A first stakes winner for Drakenstein stallion Futura when winning the 2020 Gr2 Golden Horseshoe, former Corne Spies galloper Nourbese has been sold into the powerful Ricky Maingard stable in Mauritius for an undisclosed sum, reports SPORTING POST.
The transaction was brokered by Central Route Trading and followed the plans for Nourbese to compete for the rich prizes on offer at the Saudi Cup meeting at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia being aborted after a delay in quarantine in Mauritius.
Nourbese and dual Gr1 winner Van Halen, as well as Cape unbeaten star Katak, were literally on the apron at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport destined for Europe when an AHS positive at another quarantine station some 70km away saw the UK veterinary authority withdraw permission to enter Britain.
While the AHS ‘positive’ subsequently proved to be a phantom false positive, the damage was done and the dreams of the owners were in tatters, with the budgeted costs – already astronomical – soaring out of all proportion.
A dual Gr1 winner, Oratorio’s fast son Van Halen was bought for a mere R100 000 at the 2017 Cape Premier Yearling Sale, while the exciting 3yo Nourbese was a R140 000 buy from the 2019 Emperors Palace National 2YO Sale.
A talented son of Potala Palace, The Ridgemont Highlands-bred 2020 Cape Winter Triple Crown winner Katak was purchased privately by owner Marsh Shirtliff.
The Sporting Post has learnt that Van Halen and Katak are currently in France.
“Rather than let him stand in his box, we intend to race Van Halen in France through the summer and then look to Saudi Arabia and Dubai next season,” said Corne Spies.
Looking at the local racing model, Spies again urged the authorities to provide some form of strategic plan for racing going ahead.
He said that it was heartening to see buyers digging as deep as they did at the recent National Yearling Sale , in a climate where nobody really knows what to expect tomorrow.
He pointed out that with ever rising costs, the average owner asks first about what the plan is for stakes before discussing further investment.
“What do we as trainers tell our owners?” he asks, adding that stakes had been on the decline pre-covid for over a decade.
“Billionaires may be happy to race for rosettes. But the core middle-class owner base at the bottom of the pyramid is diminishing fast. While nobody enters the sport with his eyes open, and genuinely expecting to get rich, when one sells racehorse ownership, the fun aspect has to be balanced with the bonus of a break-even, or a possible return on investment, however nominal.”
“I hope that the powers-that-be can do something soon. I don’t have the answers. We need to find professionals to do a professional job of marketing the sport. Once stakes are in order and remotely realistic again, I feel things can resume to something reasonable,” he adds.
“MOD has the right values. We now need to get the right guys into the right positions and start taking much less out of the game than has been the case in recent years. Looking after all of our customers, introducing transparency and planning, and making the right calls for racing, and racing alone, will get the engines firing again.”
There are plans to start racing again in Mauritius on 8 May.