing. It seemed a waste of a nice horse, as he loved working and attention from people. Mrs O agreed on the grounds that if Gail was happy it was in Mokaro’s best interests to be with me where he could be kept active and he was never sold elsewhere she was happy for us to give it a try.
Mokaro as a racehorse: He was trained throughout his career by Stephen Page (Nigel’s brother). For Stephen he won 7 races (3 of them graded) and ran 14 places (7 of them graded) from 33 runs. His major success’s being the Gold Cup and the J&B Reserve stayers handicap which he won by 6.75L. He was also Equus champion stayer for the 2008/9 season. Mrs Oppenheimer and Stephen Page had a 1-2 in the Gold cup that year with Mokaro first and Noblewood second. Stephen says that Mokaro, like most stayers, did not show much in the early days as a racehorse but his talent showed when he was put over ground. He also described Mokaro as “portly” and he took a lot of work to keep him in shape and fit. Luckily Mokaro thrives on work and it brought out the best in him.  Mrs O had always kept a keen interest in Mokaro’s eventing success with me until she sadly passed away at the age of 92 last year. When I got Mokaro he had just turned 8, It was December 2011. His jumping talent was evident from the start as he has an incredible bascule over a jump and I was very excited about him.
My Riding Career: I have been able to ride since I was 5, I competed on ponies and then a Thoroughbred mare as a junior to D grade. I stopped show jumping when I was about 17, and started working in racing where I worked for Colin Lee and then Alistair Gordon and so I rode track work every morning. I took up show jumping again when I was 27 and was mildly competitive in lower grades until I was given Mokaro. I have always wanted to event, and so as Mokaro’s schooling came along, I started started Cross Country clinics with him. He took to it like a natural and loved it. From then till now, he has competed successfully right through the grades and we have completed two 2* events, both of them clear in the country and show jumping. He is also graded 1.20m in show jumping.
He is a clever, careful and brave horse and he has taken me to do things I would never have dreamt I was capable of doing. In the country he travels exceptionally well between his fences and trusts me to jump what I ask him to, I can honesty say there is no greater feeling than riding a horse like him. Behind every good athlete is a good coach and I must thank Heidi Caine for her inspiration and guidance with Mokaro from the start. (Heidi Caine represented South Africa in Eventing at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky).
Our plans for the future: I would love to compete 3* one day and I know he has what it takes, so for now I need to keep him enjoying it, confident and brave. We will keep at the 2*’s until I know I am confident enough to be  100% accurate as a rider at that level.
Mokaro stands about 16 and a half hands and has always been a tubby looking horse. He is sound, well put together with good comformation. His sire Manaloj was not a very successful racehorse stallion, and now stands at Callaho Warmblood Stud. On the weekends, when he isn't being a serious competition horse, he is patiently giving rides to my two small nieces in the stable yard. He is an absolute pleasure to work with in every way. He is very special to my whole family for the success he brought to the Page’s as a racehorse and the good times we have with him as a family now. He is my absolute champion."
Mokaro's success as both a racehorse and in his new career as a "ReTrained" OTTB Event horse, shows exactly how athletic and versatile the Thoroughbred racehorse really is! We will keep you posted on Mokaro and Carey's progress as they progress further through the grades.
2009 Grade 1 Canon Gold Cup 3200m Greyville
(photos courtesy of Gold Circle)
Cantering to the start
A victory salute from jockey Richard Fourie 
Trainer Stephen Page and Mrs Oppenheimer
with the rose filled Gold Cup
2009 Grade 2 J&B Reserve Stayers Kenilworth
In His New Career: 
With his very proud out-of-racing owner, Carey-Anne Radford
Sire: Manaloj:
Dam Sire: Fort Wood:

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Bhekinkosi (Chesnut gelding 2002), made an impression on us all, from the minute he walked out of his box, at the Sales complex at Gosforth Park. He was an imposing individual, consigned by Summerhill Stud, and from the first crop of the very exciting sire prospect, Kahal (GB). He was out of an exciting new mare too, called Amabokoboko, who was by Sunny North (USA). Trainer Gary Alexander has often said that he has one of the most athletic walks he has ever seen in a thoroughbred, using his hindquarter well, and stepping far underneath himself. Asides from his near perfect conformation, it was his walk and good temperament that made Gary buy the horse at the 2004 Breeze Up Sale (now called the Ready To Run Sale), for R65 000.

Bhekinkosi's sire, Kahal (GB).
(Photo by John Lewis, and courtesy of the Sires 2005 Handbook)
Sire of Bhekinkosi's dam, Amabokoboko, Sunny North (USA)
Amabokoboko (Photo by Leigh Willson, Summerhill Stud)
Although he was already under saddle when he arrived in the training yard, Gary decided to give him some time off before he went into full training. I worked with him personally, and spent many an hour playing with Bhekinkosi in the paddock. As with all the babies that we broke in, in the racing yard, we did a bit of Join Up work on the ground with him. We have found that it develops a trust bond between handler and horse, making things like learning to go into that starting stalls that much easier.

Nearly a year later, Bhekinkosi had taken after his sire, and had grown into a rather imposing specimen. Kahal is well known for producing horses with easy going temperaments, and this strapping young colt was no exception. He made his racing debut in September 2005, and made sure everyone knew who he was, winning a 1200m very easily. Gary's faith in the new stallion Kahal had been vindicated. And Bhekinkosi was certainly not finished with the Winner's Circle at that stage. In a rather distinguished career, spanning 6 seasons, he won 10 races and had 19 places in 55 starts. He amassed an earnings of R685 085, which when you consider his original purchase price of R65 000, was a superb return for his owners. Bhekinkosi ran in quite a number of feature races, with his best performance being his win in the 2200m Listed Java Handicap. He also had numerous placings in Black Type (Feature/ Graded/ Listed) Races:

*2006 3rd Jubilee Handicap (Gr3) 1800m
*2009 3rd Wolf Power Handicap (listed) 1600m
*2009 3rd Jubilee Handicap (Gr3) 1800m
*2006 4th Colorado King Stakes (Gr2) 2000m

Bhekinkosi impressed his trainer Gary Alexander so much, that he decided to buy his full brother Emir, also bred by Summerhill Stud, at the 2005 newly renamed, Ready To Run Sale, for R90 000. Emir had Bhekinkosi's size, athleticism and generous nature. He too raced for a few years, 7 seasons in total, for 7 wins, 21 places, and R587 000 in stakes.

 Bekhinkosi retired sound as an 8 year old, and there were definitely a few tears when he left the yard. His groom, Walter Mashinini, still works at the Alexander racing yard, and is always delighted to see the photos of Bhekinkosi's exploits in his new life, as a much loved and doted upon, show jumper, owned by Garett Murphy.

Bhekinkosi in the old Parade Ring at Turffontein Racecourse. His groom, Walter Mashinini is leading him, and MJ Odendaal is in the irons.
Bhekinkosi winning the 2200m Listed Java Handicap at Turffontein Racecourse, in 2006.
Bhekinkosi's story does not end there. He is thriving in his new career, where he has been retrained by Garett Murphy as a show jumper. He has taken to it, by all accounts, like the proverbial duck to water. This is Garett's account of Bhekinkosi's story, after his retirement from racing:
"In June 2011, my wife was having riding lessons with Kim Jeffery in Mnandi and as per usual I went along to watch. At this point I didn’t have a horse to ride myself as my old mare had been happily retired for about a year. I noticed Bhek grazing in a paddock and was immediately drawn to him. I knew right then and there that I was going to buy him.
I spoke to Kim about Bhek and for a few months I had lessons and shows on one of her other horses who was a more experienced jumper.
I did the sums in the meantime and had a few frank discussions with Kim about what my budget would be able to cover – this was when I started seriously making picture frames J.
I progressed quickly enough and as is often the case with schoolmasters, one eventually outgrows them. I felt ready for a lesson with Bhek. Needless to say I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was. From the first ride it was readily apparent that Bhek had a huge jump on him but more importantly has a heart of gold. He looked after me then and is still doing so 3 years later.
After the first lesson I was not sure that I would be able to handle such a powerful horse but Kim was happy to let me ride Bhek a few more times and as we got used to each other, we clicked more each time. I took the plunge and bought him and set about learning how to handle a young, strong horse.
My first love is racing rather than show-jumping so I tend to compete infrequently. Even so, Bhek unfailingly gives his all every time I ride him and never fails to look after me. On more than one occasion he has spared me the embarrassment of falling but when it does happen he tends to take it worse than I do. That said, his willingness to work is easily his biggest strength and this has enabled me to progress quicker than I would have with a different horse. He does have a mind of his own though, and is happy to tell me when he’s had enough or when something is difficult but will always do what I ask him. And with time and lessons I am learning to ask the correct questions!! I have no doubt whatsoever that any progress I have made as a rider is due to his willingness and heart.
His level-headed approach to life was succinctly illustrated when, at his previous yard, a horse threw his rider and bolted off down the dirt road next to the arena. Having left the rider to the care of other people in the arena, Bhek quickly caught up to the runaway and calmly stood next to him while a groom came running up with a halter.
I do like to keep Bhek fit so he does work quite hard but he enjoys his life and never more so than when we go for outrides down to the big trotting track. I don’t think he’ll ever forget that he’s a race-horse and I wouldn’t want him to – sometimes I think we’re both just little boys at heart and like nothing more than to run as fast as we possibly can purely for the sake of running. As much as he has enormous jumping potential, I have a not-so-secret suspicion that we are both at our happiest when the wind is rushing past our ears. At times like this it really does feel like we are beating with one heart and we are experiencing the same feelings and emotions. When words are not necessary – oh that everybody could be this privileged…..
The only issue I have ever had with Bhek was one minor episode of colic which was due to a change in environment and routine when I moved my horses closer to home. He recovered very quickly though – was back from the clinic the next morning - and hasn’t looked back since. He is on the whole, a very sound horse which is due partly to his breeding and partly to the approach taken by Gary Alexander Racing Stables of not rushing youngsters."
Lots of love and mutual respect here!

Friday, July 18, 2014


The story of The Snaith's rather exquisite grey, Idris, is quite an amazing one. He was born in 1974, and was by Royal Affair, out of a French mare called Conceit III (by Tornado FR). He raced for 8 seasons for 11 Wins, and 31 places. Chris Snaith's wife, Sue, used to do showing on Idris very successfully, even when he was still in training as a racehorse! He was owned by Mr Frank and Mrs Joyce Waring. Frank Waring was the Minister of Sport at the time that Idris was racing.

(Chris and Sue Snaith are Justin Snaith's parents. He is the Champion Trainer elect for the 2013/ 2014 season. He won the 2014 Vodacom Durban July with Legislate. Chris, his father, is well remembered for training, among others, the Irish bred gelding Flaming Rock, who won the Rothman's Durban July in 1991.)

There is a rather amusing story about Chris forgetting to tell Sue that Idris was running one weekend. Sue had plaited him up and turned him out for his showing classes, which they took part in that morning, which they duly won. Frantic arrangements got the horse back onto the racecourse just in time for him to run his race, in all his showing finery, and actually ended up winning the race! Possibly the only horse in South African history to have won a showing class and a race all in the same day! He was the victor of many showing championships, on a national level.

Idris was also ridden by Sue Snaith as a lead horse for the big racedays in the Cape, where he strutted his stuff rather impressively leading the flightly runners for a pre-race parade along the track. He was hugely popular with the public - he even had an orbituary in the local newspaper at the end of his wonderful days.

(With thanks to Robyn Louw for recounting the story, and sending the pictures to me!)

Winners at Horse Of The Year Show

Lead Horse at Kenilworth for the J&B Met

Much loved by the public, his passing warranted a write up in the newspaper!

Crystal De Roche - What Did He Look Like?

I get quite a few requests daily from people wanting to know if I can help them find out a little bit more about their OTTBs history and racing career. So many people would love to see racing photos of their horses, which unfortunately are only ever taken of winning horses. The next best thing would be to see what their sire, dam sire, and occasionally if we get lucky, the dam herself, look like.

This week I have had a few requests for photos of Crystal De Roche (GB). Born in 1983, this flashy UK born chestnut stallion stood 16.1hh. He stood at Dr Alan King's farm, Kingswood Stud. He was by Kris, the very fashionable son of Sharpen Up, and his dam Crystal Queen had produced Greinton (a Grade 1 winner in the USA), and Crystal De Roche and Kailas, who both won Graded races in France.

In the transient world of breeding stallions, Crystal De Roche was a successful producer on the racetracks. He stood at stud from 1988 to 2001, producing 416 foals, of which 342 were runners, 179 were winners, with 7 individual Stakes winners, and 11 Stakes placed progeny. His best performed progeny included: Might Crystal (6 wins), Bold Jewel (7 wins), Sparkling Tandy (6 wins), Crystal's Garter (7 wins), Big Fling (7 Wins), Swarovski (7 wins) (Source: )

Personally, I think he is one of the most beautiful stallions that we have had stand here in South Africa. I am not aware of any of his progeny reaching the very top levels of non-racing sports, but please send me some info on any that you know of that have achieved at top level. He was hugely popular as an OTTB sire for riding horses, especially in Kwa-Zulu Natal, where he stood at stud. his progeny were well conformed and had superb temperaments!

Here are some of his stud promotions from the South African Racehorse Magazine (circa 1987/ 1988). Click on the photos for a closer view:


Thursday, July 17, 2014

South African Sire Series - Bahadur

Bahadur was a very successful racehorse, with 9 wins. These included the Benson & Hedges Metropolitan GR1 ( Now the J&B Met), the Transvaal Champion Stakes GR1 (now The Champions Challenge), The Clairwood Winter Handicap GR1 (now the Champions Cup), among many others. One of the most exciting racehorses of his generation. He was by Noble Chieftain, out of the Abadan II mare, Ondulee.

He was all set for a big stud career, but unfortunately, was a bit of a disappointment. He was at stud from 1978 to 1986, produced 125 foals, 93 runners, of which only 42 were winners. He did not produce any stakes winners, but had 5 individual stakes placed progeny.

In 1982 he sired Errol Wucherpfennig's Marble Hall, who won the 1995 South African Show Jumping Championship. The very next year the South African Show Jumping Championship was won by Kim Robson and Ruby Mountain, whose dam sire is Bahadur! I believe Ruby Mountain was exported to Europe in the late 90's, where Kim competed very successfully on him in the international arena. Ruby Mountain had 1 win and 8 places as a racehorse, and Marble Hall raced 14 times for just 2 places.

This is Ruby Mountain as a yearling, being advertised for the 1985 National Yearling Sales:

 It seems that while he never set the race tracks alight as a racing sire, his progeny had impressed enough for someone to give him a second career as a show jumping sire, where he sired top horses like Varlet Bazaruto and Baluga, who were both out of Warmblood mares.

South African Sires Series - Their Influence on OTTBs

South Africa has historically been very successful in non-racing equestrian pursuits with Thoroughbred ex-racehorses. During the apartheid years, sanctions and lack of forex did not allow many people to import many Warmbloods into the country, pre-1994. The main source of sport horses was from the racing industry, and many of our top riders like Gonda Betrix, Anneli Wucherpfennig (Drummond-Hay), Peter Gotz, Barry Taylor, and many, many others, made their livings from re-schooling ex-racehorses, and turning them into top level International A Grade Show Jumpers. It was from pure necessity, and the big classes at all the shows were dominated by these ReTrained Thoroughbreds. Over the years I have kept notes on some of these "old school" top level show jumpers, all handwritten of course, in the hope that one day I could share it someday. I have written down their breeding and found some familiar bloodlines popping up again and again. I have a vast collection of old racing publications as well, and after browsing through them over and over again, I have found some amazing old photos of prolific sires, and the occasional yearling promotional photos of a few of the top level horses themselves.

I would love some input from you, either to correct things that I have made errors with, or even to add names, and of course photos of the horses jumping would be absolutely incredible! Please feel free to comment and contribute!

The first thing I would like to share with you is that there is a noticeable dearth, or lack of Northern Dancer line horses, in the top ranks of South African Show Jumping. That is not to say that there are none. The Lyphard line in particular has given us some great show jumpers, but the other lines are noticeably absent.

Secondly, the two most prolific ancestry lines on South African show jumpers, are Hyperion and Fair Trial. In fact, it seems the more times that these horses appear in the pedigree, the more successful the jumpers were! Their names come up again and again, in multiple generations. As I post the sires, you will notice this more and more.

(Photo courtesy of Form Bloodhorse Racing and Breeding,
A Decade Of South African Champions)
I would love some input from you, either to correct things that I have made errors with, or even to add names, and of course photos of the horses jumping would be absolutely incredible! Please feel free to comment and contribute!