1987 Diary Items / List of Races
Lost races (do we list ??)

December 1986 Dingaans Handicap - cancelled due to Equine Flu
December 1986 - Queen's Plate cancelled due to Equine Flu

January

Equine Flu

The virus which struck late in 1986 is said to have been introduced by a group of US imports, who infect the whole of the quarantine station. The airborne virus is spread throughout the country when a float transports horses from the quarantine station to the Cape, making numerous stops along the way.

There is no racing at all in South Africa, except at Pietermaritzburg. Races are telecast life to other tracks, which stage so-called ghost meetings. Even betting on racing in Zimbabwe is introduced.

A bridging fund for jockeys is established, to which all except the Natal clubs contribute generously.

February

With the flu still seeing out its course, the Cape continues to lose its feature season, including the Cape Fillies and Colts Guineas, Paddock Stakes and Cape Derby. Racing in the Transvaal resumes on 11 February with racemeetings on the Rand taking place three time a week to make up for stakes (and turnover) lost, but the Cape takes a month longer to recover.

The Jockey Club insists on a fitness test for all horses returning to the track. Most horses look on their re-appearance as if the forced rest has done them the world of good.

The press cautions punters to be careful when racing resumes in the Transvaal, and turnover for the first meeting at Newmarket is well below normal. Newmarket officials, quite wrongly, have a go at the press for this. Turnovers return to normal within a few meetings.

March

The Sun International is postponed until September, so as not to clash with the re-scheduled J&B Met, which takes place in April. The first two legs of the Triple Crown, the Richelieu Guineas and Southern Sun Classic are both cancelled.

Sea Cottage dies - (Sea Cottage - SA Racehorse - May 1987)

The Cape Summer Sale, run for the first time by Chris Smith is postponed till March. The sale grosses just over R2 million, with the top price of R130 000 (paid for the Piaffer colt Frenchman's Reef) also a new record. Scant attention is paid to the first progeny of Russian Fox.

The TBA asks breeders whose National Sales yearlings were not affected by the virus to refrain from advertising this. The organisation shows scant consideration for prospective buyers in this respect. Cape stud Broadlands, which had gone to great lengths to avoid the virus, quite rightly ignores the directive, and advertises its stud has having been ?virus-free'.

The Eastern Cape is linked to the Western Cape's computerised Tote, both on and off-course. The PE Turf Club, founded in 1857, elects Rose Parker as its first woman steward.

April

6 April 1987 - Gr1 Computaform Sprint - Gosforth Park - Welcome Guest

11 April 1987 - Gr1 Lancome Handicap - Gosforth Park - Young Lady
The Gr1 Lancome Handicap (?Ladies Day' at Gosforth Park) is won by Young Lady. , and Pedometer saunters home in the SA Derby run on the same day.

18 April 1987 - Gr1 SA Nursery Plate - Turffontein - Imperial Silver

18 April 1987 - J&B Metropolitan Stakes - Kenilworth - Model Man
The J&B Met, three months late, is won by Model Man. Enchanted Garden runs a close second in what appears to have been a slow run race.

20 April 1987 - Gr2 SA Derby - Turffontein – Pedometer ?
Pedometer saunters home in the SA Derby run on the same day.

20 April 1987 - Gr2 SA Oaks - Turffontein -Seven Stars?
Bargain buy Seven Stars (bought by mistake for R2000 at the 1985 National Sales) wins the SA Oaks

National Sales (see SA Racehorse - July 1987)
Mr Hawaii shatters the yearling record at the National Sales, when the hammer falls at R510 000. Delta Bloodstock are the buyers, Colin Palm the underbidder. Second highest price is shared by two R350 000 colts, Bradley North and Glen Master. Top-priced filly is She's A Champ, sold for R210 000.

Chris Smith is top buyer, signing for a total of R3.2 million.

Postponed a few weeks because of the flu, the sales take place at the end of April. Turnover is up 38% on the year before, and the average price climbs from R31 000 to R43 000. Select yearlings contribute less than a third to the total.

Turf Blazer goes for R80 000, Yquem R77 000, and Senor Santa R50 000. Roland's Song fetches a modest R20 000. The filly Winner's Circle passes through the ring unsold.

 

May

May 1987 - Sun International - cancelled due to Equine Flu
16 May 1987 - Gr1 SA Guineas (previously Chris Smith Bloodstock Guineas) - Greyville - Sloop
Sloop is the surprise winner of the Natal Guineas, at 20/1, a neck ahead of Main Man. Sloop breaks the track record in the process, running the 1600m in 1.34. Bush Telegraph has a virus and is absent.

23 May 1987 - Gr1 Smirnoff Plate - Scottsville - Imperial Silver
Imperial Silver wins the Smirnoff, and follows up on July Day, winning the Administrator's, still the biggest test for juveniles in South Africa.

23 May 1987 – The Gr2 Cape of Good Hope Nursery Futurity - Kenilworth - Corn Belt
The Cape Nursery is turned into a procession, when Corn Belt beats Simonside by over 5 lengths, in fast time. Corn Belt dies later in the season, and his owners are almost certainly denied a great earning opportunity.
26 May 1987 - Gr1 SA Fillies Guineas - Scottsville - Cerulean Blue

30 May 1987 - Gr2 Republic Day Handicap - Greyville – Melun
Melun scores a victory in the Republic Day Handicap, usually a pointer to the July.

Several horses (from different yards) run inexplicable races on the Rand, and rumours of ?nobbling' abound.

Chris Smith and the TBA have joined forces in Natal and in 1987 there is just one Natal yearling sale. Sales topper is Garda, which goes for R80 000. Colin Palm secures Miss Averof for just R11,000.

 

June

6 June 1987 - Gr1 Daily News (previously SA 2000) - Greyville - Bush Telegraph
Bush Telegraph wins the Daily News 2000 as he likes; favourite Pedometer, a stable companion of Main Man, runs fourth.

13 June 1987 - Natal Administrator's Champion Stakes - Clairwood - Model Man
Model Man wins the Schweppes, six lengths ahead of Jungle Rock, and takes his career earnings to R800 000.

20 June 1987 - Cape of Good Hope Derby - Kenilworth - Mark Anthony
The normally dreary Cape winter sets many hearts racing. Mark Anthony wins the Cape Derby

23 June 1987 - Gr1 Allan Robertson Fillies Futurity (previously Allan Robertson Fillies Championship) - Scottsville - Prairie Oyster

27 June 1987 - Gr1 Gilbey Stakes - Scottsville - Bold West

27 June 1987 - JWS Langerman Handicap - Milnerton - Young England
Young England scores by five lengths in the Langerman Handicap, even though the race is not really a handicap anymore since racefigures took over. Young England (odds of 1/3 with 10/1 the field) follows up with an equally easy five lengths in the Boland Breeders. Shades of Prince Florimund!

30 June 1987 - Gr1 Garden Province Stakes - Greyville - Alpine Silk

 

July

July 1987 - Stakes raised in PE

July 1987 - Dancing Brave

July 1987 - Bartie Leisher in Hong Kong

4 July 1987 - Gr1 Administrator's Champion Juvenile Futurity Stakes - Greyville - Imperial Silver

4 July - Gr1 Rothmans Durban July Handicap -Greyville - Bush Telegraph
The 25th running of the Rothmans July is a great victory for Bush Telegraph, who retains his flawless record in a new course record time. He beats the year-older Model Man fair and square, but of course in receipt of lots of weight: 8 kilos. Garth Puller, who rode the Bush in all his starts to date, had to waste to make the weight of 49kg.

25 July 1987 - Gr1 Mainstay / Clairwood Winter Handicap - Clairwood - Main Man
For the Mainstay the Clairwood handicapper penalises Bush Telegraph 4 kilos for his win in the July, an unreasonably stiff penalty. It seals the fate of the Bush, who is bound to go under to Model Man. The Heming colt's tactics were clearly well planned and brilliantly executed by Jeff Lloyd. From a wide draw, Main Man took the lead going into the bend and just managed to hold on at highly generous odds of 10/1.

29 July 1987 – At the last meeting in July at Newmarket, Jeff Lloyd makes a desperate attempt to break Muis Roberts' record of 203 winners in a season. Lloyd starts the afternoon on 202, rides a winner early on, then gets beaten twice in a row on favourites. He finally makes it 204, though, on the Ferraris horse Island Paradise in the Maurice Passmore Handicap over 1800m.

August

The Pick Six sees the light of day in the Cape, early in August, almost a year after the bet was introduced in Natal. Racegoers on the Rand still have to do without the big bet.

Despite the interruption caused by the flu, Highveld TAB turnover for the season improves to R261 million. Telephone betting accounted for R63 million of the total, the TAB boasting almost 17,000 telephone account holders. The Province collected R27 million.

Secret Prospector arrives at Aldora Stud for the new breeding season. Chris Saunders imports Slewpendous. Truly Nureyev, Mr Justice and Fantasy ?n Reality are new acquisitions for the Cape. Prontisimo and Enchantment stand their first season at the Beck-farms, together with Steady Beat, a son of Alydar. Summerhill's latest acquisition is Mount Hagen.

Following a decision by the Jockey Club not to publish official statistics for the season, the Association of Raceclubs decided very early in the year that because of the flu it would also not be possible to hand out the usual Horse of the Year and other awards. This proved to be a rash, unthinking decision, and one that could easily have been rectified later on in the year. Fortunately for posterity, both the SA Racehorse and Winner's Circle have their own awards, which not surprisingly fall to the same horse: Model Man. He may not have been the official Horse of the Year for 1987, but he may well have been the best horse of the decade!

South African bloodstock agents form a new association, to give recognition to bona-fide agents. There is a strict code of conduct that members will have to adhere to. Chris Smith is elected the first chairman of the association.

The Natal Breeders vote Smith their Man of the Year, and Imperial Silver Horse of the Year.

1 August 1987 - Gr1 Durban Gold Cup - Greyville - Aquanaut
Another star emerges when Aquanaut runs away with the Game Gold Cup, leaving favourite Pedometer in his wake.

8 August 1987 - Gr1 Champion Stakes - Greyville - Model Man (SA's first equine Millionaire)
Model Man wins the Championship Stakes (WFA) and takes his earnings past the Million, the first horse in South African history to do so, and as later events show, the only horse to do so during the Eighties. Jungle Cove heads the seasonal sire statistics, from Royal Prerogative and Elliodor. Highlands Farms are the leading breeders.

15 August 1987 - Gr1 Natal Flying Championship (previously Mercury Sprint) - Clairwood - Lord Randolph

 

September

12 September 1987 - Gr1 Sun International - Pedometer
The Sun International is run in October, and controversy reigns once again when Desert Legend is eliminated from the final field. The stated reason is that the gelding seems doubtful to see out the distance. Owner Factor is considering court action to re-instate the colt. Desert Legend's subsequent career shows that he's indeed not a 2000m horse.

The race is won in devastating fashion by Pedometer, who wins by an unbelievable 14 lengths. The victory clearly supported the case for Aquanaut in the R300 000 OK Gold Bowl. Favourite at 2/1, the big Foveros colt leaves no doubt about his superior stamina and wins as he likes.

 

October

The TBA has a Super Sale at Germiston, where Main Man makes history. He's sold for R1 million, a South African first, but two of the original three owners retain their shareholding in the colt.

A ringer wins at the Vaal, in a leg of the Jackpot at that. The horse is backed from 20/1 to 4/1, but it is only a few days after the meeting that an enquiry is opened after a tip-off. The parties involved are recommended to be warned off, but the confidence in the stipes takes another knock.

The Transvaal Trainers Association (quite different from the OTA!) threatens a boycott of Saturday meetings, as Saturday clubs refuse to contribute to the trainers' medical aid, expenses previously borne by the OTA (!). How silly can you get? Quite silly apparently, as trainers scratch two thirds of the horses nominated for a big, sponsored Turffontein meeting, which forces the club into negotiation with trainer's representatives.

The chief stipe in the Transvaal, it is announced, will be Frank McGrath, about to return from Mauritius. Racing on the island is notorious for its bookmaker's involvement, but equally notorious for the stiff sentences meted out with regularity in connection with ?running and riding' offences. It appears that the arrival of McGrath will herald tougher times for everyone on the Highveld.

Sandy Christie's one-man commission publishes its first reports, on the subject of feature races, stakes, the improvement of quality of horses racing on the Highveld, marketing and promotion, and rationalisation of the tote. Winner's Circle runs an article on the reports, headed "What the Butler Saw - first fruits of the Christie commission's labour hit the fan". More reports on a variety of subjects are to follow, the meatiest and most controversial ones last. Watch this space!

 

November

Cape Breeders vote Hyman Maisel their Man of theYear, and Model Man the Best Older Horse. Bush Telegraph predictably is best Cape-bred three-year-old. Maisel, chairman of the Cape breeders, echoes the previous year's sentiments in his opening speech, and signals a need for initiative.

Powerbase protectors, he says, must be made to see the negative input of their self-indulgence. The system under which racing currently operates is not geared towards creating a climate suitable for the encouragement of entrepreneurial development. And: "A national racing council should be established in which all sections of the industry are represented. And election to this body must be the democratic right of anyone involved in the industry. We can no longer allow our vision of the future to be a mirror of the past." Didn't newly appointed Jockey Club chairman Ruffel speak similar words a few years ago?

7 November 1987 - Gr1 Germiston November Handicap - Gosforth Park - Cup Holder

14 November 1987 - Gr2 SA Invitation Stakes - Scottsville - Priceless Asset
Priceless Asset wins the SA Invitation, ridden by Michael Roberts. The former champion jockey has just returned from a successful season's riding in the UK, where he finished eighth in the jockeys table. Priceless Asset is yet another topclass three-year-old from the Kannemeyer yard, which also houses Young England and Coolstar. Invitation Stakes day sees Scottsville turnover soar to new heights, reaching R3.4 million.

21 November 1987 - Gr1 Gosforth Park Fillies Guineas - Gosforth Park – Love of London

28 November 1987 -Gr1 First National 300 000 -Yardmaster
Yardmaster wins the R300 000 First National (WFA), a race for which Main Man was favourite in the absence of Model Man, who has tendon problems. Main Man finishes a street length last, and jockey Roberts suspects the horse has heart trouble.

 

December

12 December 1987 – Turffontein celebrates its centenary with a meeting worth R825 000 in stakes. Singing Boy wins the main race on the day, the R300 000 Centenary Stakes over 20000m, but has to survive an objection to do so. It is the beginning of a long and successful association between the son of Foveros and the Turffontein track.

12 December 1987 - Gr1 Blue Chip RTS Dingaan's Handicap - Turffontein - Sealegs

26 December 1987 - Gr1 Queen's Plate - Kenilworth - Mark Anthony

The Pick Six proves a great success and boosts turnovers in Natal and the Cape. It is late in December, more than a year after Natal introduced the bet, that the Transvaal sees fit to follow.
Changed to Grade 2's (do we include ??)
Gr2 TAB Tvl Colts - Gosforth Park - 2 May 1997 - My Freedom ?
Gr2 TAB Tvl Fillies - Gosforth Park - 2 May 1987 - Copper Tan?
Not sure of dates

At Kenilworth, the stewards approve the building of a new stand, at a cost of about R5 million.

1987 sees the loss of Jungle Cove, Royal Prerogative, Jamaico, Singh, Caerdeon, Father Rooney and Lords.

 

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