THE ASSM SYNDICATE – THE NEXT BIG NAME IN SA OWNERSHIP?
The ASSM Syndicate whose nominee is Arun Chadha and whose other member is his business partner Warne Rippon have a string of horses who would be the envy of any owner and it is rare to see one ownership concern having such concentrated quality.
Arun was born in India and his interest in horses was sparked by his father who used to take him to the races.
He qualified as a chartered accountant and first worked in the Middle East before moving to Zambia in 1988.
From there he was poached by a British Company who had offices in Johannesburg.
In 1994 he was transferred to New York.
However, he decided South Africa was a beautiful country and moved back here and set up a company called Allied Chemicals And Steel.
It was fortunate for racing that in 2010, after purchasing a piece of land near Vereeniging to build a steel factory, he met Warne Rippon who owned a company called Steelrode.
They decided to form a merger and Arun’s interest in horseracing was soon revived.
He recounted, “Warne often used to talk about the top filly he owned, Sun Classique, and this got me interested in buying a horse.”
Sun Classique (Fuji Kiseki), who was bred in Australia by South African Lionel Cohen and owned by him in partnership with Warne and Wendy Rippon, won three Grade 1s in SA with Mike Bass and was named Equus Champion Three-Year-Old filly.
She later won all three of her starts with Mike de Kock in Dubai culminating in the US$5 million Dubai Sheema Classic over 2400m. She thus became the highest earning SA-based filly in history.
Arun raced under his own name at first but invariably in partnership with Warne and it wasn’t long before they had Grade 1 success together.
They were both part-owners in the 2017 Grade 1 SA Classic winner, the Mike de Kock-trained Heavenly Blue. He was an Australian-bred by Snitzel, who later became one of the top ten most expensive stallions in the world.
Arun said, “Once the bug has bitten …”
He bought more horses and he and Warne formed the ASSM Syndicate last year. It stands for Allied Steelrode Stretcher Material.
They are now the proud owners or part-owners of all of the following horses who are either top division or potentially so and most of them run in the ASSM colours, grey, dark blue epaulettes and sleeves, dark blue cap, grey stars:
Catch Twentytwo (Elusive Fort), his full-sister Big Burn, River Queraress (Querari), Cool Winter (What A Winter), Queen Of Gaul (Vercingetorix), Shoemaker (Gimmethegreenlight), Little Marysunshine (Silvano), Who Do You Love (Rafeef), Philosophise (The United States) and Sugar Mountain (Silvano) as well as multiple winners like Alingalonga (Flower Alley), Wisteria Avenue (Flower Alley) and Ablueazure (Ideal World) among others.
For the horses owned outright by the ASSM Syndicate they have had 70 runs this season for 18 winners at a strike rate of 25% and a further 17 places for a place strike rate of 50%. However, that excludes Big Burn, who they own in partnership with Ian Levitan, and the Eastern Cape-based Grazing In The Grass, who is part-owned by De Kock and Jehan Malherbe.
Those two horses have added a further eight wins, four each, which takes the number of winners for the season for ASSM to 26.
Not surprisingly the trainers involved include Candice Bass-Robinson and Mike de Kock but a number of them are with Paul Peter.
Arun had high praise for Peter, calling him the “most dedicated trainer.”
A number of their promising runners are two-year-olds and Arun understated, “Babies pop up once in a while.”
Apart from supporting the game through ownership, Arun and Warne’s company Allied Steelrode sponsors a big race, previously called the Charity Mile. They have incorporated their company motto into the name and the race is now called the Allied Steelrode-OnamissionMile.
Arun’s passion for and expertise in racing is growing exponentially and he likes to choose his own horses at the sales.
He studies the pedigree and believes the female line is of equal importance to the stallion.
Thereafter he goes on “gut feel” and advice from various people.
He added, “If I like a horse I ask the trainer to come and have a look.”
He said the ASSM’s success in buying and racing has been a joint effort between himself and Warne and their respective wives Renika and Wendy.
The ASSM’s next Grade 1 winner must be just around the corner.
Big Burn is eyeing the Computaform Sprint and SA Fillies Sprint, both Grade 1s.
Some of their many promising juveniles could well be seen at the Hollywoodbets Scottsville Festival Of Speed meeting and the Gold Cup meeting. Both meetings stage two-year-old Grade 1 events.
Arun is very excited about Shoemaker, who won on debut last week over 1400m and he believed he would go up to 1800m.
He also made continual mention of twice-placed Littlemarysunshine, who is by Silvano so will need further and will continually improve.
He said there were six or seven bred-in-the-purple ASSM juveniles still to come out.
He mentioned Uncle Ticky Bird (Vercingetorix) as being one to watch out for.
There is also a Quasillo (Sea The Stars) half-brother to Big Burn and Catch Twentytwo called Head Banger.
They have a promising Captain of All (Captain AL) two-year-old colt with Paul Lafferty called Lusaka.
The Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Rafeef (Redoute’s Choice) filly Who Do You Love was Lot 1 at last year’s National Yearling Sale and was out of a Model Man mare who is the grandam of Catch Twentytwo’s dam Ignition Lady (Argonaut). She has won both of her starts comfortably and the R200,000 price is looking to be a bargain.
Meanwhile, Catch Twentytwo, who won the Grade 2 Dingaans before scoring multiple Grade 1 and Grade 2 first three finishes, is at Newmarket in the UK and might be running in about ten days time. The Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes run over a mile and a furlong on The Rowley Mile is the race trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam has in mind.
Arun has never been to the Home Of Racing before and is looking forward to going over to visit Catch Twentytwo and watch him race.
He is also very much looking forward to Heavenly Blue’s first crop at the National Yearling Sales this year.
Punters should look out for those blue and grey colours because whichever horse is underneath them has a good chance of being high quality.