One of our most experienced and well-travelled horseman, former trainer Neil Bruss passed away on Wednesday morning after a short illness.
He hailed from a family steeped in horseracing. His father Les registered his silks in 1943 as an owner-trainer and was a founding member of Borrowdale racecourse in 1957.
Neil’s brother Robin is the breeder of the newly crowned SA Horse Of The Year, Do It Again.
Following a training career spanning over four decades in destinations from England to Madagascar and the Middle East, Neil Bruss, a seven-times champion trainer of Zimbawe operated small strings out of Durban and Cape Town in the 21st century and was a forthright no-nonsense horseman and a charismatic and restless spirit.
He will be fondly remembered for his impeccable preparation of Zebra Crossing to win the J&B Met for his brother Robin in 2006. He also proved his prowess when training a PE refugee, Paris Perfect and a rejuvenated former lead horse, Muller into third and fourth place finishes in the 2009 Dubai World Cup.
A straight-talker, Neil Bruss was a well-liked jovial personality who made no secret of the fact that it was a waste of time training in South Africa for a profit of only a few hundred rands per horse, while stakes have gone backwards.
This brought his pioneering spirit into play yet again and he jetted off to Saudi Arabia as recently as 2016.
He won what was to be his final Gr1 there in March 2017 when God’s Speed won the prestigious King Abdulaziz Racetrack Championship Cup.
Neil was married to Sally Jourdaan, Stud Manager at Lammerskraal.
We extend our condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.