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Braam Backs His Eagle

Even Eagles Attract VAT

The Braam van Huyssteen money will go on in earnest – no matter how short the price – when Legal Eagle attempts to win the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate for the third successive year at Kenilworth on Saturday, writes Michael Clower.

Braam van Huyssteen is flanked by fellow legends Paul Lafferty and James Gooodman

Never mind the old adage that you shouldn’t buy money by betting at odds-on, the superstar’s new owner believes it would be an act of craven disloyalty not to support him with hard cash and plenty of it. “Absolutely,” he insisted. “I have to back my horse. I know my mate Billy will back him and I have to as well.”

My mate Billy is the Brisbane-based William Henderson whose advice the Bentley-driving Tekkie Town boss sought when he realised he was in with a chance of buying an equine legend.

“When all the bad news hit out there last month, I started to inquire – tongue in cheek really – about Edict Of Nantes and Legal Eagle,” Van Huyssteen recalled. “I was told by Derek Brugman that all the horses would be up for sale.

“Listen,” I said. “I would like to put my name in the hat for both of them. I didn’t know what offers would be made but I knew there would be a lot of interest. Billy is a guy who knows about these things as well as being a good mate.

Legal Eagle – treads a well worn path on Saturday

“He told me: ‘Braam, here is an opportunity to buy a proven Group 1 horse. Let’s go for it.’ I also spoke to another mate of mine, Hedley McGrath in Port Elizabeth. He won a Group 1 with Copper Parade and he said much the same.”

By this time Van Huyssteen had decided to whittle his purchasing ambitions down to just one of the two Markus Jooste stars. “It was my pocket that decided me – I’d lost a few bob of late and Edict Of Nantes was out of my reach. Even then I had to up my offer.”

The price quoted on many websites was R3.2 million. Van Huysteen laughed. “Plus VAT,” he corrected.

Seemingly, though, he gave no thought about the possibility of the horse recovering his purchase price in this month alone. “Not at all,” he insisted. “It’s not what you spend, it’s that on a big day I will have the opportunity to win a Group 1. I have bought some 400 horses already in my life, hoping and dreaming, and maybe God will shine the light on me this time.”

Champion – Dual SA Horse Of The Year Legal Eagle

And the Met?  Does he believe that Legal Eagle will make it third time lucky after finishing second in the last two years? 

See how Hollywood are betting on the Sun Met

Van Huysteen smiled as he acknowledged the question. “I have to be honest, I’m not a racing connoisseur like you guys. For me it’s all about the Queen’s Plate at the moment. Let’s see how we go in that. After Saturday we can consider what comes next.”


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12 comments on “Braam Backs His Eagle

  1. James George says:

    No good deed goes unpunished.

  2. Ralph Fell. says:

    Invoking God to assist in ‘overseeing’ the horse’s performance is disgraceful, especially due to the havoc that the previous owner wrought. And to attempt to have his jollies will he ask for a stretch and take 3.5bar/5bar? The article paints the beautiful sport in a sordid light. P.S. And I’m good agnostic boytjie.

  3. David James says:

    This story has some kind of sick conitation. Sorry after 400 horses , money cant buy you love. I had huge respect for Braam , however this story I have to say even if Legal Eagle wins Braams first Grade 1 , he will only be remembered for that , the horse that bought a group 1. That is such a shame for a great horse . Sad very sad.

    1. Nicolin Naidoo says:

      Very sad? What’s very sad is Markis jooste. Good on Braam for accepting this wonderful horse into his ownership.


    Mr. Fell and Mr. David James,

    That’s the same sentiments that I have. And on a day when L’Ormarins want to show first time attendee’s how marvellous this sport is.


  5. lazarus says:

    I disagree with you all. Watching a horse like legal eagle race in the queens plate and attempt to win said race for a third year in a row is just a dream for me but a dream that will become reality come saturday. Ive a feeling that this is just a bunch of sour grapes from the steinhoff incident again an incident which did not involve legal eagle. Legal eagle is a great race horse something that this country and industry needs at this point in time. I will be backing legal maybe with not as much as mr. Braam but am certainly in the legal eagle corner. Congratulations Mr. Braam on your success at the queen’s plate cause the “gods” will certainly be shining light on you through legal eagle. GO EAGLE!!!!! Queens plate no.3!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Shame Lazarus…you haven’t read well. Legal Eagle, for the countless time, is all of racing’s’ Darling/Hero.

    Everybody wants him to win.

    and I don’t even like sour grapes, some lovely juicy cling peaches would hit the spot.

    Happy New Year


    1. lazarus says:

      Yes William it is a great shame when the focus should be on great race horse about to achive a great milestone but all i see is people complaining bout the fact that the horse changed owners or that the previous owner was involved in some form of “irregular accounting activities” which has nothing to do with horse racing. If you guys are the “fans” youll claim to be then stop complaining. Cause honestly thats all i see. I am a fan of horse racing and a fan of legal eagle . Horse racing in this country can be great but as long as people bring politics into it it will not reach the great heights i know our racing industry can achieve. We are heading into one of the most prestigious racing weekends in this country maybe we should focus on that and not external politics. And in the spirit of good will Mr. William heres a double for you, Legal Eagle and Nother Russia. Good luck!!!! GO EAGLE!!!!!!!

  7. Good Luck Braam.You are an Asset to SA Racing.I am a huge Legal Eagle fan and ate very glad the horse is in good hands.

  8. Albert X says:

    “When all the bad news hit out there last month, I started to inquire – tongue in cheek really – about Edict Of Nantes and Legal Eagle,” Van Huyssteen recalled. “I was told by Derek Brugman that all the horses would be up for sale.”


    Mayfair’s racing manager Derek Brugman said on Saturday: “I couldn’t say anything before this because my hands were tied but we have now made an agreement with the financiers that we can continue racing and continue selling the horses.”

    Brugman said that “long term” the plan is to sell all the horses and added: “We have been given time by the financiers to sell them in a structured manner over a period of time. We are not in a fire-sale situation.”

  9. Russell says:

    wishing you the best

  10. Bertie says:

    I don’t understand this mindset “support him with hard cash and plenty of it”
    He is already racing for a grade one AND a fair chunk of cash – how can the thrill of that be enhanced by backing a horse at odds on.
    It can certainly enhance disappointment in the event of failure.

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