Fine Wines, Fast Horses – And Some Hot Hoops, Too!

Avontuur's MJ & Luke are flying the flag

Breeders of champion racehorses and producers of fine wines for decades, Somerset West-based Avontuur Estate was one of the groundbreaking brands to harness the reciprocal benefits of sponsoring jockeys.

From the early days of the now retired SA Champion Anthony Delpech and multiple East Cape star Greg Cheyne, Avontuur currently boast two flagbearers who enjoy the association with a winning name.

Luke Ferraris – SA Champion Apprentice (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Nestled on the slopes of the Helderberg, Avontuur Estate is often labelled ‘god’s country’. Award-winning wines, two powerful names on the SA sire landscape, and champion racehorses add to the allure of the special place with its spectacular views overlooking False Bay and Table Mountain

Still in the hands of the Taberer family, under the iron-fisted management of long-time GM Pippa Mickleburgh, the scenic farm was acquired by the late Tony Taberer in 1983.

Through the help of his in-laws, Tony Taberer built the world-class infrastructure that exists today. His sons Michael and Philip took over after the passing of their Dad in 2007.

After over thirty years in the system, Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh doesn’t enjoy the label of being part of the furniture – but the fact is that she is, and is for the racing industry, the face of a superbly run professional operation that has produced champions -horses and wines – with consistency.

“Greg Cheyne and Anthony Delpech were our first sponsored jockeys. Things do evolve and life moves on – we then had a great run with up-and-coming apprentices Callan Murray and Lyle Hewitson as our ambassadors – and we were very sad to lose them. Having young professionals on board means that we enjoy the benefits of the social media networking – and they are so good at it – from Facebook to twitter. So we get bang for our buck and reach new markets.”

Pippa is full of praise for her current front men, SA Champion Apprentice Luke Ferraris and last year’s 39 year old Sun Met winning rider, MJ Byleveld – ‘an Avontuur stalwart’ – as she tags him.

MJ Byleveld – Sun Met winner is a stalwart Avontuur brand ambassador (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

“MJ is the epitome of a stalwart. He sells and talks our brand wherever he goes. He understands the culture and loves our products. Unfortunately he is out injured until probably March 2021, so that is a blow. Luke is a young up-and-coming star. Youthful, hip and happening, he has a great network locally and internationally with his folks based in Hong Kong. The duo dovetail perfectly,” she adds proudly.

Pippa goes on to say that she is under no illusions that Luke will be riding on SA soil forever. But while in the fold, he is an asset to Avontuur, and showed again at Kenilworth on Saturday that he can ride winners with the best. He partners Saturday’s Gr1 Cape Guineas favourite, Malmoos.

The value of jockey sponsorship is ‘relatively limited’ says Pippa, but in the racing and breeding community it has an important role to play.

“On the big days it would be really beneficial to get more exposure. MJ won the Met and did his best to give us some air-time. But that’s the commercial constraints of bigger picture events, I suppose. We sponsor our guys because we are reinvesting in the game and it works for us too. It’s a win-win and we are very proud of both of them!”

This is the third in our current series on jockey sponsors. If you would like to tell us about your brand, or are in a position to offer a sponsorship, please drop us a line at [email protected]

Click on the image below to read the latest issue of the SP Sprint

Have Your Say - *Please Use Your Name & Surname

Comments Policy
The Sporting Post encourages readers to comment in the spirit of enlightening the topic being discussed, to add opinions or correct errors. All posts are accepted on the condition that the Sporting Post can at any time alter, correct or remove comments, either partially or entirely.

All posters are required to post under their actual name and surname – no anonymous posts or use of pseudonyms will be accepted. You can adjust your display name on your account page or to send corrections privately to the EditorThe Sporting Post will not publish comments submitted anonymously or under pseudonyms.

Please note that the views that are published are not necessarily those of the Sporting Post.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Popular Posts

Birth Of A Stud – And A Flying Start!

‘We don’t view our investment in the 140 ha new farm as a vanity project. It’s a serious attempt to run a successful enterprise on business principles, focused on the aim of producing top end Graded Stakes winners.’

Read More »