After 21 years of working for a company with long hours and lots of travelling, ROB SCOTT, decided it’s now time to do something less stressful with more time to devote to his passion which is horse racing. His family are all involved in racing and he has teamed up with his brother, Colin, to train his horses for him. He admits to being a keen punter and is particularly proud, and happy, that he backed SAGE THRONE at 25/1 when he won his first race. This coming Saturday SAGE THRONE takes his place in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Gold Cup. Rob feels the son of Dynasty is ideally suited to the 3200m trip but could prefer the longer straight at Clairwood. Despite the opposition, Rob is quietly confident that in SAGE THRONE he has a horse who has the credentials to win this great test of stamina. WINNING FORM will be right behind him and wishes him well. If Rob wins, it could be a boost for the ‘smaller’ owners in the game.
What is your name and age? Rob Scott.
What is your star sign and birthdate? Pisces, 24 February 1970.
Where were you born? Bloemfontein.
Where do you live? Woodmead Springs in Sandton.
Tell us about your family? I am happily divorced! I have three beautiful daughters Keelan, Erin and Sinead. Colin is my brother who trains for me and my dad Tom is his assistant, they both live in Durban. I have a sister Janet who lives in Gauteng. My mom sadly passed away two years ago.
Do you have a ‘nickname’? My nickname is “fat boy“.
Favourite food? A good fillet steak.
Favourite drink? As much as possible! Any SAB beer or Johnny Black whiskey.
Favourite music? I like a wide variety of music and my favourite band is Just Ginger.
Favourite sport? Horseracing.
Are you interested in soccer and, if so, which is your favourite soccer team? I love football, my team is Tottenham Hotspur.
Favourite holiday destination? Any place where I can drink a beer and watch the ocean.
Where did you go to school? CBC Bloemfontein and Queens High in Gauteng.
What sports did you take an interest in at school? I played cricket, football and rugby.
You grew up in a racing family, tell us about your childhood? My dad was heavily involved with all aspects of racing from training to breeding in the Free State. My uncle George is still training and back in those days was the leading trainer in Bloemfontein. My other uncle Trevor was an avid punter and owner, so as far back as I remember I was exposed to racing in all its forms. I guess it was always on the cards that Colin and I would be involved. We had a great upbringing in Bloemfontein. My parents did whatever they could to give us a great education and life-style.
How did you become involved with horse racing and what was it that attracted you to the sport of kings? Trevor Lange and my dad went down to Highdown Stud in the midlands to look at a few horses for Colin and Lucky. I ended up buying twelve horses and the rest I guess is history.
When did you get your colours? Seven years ago.
Did you design your own colours or did you just pick what was available? My dad actually picked them for me. I think the winning flag was apt.
Are you a punting man, what is the most memorable betting coup you have pulled off? I am a very keen punter. SAGE THRONE’s first win for Colin was a nice memory as I backed him in from 25-1.
Having worked for Edcon for many years your business career was in retailing. Did you find that horseracing gave you a nice contrast from your everyday life? My racing interest is a personal thing. I love racing with my brother and nothing can beat the thrill of leading in a winner with him. I also have many friends in racing and it’s a whole social thing, there is a big team behind the racing venture and I enjoy the company of the whole team. It’s become an integral part of my life. I can be flippant rather than worry about business issues.
What was your position at Edcon? I was the general manager at Jet.
What did your working day at Edcon consist of? Long hours and lots of travelling. I did it for twenty one years and felt I needed a change.
What is your philosophy in business? As my late mom used to say hard work never killed anyone and a bit of luck is always a good recipe for success.
Now that you have left Edcon what is your business? Importing for retailers and some consulting work.
How many horses do you own? Too many!
How many horses do you own in partnership? Most of my partnerships are with Keith Steinberg from Two Oceans Racing.
You have quite a few horses with the Two Oceans Racing Syndicate, how did this partnership come about? I had business dealings with Keith and found out that he has an interest in racing and that led us to buying some horses together.
Do you currently have any new and exciting horses which we could be seeing in the near future? I have a nice looking crop of babies but I tend not to listen to the talk, you only really know how good the horse is in a race. We ran a nice Var baby a few weeks ago as a two year old. She bumped a good sort of Duncan Howells. She looks pretty good.
Owning horses in partnership is taking off. It is obviously a less expensive way of getting into racing. In your opinion what would you say is the right amount of partners to have in the horse? I think it’s a clever idea, however, I guess that it adds huge work load to the trainer. It will be the future as there are less big owners coming into the game, and it sure gets boring watching the same silks in the winners enclosure.
In your syndicate who makes the decisions regarding your horses? I try to leave things up to Colin as much as possible, Keith likes to get more involved and chats to Colin directly. Ultimately, I would say Colin makes the decisions.
Who trains for you apart from your brother, Colin? I only have horses with Colin.
You and your brother have had tons of success in the past, what were some of the better horses you two raced together? I am pretty close to having a 100 winners, Extinct was a top sprinter who was placed in group 1 company. Cool Prospect won 11 races and of course SAGE THRONE.
Do you own horses purely for the fun and enjoyment it brings or do you try to make it profitable? Mostly fun, but I try limit the losses.
How many Grade 1’s have you won? None.
How many feature races have you won? SAGE THRONE won the Natal Derby but lost it in the boardroom. It was an extremely disappointing day, especially as I think that the guys got it wrong.
Is it fair to say that SAGE THRONE is the best horse you own right now? Yes, that would be true.
How did you acquire him? I am a big fan of Dynasty and purchased him off the Graham Beck dispersal sale in Cape Town.
When you bought him was he showing good form and did you take the chance and buy him hoping that he would improve? He had run two poor runs as a two year old and I felt that he more than likely should not have run as a two year old as the Dynasty’s mature with age. He also needed to be cut quite badly. I must also give John McVeigh credit as he told me that he was the right horse out of my selected shortlist.
SAGE THRONE ran a good race in the July when only beaten just over 6 lengths. How pleased were you with that run and how did he take the run? We were pleased as I don’t think that the race was run in our favour but he did not have a hard race and we are looking forward to the Gold Cup.
His mission has always been the Gold Cup. You must rate his chance very high. What does your brother, Colin, think about his chance of winning? It is always difficult to label a horse in a Group 1 especially with the fire power that the big yards come with. We have always felt he is up there with the best stayers in the country so I would say that we are quietly confident.
SAGE THRONE has a very good record at Greyville. Do you think that is ideal and will it increase his chances on the big day? I would like to be honest and say that I would be more confident if the Gold Cup was at Clairwood as a longer straight will suit us better. However, he has been crying for the ground and I don’t think that Greyville will be a problem for us.
What has been your most memorable experience with SAGE THRONE being it winning a race or anything? Winning his first race as I would never have heard the end of it from Colin if the horse was soup meat!!! And we backed him. For other reasons the high of winning the Derby and then the low of having the race taken away.
Apart from SAGE THRONE which is your best horse? I have high hopes for CAVIAR.
What attracted you to the horse. Was it his breeding or did you like him on looks? Breeding and looks, he is a magnificent specimen.
How interested are you in the breeding side of the game? I am, but am considering exiting as I think breeding is for breeders. If you want to race you are better off selecting your own stock.
Do you spend any time studying bloodlines or do you leave that to Colin? I like to look at the bloodline and then Colin or Jane Thomas picks the specimen.
Do you like to visit stud farms to see the ‘babies’ before they come up for sale? I would love to, but don’t really have the time.
Are you keen on buying ‘babies’ or do you prefer to buy horses which have shown some ability on the track? I prefer buying ‘babies’ but owning a top horse is the dream. I am not in the league of the Sheiks who can pick the proven animals.
What do you look for in a horse when inspecting it, to buy? To be honest I leave that up to Colin or Jane that’s their area of expertise.
Did you ever buy a horse for Colin to train without getting the nod of approval from him? I have done so on occasion especially after too much castle lager! However I try to leave it in his hands.
What is the best horse you have owned which you bought completely on your own judgment? I would say SAGE THRONE.
How many horses did you purchase at the Suncoast sale? None.
Do you prefer to take your horses straight into the yard when you buy them or do you like them to spend some time on a spelling farm? I send them to Jane Thomas at Far End farm and she does a fantastic job preparing them for Colin. She is excellent and an integral part of the team.
You and your brother, Colin, are obviously passionate about racing. How does the rest of your family feel about racing? We are all part of the team and passionate about the game.
From what you have seen and experienced do you think racing is ‘straight’? Yes, I think the negative people forget that we are dealing with flesh and blood and I am yet to meet the person who speaks horse! Where there is money there will always be elements of dishonesty but I think it’s few and far between.
What is your opinion on the NHA’s decision to stop betting operators from sponsoring trainers? I think it is nonsense, it’s a free economy and if trainers can earn an income that way it should be allowed. Trainers have a tough time and need all the help they can get.
The saying is “Behind every successful man is an equally successful woman”. Does this apply to Rob Scott? My daughters boss me about and keep me on my toes, my sister tries to look after me as far as possible.