Suzette Viljoen and her husband Basie. Picture: Facebook
The sometime champion owner has branched out into commercial thoroughbred breeding
Mike Moon (The Citizen)
Suzette Viljoen, a prolific racehorse owner and one of the most popular people in the game, was welcomed into the ranks of commercial breeders when she consigned five young horses at Sunday’s Cape Racing Sales Ready To Run and Two-Year-Old Unbroken sale at Hollywoodbets Durbanville.
Viljoen, and her equally cheerful husband Basie, have set up operations at their new Hopes and Dreams Stud in Wellington in the Western Cape – formerly Shirley Pfeiffer’s successful Arc-En-Ciel stud.
Hundreds of horses run in Viljoen’s pink and blue colours all over the country, so she has had no trouble furnishing the new establishment with a broodmare band. Close to 100 mares are already enjoying the dreamy Winelands scenery – including Equus champion Captain’s Ransom.
Of her new venture, Viljoen comments: “Hopes and Dreams Stud represents what its name says. We hope and we dream of breeding a champion. My lifelong dream has been to have a wine farm with horses, and now I am living my dream.”
She often describes herself as “just a farm girl”, having grown up near Potchefstroom and spending married life on a vast cattle farm in Schweizer-Reneke. However, she and Basie are clearly smart people with significant business interests.
The couple were keen followers of racing for a long time, but only bought their first horse in 2018. The bug bit hard and within three short years Suzette had amassed scores of runners – distributed among many trainers – and had become South Africa’s champion owner.
The five youngsters carrying the Hopes and Dreams at the weekend’s sale were:
Lot 89 Unnamed b f Pomodoro x Morning Light
“She is on the big side, a well-put-together filly who has always been ahead of her group. She may look for distance,” said Suzette before the Sale (Bought by a rising star, the East Cape trainer Kelly Mitchley, for R30,000)
Lot 95 Difflock b c William Longsword x Reine Tonnerre
“This is a well-grown bull of a horse with plenty of quality. He is very correct and could be anything.” (Bought by top trainer Tony Peter for R125,000)
Lot 96 Dawn’s Early Light ch c The United States x Sea Bean
“A very correct, medium-sized colt with lots of quality. He looks like a racehorse, walks like one and should run like one!” (Bought by Jonathan Snaith for R200,000).
Lot 97 Filly Fantasia b f One World x Shangri La
“A precocious type from a good family, and she looks speedy. One we wouldn’t mind to race ourselves.” (Bought by The Kommet Syndicate for R160,000)
Lot 106 Future King ch c Futura x Costly Romance
“A well-put-together colt, medium framed with nice rein. Should come early and go the distance.” (Bought by Fabian Habib for R50,000)
Suzette and Basie aggregated R565,000 for their five lots and averaged R113,000 – not a bad start to their breeding career!