After a half century in the game, one of the icons and great stalwarts of South African horseracing and breeding turns 82 on Saturday.
Champion breeder Robin Scott told the Sporting Post earlier this week that he had ‘nothing much planned’ for the day.
Asked what his secret to a long and good life was, he said that ‘smoking was bad’ but that ‘if you don’t drink you will never get there!’
“I still work and keeping the brain and mind active is very important I believe. I have had my time of celebrating – the 30’s,40’s, 50’s,60’s and 70’s. Now we just enjoy reaching the next one,” he laughed.
In 1967 the dairy farm across from Ivanhoe Stud came up for sale and Robin, along with his brothers Des and Neville established Highdown Stud.
After having boxed at the highest level for 50 long years, he once suggested that breeding racehorses was ‘like a pendulum’.
“You do well for a bit and then you don’t and then of course, the thing swings back”.
The Scott Bros are from Irish stock, with their father hailing from Belfast and their mother also from Northern Ireland.
Their story has its roots in the sands of Isipingo beach, where Robin and boyhood friend George Rowles galloped George’s father’s racehorses across the beach and took part at the local gymkhanas.
At the age of 22, with some financial assistance from his mother, Robin opened the first Scotts Shoe Store at the bottom of Berea Road in Durban.
Brother Des joined in running the retail business which flourished into a national chain comprising 120 shoe and clothing stores, four shoe factories and three clothing factories. Brother Neville was a farmer, who worked for the Oppenheimer’s dairy in White River.
Robin and Des had a number of horses in training and the distinctive Scott livery of black, white maltese cross, red sleeves and white cap became a firm fixture in winner’s enclosures across the country.
“Devon Air was my favourite horse to race,” remembers Robin. “We bought her in the UK, brought her over here and she won three Grade 1 races – the Greyville 1900, the July and the Gold Cup – in three months. The best horses I raced were Jungle Class and Bold West; both were multiple Grade 1 winners trained by Herman Brown.”
Another to carry their silks with distinction was Spanish Pool and they had a particularly close and successful association with Terrance Millard, to whom they entrusted the likes of Sunera, Prontissimo and July winning, Devon Air and Illustrador.
The first stallions to stand at Highdown were Kimberly Kid and the imported Ambiopoise.
With a policy of only breeding from high quality mares, the original broodmare band consisted of 30 mares, most of which are still active in the stud book and include the likes of Lenore, purchased from Archie Dell.
She produced Leta (grandam of Steiger) and several generations on, The Apache.
The first stallions to stand at Highdown were Kimberly Kid and the imported Ambiopoise. With a policy of only breeding from high quality mares, the original broodmare band consisted of 30 mares, most of which are still active in the stud book and include the likes of Lenore, purchased from Archie Dell. She produced Leta (grandam of Steiger) and several generations on, The Apache.
While there have been numerous breeding highlights over the years, Politician was an early and obvious standout who came along after only 6 years in business.
Politician may have put the Scott Bros on the map, but with the help of champion sires Jungle Cove and Foveros among others, there have been many subsequent successes. They were also responsible for breeding Arctic Cove and Jungle Rock and more recent stars Eton Square, Orbison, Meadow Magic, The Apache and recent Gold Cup winner, Wild One.
Have a great one Robin!