Half A Century of Racing Heroes

Who Were Your Favourites?

Regular reader William Milkovitch sent us his thoughts after 5 decades of watching South Africa’s equine heroes.  

“I couldn’t resist trying to compare generations.  Others readers input might jog my memory, or make me think.”

Horse Chestnut – 131

The galloping clinic he put on in The Met as a 3 and a half year old, is the best I’ve ever witnessed. On that day, I would have liked him to have been pressed by a UK 10 furlong performer at the 500/400 metre marker. Maybe like a Royal Anthem, rated 125.

He came back, stood in front of the rails, calm, coat still relatively dry, had a pick of grass and look up at the grandstand as if to say…. Ok, what’s next ?

Watching this, we race fans just looked at each other, almost in shock and I said ” That was The Metropolitan that was just run.”

1999 J&B Met

Horse Chestnut wins the 1999 J&B Met


Model Man – 128

At least 3 world class performances over 125. One of a few that have won Grade 1 races at our 3 main racing centre’s and managed to remain sound and unmarked from the Highveld and surf experience.

Even his 2nd to Bush Telegraph in the 1987 July was world class giving away 8 kg’s a few weeks before the 3yo winner turned 4.

Model Man, 1987 Champion Stakes

1987 Champion Stakes – Model Man


Mark Antony – 126

Pulsating Queens Plate win, beating Royal Chalice. Most racing fans rate his Met win as his best, but not for me.

Mark Anthony

Mark Anthony


Prince Florimund – 126+

He defeated Wolf Power twice in Durban in 1982. With international opposition, it’s my humble opinion, he could have been another SA horse with 130+ potential.

Prince Florimund

Prince Florimund


Politician – 126

His victories in Cape Town were a cut above the rest. 1979 Met win his best for me.

Bert and Politician



Wolf Power – 125

Most beloved miler but I rate his 1984 Met win his best !

Wolf Power

Wolf Power


Variety Club – 125

His win in the Champions Mile is a 125 for me. Others rate it just a 124.

2014 Hong Kong Champions Mile

Variety Club


JJ The Jet Plane – 124

The second Scotsville win under handicap conditions and his victory at Sha Tin over Rocket Man, rates as the best sprinting performance I’ve seen.

JJ The Jet Plane wins the 2010 Hong Kong Sprint

JJ The Jet Plane and Rocket Man battle it out


Empress Club – 123

I ‘m a bit hesitant about the pure merit of a few of her wins? Indeed, she was the most newsworthy female I’ve seen on the turf.

Empress Club

“The Galloping Goldmine” – Empress Club


“I Wonder “

As always, I have a few regrets / omissions due to the lack of tapes, my age and “know how” at about 18 years old, it made it difficult for me to assess these few below:


Gold Cup win of 1980 carrying 58kg. I can’t assess this performance adequately.



Sea Cottage

1967 Clairwood Winter Handicap win under 61.5 kg ! Where were Sportsfokus and Edwill van Aarde that afternoon ….damn.

Sea Cottage

Sea Cottage


And then,

William Penn

My father and my Aunt Cynthia always spoke, in awe about his two defeats :

The 1972 Met run and his second in the 1968 July. I remember, a year before my Dad died, sitting around the table at my Aunt’s the Sunday after the 1975 Met. They had won on Sledgehammer, but agreed that William Penn would have given Sledgehammer a hiding on any day of the week ?!

William Penn

William Penn


Those are William’s heroes.  Who are yours?

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