Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S
Picture: 123RF/ MELORY S

South African breeders have suffered a bumpy ride recently in the racing industry, but it has not stopped them from investing heavily in new local and international stallions.

A number of them are performing smartly.

Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud chalked up a first stakes winner for the imported Duke of Marmalade (UK) when Temple Grafin raced away to win the grade3 Debutante Stakes over 1,200m at Greyville on Super Saturday.

Temple Grafin’s trainer, Glen Kotzen, said: "Duke of Marmalade is a stunning stallion and we filled up the stable with his progeny. We have a few more of his unraced horses."

Owner-breeder Chris van Niekerk, who invests hugely in horse racing and has also been through testing times, had a change of fortune when his R20,000 CTS purchase Return Flight swept clear to win Saturday’s grade1 Thekwini Stakes over 1,200m. Not only has this market "cheapie" won in excess of R600,000 from five starts, but she has also been the flagbearer for Van Niekerk’s stallion Pomodoro, who as a result of her exploits secured the title of SA’s Champion First Crop Sire.

"We’ve given Pomodoro all the support we can and now it’s up to him," Van Niekerk said about his stallion, who won the Durban July in 2012. He is a son of Jet Master, who took up duties at Klawervlei Stud.

Sheikh Hamdan of Dubai has a career at stud in mind for the imported Soqrat, who won the grade1 Premiers Champion Stakes over 1,600m on Saturday. He is only two years old.

Trainer Mike de Kock achieved a similar feat with Rafeef, who went to stud in 2017 after a short racing career.

De Kock commented: "Soqrat has the ability to win anywhere in the world, but there are no plans to race with him overseas for now. We’d like to make a stallion of him in SA."