It has not been an easy last 12 months for Scott and that has nothing to do with horses.
“I had a heart op in July last year – I was born with a hole in the heart and then they discovered two in the top half so it had to be fixed,” said Scott yesterday.
“This set-back didn’t do me any favours and some owners moved on, but thanks to Timothy Pretorius and Gavin Lerena we kept ticking along and I’m over the moon that last season we had an over-14% strike-rate. That’s quite an achievement compared to some stables with much larger strings.”
Right now, Scott’s thoughts are on the Emerald Cup and he’s hopeful his talented five-year-old, Shadow Line, will get a run in the R1 million race.
However, first let’s look back at Scott’s career which began in 1982 with Michael Azzie . Then came spells with Stanley Ferreira and three years as a semi-private trainer to Henry Devine. In the early 1990’s he looked after Alec Laird’s yard for a while while he was in Dubai and then he joined Sean Tarry.
“While I thoroughly enjoyed working with top livestock at Sean’s stable, the travelling from Alberton to Midrand each day became a problem. Then I got the opportunity to train for Connie Brooks but – to be honest – due to viruses etc it never really got off the ground and Connie decided to spread his wings. It was a huge knock for me but we got by thanks in great measure to my wife, Jean.”
Scott currently has a team of 18 at his Vaal stable and will be looking for some young stock at the forthcoming sales.
“What we are lacking right now is a financially strong client base – if you’ve got those financial resources then the quality is on-going and it makes all the difference. The game has got expensive with grooms wages due to go up in the near future.”
Scott is no stranger to big race success with Cardinal Sin one of his most successful horses and you have to love his enthusiasm when he says “I’ve no doubt I can do the job as well as anyone.”
This month that job entails his five year-old Toreador gelding, Shadow Line, hopefully making the final field for the Emerald Cup. “I need a couple of horses to come out so I hope to move up (the log) by winning with him at the Vaal on 11 September. It’s a 1450m Pinnacle race and I’ve booked Gavin (Lerena) for the ride.”
Interestingly, Scott feels there could be a joker in the Emerald Cup pack in the form of one of Sean Tarry’s six entries, his Grade 1 performer Whiteline Fever. “If he pulls a draw and acts on the surface, he’s got the ability to be a real factor.
“Shadow Line is way above average and certainly wouldn’t be out of place in the race,” concluded Scott.
Unquestionably one of the characters in the game, Scott Kenny might have a “dicky” heart but – when it comes to racing – you know it’s in the right place.
If you can manage to purchase a top horse, the rewards can be life-changing. That has to be the conclusion when one sees what prize-money is now on offer at big meetings around the world.
We can be pretty proud that the forthcoming Emerald Cup this year has a stake of R1 million this year, but it really pales into insignificance compared to what is on offer in Dubai and the United Kingdom.
Next year marks the 20th running of the Dubai World Cup and it has been announced the meeting – scheduled for Saturday 28 March – will carry record prize-money of $29,25 million (about R314 million).
The three-month Dubai World Cup carnival kicks off on 8 January and the big dress rehearsal for Cup night is the “Super Saturday” meeting which will take place on 7 March.
Martin Talty, international manager for the Dubai Racing Club, commented: “Year on year we are seeing large numbers of high-class international horses compete at Meydan racecourse and we are confident 2015 will be no different.”
When Mike de Kock began his first forays to Dubai, his patrons will have been shocked at the big cheques they received just for finishing in the placings.
Although Mike expressed the opinion his 2014 Dubai campaign wasn’t one of his best, we shouldn’t forget that Variety Club triumphed in the Godolphin Mile and then went on to capture the Champions Mile in Hong Kong in May.
So Mike is sure to be licking his lips at the prospect of taking a chunk of the 2015 Dubai prize-money particularly as two of his chief patrons, Mary Slack and Michael Javett, have been active at overseas sales.
It’s quite possible this time next year they will have a runner or two on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot. This year’s event is scheduled for 18 October and – if you want further proof a top horse can earn you a mind-boggling amount – then here it is:
The Champion Stakes (2000m) is worth 1,3 million pounds (just over R23 million), the QE 11 Stakes (1600m and the likely target of John Gosden’s champion Kingman) one million pounds (R17,7million) and the Champion Fillies & Mares (2400m) 550 000 pounds (R9,7 million).
Variety Club and Shea Shea provide ample proof we breed top horses. It is something Chris van Niekerk, chairman of Cape Thoroughbred Sales, and Summerhill’s, Mick Goss, will both be stressing ahead of the Cape Thoroughbred Ready-To-Run Sale (Durbanville 4 & 5 October) and the Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run Sale (Germiston 31 October and 2 November).
This year’s Dubai World Cup Night was notable for the successes of Hong Kong raiders with Amber Sky too speedy for De Kock’s runner, Shea Shea, in the Al Quoz Sprint and Sterling City capturing the Golden Shaheen.
Shea Shea, unplaced in the recent Nunthorpe Stakes at York, has now been retired and will spend his days at Mauritzfontein Stud in Kimberley.
Bred at Klawervlei Stud, last season’s champion breeders, Shea Shea raced in the colours of Brian Joffe and Myron Berzack and earned them over R15 million in prize money. This son of National Emblem raced 26 times notching 11 wins and eight placings – they included three Grade 1 successes, three Grade 3’s and two Listed races.
Reflecting on Shea Shea’s career, Mike De Kock said: “He was a naturally competitive horse, a superb galloper and a consistent high-class achiever. His bleeding has become an issue and we won’t persist with him any longer.”
“Shea Shea thoroughly deserves to rest and enjoy himself without the pressures of travelling and the testing preparation that goes with competing so often alongside the best sprinters in the world.”
“I’d like to convey the stable’s gratitude to Shea Shea’s owners who have been a pleasure to deal with. We were privileged to see a more personal side of Brian Joffe whose spirit and joy at the racetrack was heart-warming,” added De Kock.
De Kock’s assistant, Stephen Jell, commented: “Shea Shea is a horse of stature. He’s confident and he’s strong and Jessica Slack feels he will be well suited to leading the herds of young horses born and raised on the farm every year. He’ll show them the ropes, he’ll teach them the right manners.”
In concluding his statement for next year’s Dubai carnival, Martin Talty added “with the milestone running of the 20th World Cup, we are entering a big season for the Dubai Racing Club. The prize purses for both the Dubai Sheema Classic and Dubai Duty Free were raised to $6 million (R64,4 million) each last season and we are confident that we will be successful in attracting if not equal numbers – but possibly greater numbers of international competitors for the coming season.”
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