Profile – Carl Burger

Although a relatively new name to the training ranks Carl Burger has had a great deal of experience in the training game. His mentor was Herman Brown (Snr) who taught Carl much of what he knows today and who inspired him to want to see what he could attain to as a trainer. Carl is passionate about having an open and honest relationship with his patrons and with this as his guiding force is determined to do the best for those who entrust their horses to him. After a reasonably slow start to his career Carl’s horses are now starting to come into their own and he is pretty sure that he has two year olds who will soon show top form. The racing game needs new blood and with his passion and determination to succeed Carl is a very welcome newcomer to the training ranks.

What is your name and age? Carl John Burger  51yrs (a.k.a Carlos the Jackal on ABC).

Where do you live? Ottery, Cape Town.

Tell us about your family? Married to Sima Abrahams-Burger and I have a daughter Haniem (13yrs).

How did you become interested in horse racing? My father dragged me along to Blue Lagoon beach where the horses used to work many years ago in 60’s

Who were the people in racing who had the biggest influence on you in your decision to make racing your career? My step-father Jimmy Knox and Herman Brown Snr.

Were you involved in any other business before you came into racing? Yes I was involved in Boxing Promotions as well as a commodity dealer.

Which trainers did you work for before receiving your open licence? Herman Brown Snr, Selvan Moodley, Weiho Marwing and Riaan Van Reenen.

When did you get your trainers licence? October 2009.

How many horses do you currently train? 30.

How many winners have you had to date? 4 winners and many places.

Which do you consider to be the best horse in your yard? Grey Cossack (winner of the Durbanville Cup, my first feature race win November 2010).

Which do you consider to be the horse with most potential in your stable? I have a stable of very well bred horses at the moment. There are lots of 2yr olds which will come into their own when the time is right.

You have the reputation of being a really ‘tough’ guy. How did this reputation come about? Having to fend for myself from an early age definitely gave me an advantage in terms of facing the harsh realities of everyday life. I am known for being a no nonsense type of guy and a very pedantic person.

With the big Cape feature races having been run which Cape horses do you think will be worth following during the KZN winter season? Ebony Flyer, Grey Cossack, What A Winter to name a few.

Which do you consider to be the best horse you have seen racing over the past season? Ebony Flyer.

Do you have a stable jockey and how important to you is having a stable jockey? Yes I do have a stable jockey, Morne “Tekkie Town” Winnaar, and I think it’s extremely important for any stable to have a stable jockey.

You survived a nasty car accident. Having now overcome the effects of that accident has it in any way changed the way you think and approach your life? I think that when you have the opportunity to turn around at deaths door, you tend to appreciate every single moment that you live and all the little things that make up  that life.

Your stable is showing signs of being ready to win races. What are your short term ambitions for your stable and patrons? To win as many races as possible for the owners who have invested in my abilities.

As a shrewd observer of the racing game do you think the game is straight or is there room for improvement? Today with ever changing technology if you don’t let go of legacy practices you can never improve what you do.

What is it about racing that makes you passionate about the game? The thrill of winning a race with a horse that you have worked to its true potential.

How keen are you on the breeding side of horse racing? Not too keen, I think everyone has their niche so I’ll leave that aspect to the breeders.

Do you ever visit stud farms to look at the ‘babies’? All the time.

Do you like to study pedigrees? Yes I do, it allows for informed decisions

How do you go about picking yearlings, or older horses, for your patrons? I have a good few things I need to identify in order to make a decision for e.g. legs and confirmation but not limited to those only.

Which are your favourite stallions? Black Minnaloushe.

When picking yearlings what are the characteristics you most like in a horse? Legs and hind quarters are what I look at first.

Do you have any preference when training sprinters or stayers? No preference – I train them as I find them.

Do you have a favourite racecourse in SA? Greyville is pretty special.

Do you ever advise friends or family to have a punt on a horse you really like? Yes and hopefully they make a profit.

For someone determined to punt horses what sort of bet would you advise if pressed to make an answer? Win and place.

With racing going through some tough times do you think personal ambitions and politics play too big a part in the administration of racing? Definitely. There are too many big egos around and this does not make for smooth administration.

If asked to give your opinion how would you say racing in SA can pull itself out of the doldrums it finds itself? You must have an effective steering committee. Decisions must be made in the best interests of horse racing for e.g. sponsored races should be sponsored 100% and there should be no partial commitment by SA Horseracing.

Which personalities in racing have had a big influence on your career and on your life? Herman Brown Snr.

What is your preferred way to celebrate a big win? Go home and watch the re-runs.

If you have to name the most important lesson you have learnt about racing what would you say that is? To be honest with your patrons.

How do you like to spend your free time? With my wife doing sweet nothing!

Apart from racing what else are you passionate about? Breeding German Shepherds and boxing.

What is your philosophy on the racing game? Hard work definitely pays off.

If you had one piece of advice for your fellow associates in the racing world what would it be? Be honest with your patrons.




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