RACEHORSE syndication, often promoted by this publication, is showing the expected good growth in South Africa and could well be the lifeblood of what has been termed the “post Markus Jooste”- era. The concept: Quick entry into the the game with small, all-inclusive investments.

Owners from the top ranks have had to consolidate and re-arrange their bloodstock shares following the Mayfair Speculators sell-offs, and while some had to tighten their belts, we’ve seen a good entry of new owners while the former “middleweights” have started coming to the party with bigger investments, some, it appears, as a show of fresh muscle following Jooste’s departure.

Whomever comes to shout the loudest on the block, we’re seeing some young people entering at (may we use the phrase please!) grass roots level (wow, what a blast!) and they are the ones we need to focus on while investigators around South Africa prepare to bring racing into more disrepute with further high-profile revelations and big-name crashes pending. It seems the Sport Of Kings is always first to suffer when the media tackles and attempts to destroy the big-hitters.

Be that as it may, at the other end of the scale there is much enthusiasm and the most recent success story belongs to Mike Shea and Murray Makepeace, two ordinary blokes from the suburbs who formed a small syndicate to race Takingthepeace and have see their lives changed in less than year. She’s won them R1,4-million, with a further R1,6-milion waiting if she can pull of the SA Oaks on Saturday.

Shea and Makepeace were original patrons attracted by Mathew de Kock’s Onamission Syndicate, who will be launching its new website (onamissionracing.co.za) today courtesy of marketer Chase Liebenberg and Keyweb.

Said Liebenberg: “We’ve gone for a modern, contemporary look. We’d like to attract young people in this league. We want people to know that being involved in owning a race horse doesn’t have to break the bank and also to have your horse in a world-renowned training centre with Mike de Kock Racing. The syndicate has its current success in Puget Sound and with two more horses about to hit the track as well with Elbi and Sainte Etienne. Mat will be syndicating a smart-looking colt by Vercingetorix soon (Lot 7, NYS).”:

Justin Vermaak’s Green Street Bloodstock, the most successful syndication company in South Africa in recent times with 48 winners and 170 places in less than three years, reports consistent interest from newcomers. GSB forms partnerships with small-time and big owners, with opportunities across the board, and runners are placed around the country with leading trainers including Justin Snaith, Johan Janse Van Vuuren and Gavin van Zyl. GSB’s recent winners include feature performer Mrs O and Mac N Scar.

“We bought a few at the National Yearling Sale among which Lot 4, a very nice colt by Flower Alley with shares still available,” said Vermaak.

Bass Racing (www.bassracing.co.za), has a Syndicate in operation in KwaZulu-Natal and one about to be formed in Cape Town. Consistently successful, Candice Bass-Robinson will train a Silvano colt named Nixon, from an excellent Irish female line and Royal Windsor, a three-parts sister to English Garden from the family of Edict Of Nantes.

Dean Alexander, assistant to Gary Alexander (http://www.garyalexander.co.za/), said that the stable had recently started focusing on syndicates again after pioneering the concept in the 1980s.  “We have a Cricket Syndicate going with Jimmy Cook involved and because there is some synergy between racing and cricket, members of this syndicate will have access to seats at big cricket games. We want to do the same with a Rugby Syndicate and in a few weeks we will also be syndicating a smart, older unraced runner. “

Another older syndicate is Imagine Racing (www.imagineracing.co.za), managed by Catherine Hartley and Sandy Wilson. They focus on all new patrons, especially ladies and have had several winners over the years including recent success Tirzan. “Tirzan’s owner is a long-time patron of Imagine Racing now racing in his own silks. We like to see our patrons make progress, we help them to get on their own feet,” said Hartley, adding: “Syndication is wonderful for racing, it needs constant support to remain in the news!”

Paul Lafferty bought a beautiful half-brother to The Bayou at the National Sale, up for syndication with several other local and overseas buys. Laff welcomes new patrons, go to laffertyracing.co.za.

Finally, Grant Knowles has enjoyed plenty of success with his “Tractor” and other syndicates, responsible for buying (and selling) such horses as Mauritian star Parachute Man, Black Tractor, Sunset Breeze and Hard Day’s Night. “We have a few shares going in a Manhattan Rain filly from Book 1 and a Pomodoro colt,” said Knowles. See www.salesring.co.za or www.crawfordracing.net

-From Turf Talk Newsletter.

Photo courtesy Green Street Bloodstock.