New Representative to head up Gavelhouse

David Mickelburgh

The new representative in South Africa is one-time racing journalist, bloodstock agent and  “insignificant owner” David Mickleburgh, who is based in Mooi River, in the heart of the Kwa Zulu Natal horse breeding country.  He retired from business four years ago “but not from racing”.

His experience as a racing media journalist includes a year with Rhodesia Television where he enjoyed some success as an owner as a partner in the winner of the

Castle Tankard, then the country’s premier long distance race. Today he is full of admiration for the stalwarts behind Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) racing since the transition in government. “It is difficult not to be impressed by how the owners and breeders have hung on during the most difficult times imaginable until today, while stakes are hardly grand, horse racing and breeding is probably as strong as it has ever been, even producing some international performers of note like Ipi Tombi”

During his career, David wrote a column for the Natal Witness under the pseudonym of St Simon, (who he believes as “one of the greatest racehorse ever, unbeaten, and a highly influential stallion”) when racing editor Andrew Harrison was on vacation, wrote many racing features for the Natal Mercury when a senior reporter on the paper, was a regular correspondent for the highly respected S A Racehorse when it was owned by the highly respected E P Nelson and while Africa To-day was the flagship of Republican Press David was its racing editor. He also served as Africa correspondent for the UK glossy industry magazine Pacemaker.

As a sub-teen David remembers clearly the first bet he had on a racehorse when with the connivance of his Grandmother he had two shilling each way on Milesia Pride when it won the July in 1949. This “partnership” with his paternal grandmother was a very profitable one every time a mare or filly looked promising. Granny backed it for herself and her grandson. So in 1950 when Milesia Pride one again the pair collected again, as they did with Gay Jane and Migraine,  Diza and Devon Air. Unfortunately Granny did not live to see the extraordinary performances of Ipi Tombi and Dancer’s Daughter.

The Mickleburgh association with racehorses goes back generations into Ireland and looks good to continue for a while. His eldest daughter, now resident in Australia managed one Natal’s largest boarding and breeding establishments, his youngest son worked briefly for a legend in South African racing, Graham Beck before moving to the UK where he worked under Major Fergusson training Prince Charles’ polo ponies. He then emigrated to the USA where he has his own horse transport business specializing in rapid transit “raids”,  The one remaining offspring in South Africa is Pippa who manages the Avontuur wine and horse breeding complex where stands speed merchant VAR, who is proving hugely successful as a sire. Two grandchildren now aspire to becoming vets.  David’s youngest daughter Tammy is married to Craig Ramsay, former owner of Golden Acres, a prominent breeding/ boarding establishment in Mooi River.They are now residents of Cambridge, New Zealand where Craig operates a stallion station.

While the advantages of dealing on-line may not yet be fully appreciated in his country, as the Gavelhouse representative in Southern Africa, David believes it will not be long before sellers on the African continent begin to accept the web as a “most cost effective vehicle for trading horses, providing a 24/7 selling vehicle that never sleeps”.

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