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Picture: Emile Fredericks with an I Am Invincible Vezalay colt which fetched seven figures at this year’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale at Warwick Farm. Photo: Virginia Harvey


Emile Fredericks, who used to work at Hemel ‘N Aarde Stud and is yet another successful graduate of the Summerhill School Of Excellence, went one better than last year at the Australian Stud & Stable Staff Awards when landing the prestigious Horsemanship Award (Stud or Stable).

David Hepburn Brown remembers “Mila” well and said, “His father worked for me and he was on the farm here with us from about the age of eleven. He had natural flare with horses and absolutely loved them. He used to dump his bags straight after school and come to the stables. He had a natural affinity with horses, he had a calming influence on them and they responded to him.”

David said Emile had won a bursary to attend the Summerhill School Of Excellence in 2014. David carried on paying his salary for the six months he was away, which allowed him to have some pocket power.

Originally, Emile won a scholarship to go to headquarters, Newmarket, but David persuaded the powers that be to allow him six months back at Hemel ‘N Aarde.

Emile duly returned to Hemel ‘N Aarde and later when deciding to excercise the rights of the scholarship, David advised him to stick to Southern Hemisphere breeding. 

Emile was interviewed live last week by and he takes up the story.

“Widden Stud (Australia) were looking for a few stallion handlers and they picked me.”

Emile has never looked back and still works at Widden Stud today.

After his first six month stint Emile returned to Hemel ‘N Aarde for a year.

After sorting out all of his papers he departed for a permanent position at Widden Stud.

Emile said, “It is a good family environment at Widden and if you love doing what you are doing they are going to support you from the start to the end. For them to trust me to work with all these top quality horses like Zoustar, it is pretty special.”

Asked by who his favourite stallion was, he replied, “That’s not a hard one! I have always been a fan of Nicconi. He has always been the best stallion I’ve ever worked with, me and him have a pretty good relationship.”  

Anthony Thompson, owner of Widden, informed Emile at this year’s Easter Sale he was one of the two finalists for the award and Emile recalled, “I was so delighted, I didn’t have words for it, and me coming from South Africa, it was such a special moment.”

When asked last week how he would feel if winning the award, his reply was not at all self-centred.

He said, “I love the industry and I love what I’m doing, so what I want to do is come to Australia and lay a platform … it doesn’t matter where you are from, if you believe in what you are doing, you will succeed and that is what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to get a lot of youngsters in, I want to help them go further.”

It is a big sacrifice for Emile to be in Australia because his girlfriend and daughter still live back in South Africa.

His father Pieter, known to all in the SA industry as “Plastic”, is still at Hemel ‘N Aarde and he has relatives at Wilgerbosdrift Stud and Varsfontein Stud.

David said that whenever talking to Australian racing folk Emile is mentioned.

He has earned tremendous respect in the horseracing mad country.

“I am so thrilled he won the award,” concluded David. “He truly deserved it.”