A Normandy Birthday! 

Cheers to Oscar and Veronica!

It’s a Mom and good Son birthday celebration today with lifetime Cape breeders Veronica and Oscar Foulkes celebrating their respective special day.

Veronica and her 15 year old son Oscar lead In Camera (Garth Puller) in after her debut win (Pic – Supplied)

Nobody’s asking and nobody’s telling ages, but Oscar let slip to the Sporting Post earlier this week that he was born on Mom’s 21st birthday.

The Normandy Stud family are a part of the Cape racing fabric and furniture locally, and have bred a host of Equus and Gr1 champions. And it is no surprise that they will be in action at the Cape Racing Sales Ready To Run Sale at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth next week.

Oscar kindly sent us this beautiful black and white snap of he and Mom leading in the subsequent 1983 Stuttafords Cape Fillies Guineas winner In Camera with Garth Puller up after her debut win.

“I was just 15 at the time, and it was my first day at the races – although I’d watched from the car park prior to that,” he recalls.

“My mother has been living with us in Cape Town since August 2020, having had a series of health crises. She’s bounced back extremely well from those – she’s one of the toughest people I know – and having encountered some tough people in the course of the marathon mountain bikeevents I’ve done – that’s saying a lot,” he adds proudly. He confirms that Veronica spends half the week on the farm, and joins him for the rest of the time in Cape Town.

Veronica was born De Wet and the family settled in Robertson as far back as 1859.

Her parents, Oscar and Margaret de Wet, farmed and her father ran the finest twice a day milking herd of Fresian cattle in the country from their Excelsior farm.

Oscar and Zandvliet’s Paulie de Wet were cousins. “Willie Langerman boarded horses with my grandfather and then my father. My mother did the Thoroughbreds and she loved it,” explains Veronica. “When my father died, she carried on with the horses. My brother Stephen finished school, studied viticulture in Germany and then came home and also took an interest in the horses.” Did Veronica pursue any studies? “Nothing useful,” she smiles mischievously. Excelsior enjoyed success, producing the likes of Country Cousin, San Louis, Gondolier, Ethno Centric and Bushmanland, although Stephen later focused on breeding Arabians instead.

Veronica married veterinarian Tommy Foulkes and the original Normandy was established in 1971, on what is today Litchfield Stud. They later acquired the additional tract of land that the current stud occupies, eventually selling the Litchfield portion to Ken MacKenzie. “Tommy did vet work and I did the stud work, although I learnt an enormous amount – even about small animals. I never lost a patient,” she smiles. “But we worked bloody hard. We’d be up at 6am, even after being up all night for foalings.”

Alongside Tommy, Veronica bred Aquanaut, Enforce etc. Being from the Karoo, Tommy knew all the old families and bought three mares from Alec Robertson, including Tramore and Entre Nous, from which the farm has produced a number of good horses. Entres Nous produced Cape Fillies Guineas winner, In Camera in partnership with the Jaffees. Tramore’s first foal was a colt named Tribesman by New South Wales, who went on to win the 1977 SA Derby. She also produced a Drum Beat filly named Terpsichore, who was a 4-time winner, but more importantly produced French Muse (dam of Horse of the Year, Winter Solstice), and Russian Muse (dam of Mother Russia) with other branches of the family producing the likes of Bravura and Cap Alright.

The story doesn’t end there but you get the idea.

Happy birthday Veronica and Oscar – and many more to both of you!

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