LEGAL Eagle, Marinaresco, Rabada, Silver Mountain and several others of the best horses in South Africa will leave the country at the end of the Western Cape season to race in the United States.

If this ground-breaking initiative proves to be successful, it promises to end the long-running near isolation of the country’s bloodstock industry from the world stage and it could pave the way for exports of yearlings and mares on a previously unimaginable scale.

Derek Brugman of Mayfair Speculators is the man behind it and he said: “The idea is to fill a plane with 15 of the best horses. We have written to trainers and already the owners of Marinaresco and Silver Mountain have said they want to join us. We are waiting to hear from others while we will probably throw in the July winner The Conglomerate.

Derek Brugman (left), with Markus Jooste of Mayfair Speculators.
Derek Brugman (left), with Markus Jooste of Mayfair Speculators.

“The horses will do whatever South African quarantine is required, probably a fortnight for the various injections and vaccinations to be done. They will then fly to New York at the end of February or the beginning of March and do a 60-day lockdown in the quarantine station there.”

This avenue has been open to South African horses for quite some time but previously owners and trainers have shied away from it because of the lockdown but Brugman, unhappy with both the time involved in the Mauritius route and in bringing those horses back to race fitness, has been making arrangements for the US option to be less prison-like.

He said: “It has become too cumbersome to travel via Mauritius and our horses will now be able to use a treadmill when they are in the quarantine station. We can decide about who will train them at a later stage but the idea is that they will take on the turf horses in the States.”

Brugman is already thinking ahead to the next stage when American buyers, impressed with what South African horses can do on the racetrack, start realising how cheaply they can be bought. He said: “We need to get trading with the US as well as compete there, and that trade will be phenomenal as well as of the utmost importance to our entire bloodstock industry.”

-Gold Circle (Michael Clower).


  1. Not a minute sooner. Congrats to Derek and those backing him. Its been years of the various people banging their heads against the wall. Often all one needs is a little left field thinking and progressive thinking backers.
    Well done. Can’t wait


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