The end of the year means it is awards season and the decision to present breeder Mick Goss with a lifetime achievement award at the 2018 KwaZulu-Natal awards will be applauded throughout the racing industry.
With 10 national breeders titles notched on his belt since his move to Summerhill Stud in Mooi River in 1979, Goss has been the backbone of the sport not only in breeding top horses, but also his other ventures such as the School of Equine Management Excellence and implementation of the popular Ready-To-Run sales.
Of his 10 titles, he quipped to the media that “the one inevitability about winning a championship is that you’re going to lose it. We must prepare for life after the dream.”
That life nearly ended for the 67-year-old two years ago when, following a visit to the Far East, he contracted Crohn’s disease. Happily, despite shedding weight, he recovered.
Goss nearly did not go the route of a racehorse breeder as he looked headed for a distinguished career in law.
“I gave up a successful legal practice to sell racehorses to an impoverished market at a very uncertain time in SA’s history. Look how this has turned out.
“It’s quite simple — those of us in this game have a disease, that’s all there is to it,” he added.
Goss will be delighted that a filly he bred, Makingthepeace, was voted KZN horse of the year at the awards.
The daughter of Visionaire was a late foal which may explain why she only made R280,000 as a yearling, but she has won six of her 14 starts and amassed more than R1,7m in stake earnings.
Matador Man, bred at the Scott Bros Highdown Stud in Nottingham Road, received the award for champion middle-distance colt and the same stud’s owner Robin Scott will be delighted his stallion Crusade was the champion stallion.
Village Deep, a son of Golden Sword bred at Summerhill, rates a strong each-way chance in Thursday’s 2,400m fifth race at the Vaal.
Although the four-year-old faces a tough rival in Wonderous Cllimber, the Scott Kenny inmate will carry only 49,5kg as young Natan Klink will claim his 4kg allowance.
The Traffic Guard filly Glamorous Scandal is another Vaal runner bred at Summerhill and — with Gavin Lerena booked for the ride — the four-year-old will be in the sixth race.
However, this is a wide open contest with all Animal Lover, a daughter of Animal Kingdom, Empress Valley and another Summerhill produce Seeking Gold all with winning chances.
The stable of Michael and Adam Azzie have always held Greek Fire in high regard and the Dynasty gelding will bid to get his career back on track when he takes on nine rivals in the first leg of the Pick 6.
While the form of his comeback run has been franked by another win by The Dazzler, the Sean Tarry inmate Saints Alive and Geoff Woodruff’s four-year-old Polar Ice will provide stern opposition. The finish of the second race could be dominated by the runners from the Tarry and Woodruff stables, the former represented by the Silvano filly Azeeza and the latter by Kir, a daughter of Captain Al.