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Frankie Dettori was at his brilliant best in the Juddmonte International on Mostahdaf (Photo: Edward Whiitaker (Racing Post))

David Mollett

With the sad passing of the stallion Skitt Skizzle, it’s a “Changing Of The Guard” for the monthly “Molly” column with the powerful Klawervlei Stud taking over the sponsorship.
First of all, we at Turftalk must thank Bosworth’s Neil and Lyth Orford for their support from their stud near Klerksdorp which has produced a number of top performers notably 2013 Durban July winner, Heavy Metal.
Other more recent notable horses include Cordillera (winner of the Secretariat Stakes) and two of Skitt Skizzle’s progeny in May Queen (seven wins) and Tierra Del Fuego (six).
In an interview, Neil Orford commented “I have often said that – as a breeder – a bad horse is the test of a good friendship.”
One of his best friendships has been with Chris Van Niekerk who – though he didn’t have many poor horses – has always taken the rough with the smooth.
Happily, the Van Niekerk link still survives for this veteran journo as Chris and Bernard Kantor are partners in Klawervlei Stud with John Koster the CEO of the Bonnievale operation. This team is committed to ensuring that the Klawervlei legacy is preserved.
It’s been the toughest of years for John Koster but the 61 year-old – born in Beaufort West – has the goal of successfully continuing over three generations of family involvement in the breeding industry.
In an interview with Sporting Post, John said you get the reward if you “work hard, be passionate, love the horses, enjoy being with people and live life to the full.” Wise words, indeed.
With the 2023 breeding season under way, John is understandably excited about the stud’s band of stallions which includes “new boy” Kommetdieding who became a household name following his victory in the 2021 Durban July.
Here is a list of the Klawervlei stallions with their service fee.
KOMMETDIEDING (R20 000): R5000 nomination. R15 000 live foal.
CAPTAIN OF ALL (R10 000) R2000 nominatiion. R8 000 live foal.
TWICE OVER (R10 000) Live foal.
WILLIAM LONGSWORD (R5 000) R1000 nomination R4000 live foal
ROYAL MO (R5 000) R1000 nomination. R4000 live foal.
POMODORO (fee on application)
Aug 23 was a noteworthy day in racing both in the UK and South Africa. York hosted the prestigious Juddmonte Stakes (won by greats like Frankel and Baaeed) and SA held the annual Equus awards in Johannesburg.
The Juddmonte boiled down to a match race between unbeaten Paddington and the Gosden runner, Mostahdef. The first-named was sent off 4-6 favourite in the hands of Ryan Moore with Frankie Dettori piloting 3-1 chance, Mostahdef.
Driving to the track with my daughter Kim, I said “I’ve got this feeling that Paddington isn’t near Frankel or Baaeed (both of whom I was lucky enough to see win) and I’m not sure how good Mostahdaf is either. One may fluff its lines so the exacta with Hollie Doyle to run second on Nashwa is the way to go.”
At the tote window I asked for an exacta only to be told “World Pool day, sir, no exactas. I can give you a trifecta.”
So the bet taken was Mostahdaf to beat Nashwa and Paddington and Paddington to beat Nashwa and Mostahdaf. The former paid 22 pounds – not a bad return for a four-runner field.
It is now well documented that the large Yorkshire crowd – seeing Frankie Dettori ride at his last Ebor meeting – witnessed a tactical masterclass from the Italian who rode his first York International winner in 1996.
“We realized if we had any chance of beating Paddington we had to take the game to him rather than let him have his own way in front,” said Shadwell’s racing manager, Angus Gold, after the race.
When Frankie paraded Mostahdaf in front of the stands, he got the sort of reception mainly reserved for music stars. They know their racing in the north and realized they had witnessed a top performance from the world’s best-known jockey.
“It is my last Ebor meeting and it’s amazing to win six internationals and beat Lester Piggott’s record,” commented Frankie who did his usual flying dismount in the winners enclosure.
Aidan O’Brien felt he might have “pulled the elastic band too long” suggesting Paddington hadn’t been given enough time to recover after his Goodwood win.
The Frankie Dettori show rolled out of town on Saturday night after the Ebor which was won for a second year running by the Italian – will we ever see his like again?
It’s been interesting following the Equus awards saga regarding the Middle Distance Horse award where the case for See It Again has been put quite clearly to everyone by racing journo and Turf Talk editor, David Thiselton.
The latter pointed out that respected racing analyst Karel Miedema had rated See It Again’s second in the Hollywoodbets Durban July as “the best performance by any horse over any distance of the whole season.”
Thiselton’s view was that the decision to give the award to Winchester Mansion was “palpably wrong in the minds of just about everyone in the racing industry.”
So what’s the solution? First I would scrap the public vote in the awards – Joe Public knows who won the July but probably knows more about soccer and rugby than racing.
As far as the panel is concerned, it would certainly be nice to know who voted for Winchester Mansion. That is unlikely to be revealed but it may be time to ring the changes rather than have the same names on the panel every year.
Two gentlemen of huge standing I would like to see on the panel are Gary Player and retired top trainer, Mike Bass. I would put my money on them getting it right.