When it comes to horseracing, I’m no expert. But what I do know, is that the sport of kings is in good hands – very good hands. Not because it’s in the hands of kings, God forbid, but because the next generation is stepping up to the plate, ready to take over.
Come to think of it, if the sport of kings was in the hands of the royals, South Africa would have been the world leader, considering we do have at least seven recognised kingdoms. We used to have 13, but that has been reduced to seven, following a six-year study. But that’s history. Let’s rather look to the future of the sport of kings.
I was one of the fortunate racegoers spending a fantastic day at the races on Saturday for the running of the Summer Cup at Turffontein. What a marvellous event and what a vote of confidence from the youngsters breathing a breath of fresh air into this decades-old sport.
And I’m not just talking about the crowd, although the majority deserve the old cliché – but in a nice way – of being vibrant and energetic.
There also seems to be an emerging new generation of jockeys, trainers, and even owners who are stepping out of the wings and into the spotlight. And they’re doing it in colourful style, with jockeys waving at the cameras as they pass the finish line.
Enjoying the summer spectacle featuring the best the sport of kings has to offer, I couldn’t help but think of the British royal family, with the likes of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle – talk about a bright and colourful next generation – putting a right royal smile on the usually stern British faces.
But let’s not forget the most important role players when it comes to racing: the horses, of course. Even here the next generation of runners are sassy in spirit and name.
On Friday, for example, three very dignified horses called Heart Of A Legend, Path to Glory, and Royal Frost did battle in the last outpost of Durban. Also running on the same day were Epic Sword, Noble Duke, King Of Samash, and Piaget Prince – all names that reek of royalty.
But in true next-generation style, it was a next-generation filly who outran and outwitted them.
Her name: Miss Smarty Pants.