ANDRE HAUPTFLEISCH had early contact with the racing game as both his father and his uncle were keen racing men. His father owned racehorses and Andre was one of his most fervent supporters. Andre’s business, started as a sideline 16 years ago, has now taken off which gives him the freedom to both breed and own horses. Some years ago he raced a filly, Bump n’ Grind who showed amazing courage in racing with an extremely sore knee, which she injured as a young horse. This inspired Andre to put her to Var and the result, as we all know is VIA AFRICA. This Saturday VIA AFRICA takes on some top class sorts in the Southern Cross Stakes over the Kenilworth 1000m. Naturally enough Andre is not being over optimistic about her chance but the confidence is definitely there and racegoers are in for a wonderful race. and all its readers, will be amongst the many who will watch the race with bated breath.
What is your name and age? Gabriël Andrè Hauptfleisch and I am 47 years old.
What is your starsign and birthdate? Leo 21/08/1965.
Where were you born? Bloemfontein, Free State.
Where do you live? Gordon`s Bay, Western Cape.
Tell us about your family? I come from a sport mad family, wife and three kids. One girl (oldest) studying Sport Science and two boys at Paul Roos High School.
Do you have a “nickname”? No.
Favourite book? Not big on reading books, keep to newspapers, business magazines, racing magazines and breeding magazines.
Favourite movie? Shawshank Redemption.
Favourite food? Steak/meat dishes.
Favourite drink? Jameson, whisky.
Favourite music? Most 80`s music and Nickelback.
Favourite sport? Golf, rugby, horseracing, hunting and soccer. Not in this order, but basically any sport.
Are you interested in soccer, if so, which is your favourite soccer team? Yes, Man United!!
Favourite holiday destination? Witsand (Mouth of the Breederiver).
Do you have a role model and if so, who? My biggest influence was my father.
Who is the person you would most like to meet? Richard Branson would be interesting to meet, but I am a people`s person and enjoy meeting new people all the time.
What is the quality you like most about yourself? I don`t judge people, as I trust people too easily.
When did your interest in horseracing start? At an early age (10 years old).
Your dad was your partner in many of the horses you owned. Was he the person who influenced you the most when it came to your becoming involved in racing, especially as an owner? Without a doubt. I grew up with him and my uncle being involved in racing.
You have a successful business which started by laying paving etc. and which has developed into civil contracting where you are involved with some of the big construction companies. Tell us about your business and the way it has evolved into what it is now? I started my business as a sideline, 16 years ago, out of my garage at home. Today we do business with almost all the big construction companies in the Western Cape.
Is your business solely conducted in South Africa or do you do business outside of South Africa? We have done work in Zambia as well, but mainly in the Western Cape.
How much of your business is “hands on” or are you past that now? A lot of my tasks have been passed on. I still have a lot to do with the day to day running of the business though.
Were you a regular racegoer before applying for your colours or did you come into the game as an owner? Many a year as a racegoer, supporting my dad`s horses, only in the early nineties did I take out colours.
Which was the first horse you owned and who trained it for you? Raging Tempest, trained by Stan Elley.
When you first became an owner, did you own horses on your own and did you have partners? In partnership with my dad.
How quickly did you achieve your first major success as an owner? Raging Tempest was a four time winner!
When you became an owner were you expecting, or hoping, to make money from it or were you in it simply for the pleasure it gave you? It always was a passion of mine to be an owner. As a youngster, I think, we all believe in making money from racing, but then reality sets in and passion and pleasure take over. The allure of being the owner of a great horse like Frankel/Cigar etc. will always be there.
Racing is, and always will be, an expensive business to be in. What advice would you give, if asked, to a working man who is keen to become an owner? Go to a trainer and ask him to lay out the monthly costs involved in training a horse. Then decide what you can afford and buy into a syndicate with other like-minded owners. Capital and monthly costs are then shared.
You had a share in a top horse in Big City Life. How did this come about? The biggest privilege of my racing career. I did some work at Glen Kotzen`s Woodhill property. While there, I walked into the stables, on four different occasions, and each time I bumped into BCL. I asked Glen to keep me in mind when buying him off the ready to run sale. In doing so I was given the opportunity to get involved in BCL and then later my business partner joined me. What a stunning horse! What an experience!
Apart from Big City Life, which other top horses have you owned? Phantom Wicket (Died too early). Now Via Africa. Bump n` Grind (my mare) the guts she showed in her racing career made me keep her for breeding.
Right now you and Mr. A J Boshoff own the brilliantly fast VIA AFRICA. You bred her yourself. Did you think she would be a champion from early on when she was still a baby? She was a very busy little filly who kept her mother on her toes! I always thought she had potential. She had a huge backside from her baby days! Her full sister, Imbolc, was very small, but very fast. She was badly injured as a baby. Her full brother, Qui Tiwaz, was a stunning colt and we had high hopes for him. Unfortunately we had to put him down because of a very bad knee, which was very sad. So yes, with her mother`s temperament and speed, crossed with VAR, we knew there was something!
Where do you keep your mares that you want to breed with? At Nooitverwagt Farm, Wellington, with Julia Pillbeam, an amazing horse person.
How do you decide which stallions you would like to send your mares to? Price is a factor, but I`m not someone that studies bloodlines etc. I go on my gut feeling (and that’s quite large).
If you had your way, which stallions would you use? At the moment: Dynasty, Mullins Bay and Windrush.
You owned and raced, Via Africa`s dam, Bump `n Grind. Tell us about what a gallant brave racehorse she was? Shame, she injured her knee very badly during her racing career and only by the sure brilliance of Mike Stewart`s training ability, she kept going. A very gutsy horse. I don`t think there was a race that she ran in that she didn`t lead 200m out. That type of spirit and guts, money can’t buy.
Via Africa will soon be on her way to the Cape to contest a couple of filly feature events. If she continues her top form would you consider selling her, if you receive any big offers for her which you are almost sure to get? Yes, I believe one must be realistic when it comes to that. I know with Via Africa my choice is made easier because I bred her and we are only two partners. It won’t be my decision only. I trust a lot in Duncan and Albert’s knowledge in this respect.
If Via Africa continues to improve, would you consider racing her overseas? I would love to. Only time will tell! Should be every owner’s dream!
It is early days, but if all goes well with Via Africa, have you given any thought to which stallion you would like to put her? No, not yet. At the moment I am nuts about Mullins Bay and Dynasty’s progeny.
How keen are the rest of your family in racing especially now that Via Africa is doing so well? My wife has always been involved, now more than ever that we are breeding ourselves. She names the horses and treats them like her kids. The children are all interested, but busy with their sports over weekends, although my neighbour has complained about them shouting my horses home!!
Via Africa has been in the Cape for some time now. Have you had a chance to see her at the stables? Yes, I am a very keen owner and try and go there as often as possible, without being a nuisance.
Which trainer has been looking after her while in the Cape? We are very privileged to have a trainer of the likes of Eric Sands looking after her. Duncan and Eric have a history together and there’s a huge amount of mutual respect between them. Duncan’s son Alex is also in Cape Town looking after her.
She had a gallop last week. Did you manage to see the gallop with Duncan Howells, who flew down especially for the gallop? Duncan and Alec Forbes flew down especially for her gallop. Of course I would never miss it.
How impressive was she in her gallop? She makes everything look so easy!
Amongst her rivals are Welwitschia and Agra. Which is the horse you think you have to beat? I am a very positive person when it comes to my horses, whatever beats us will win.
How confident are you about her winning chance? Very! I owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone involved from her birth to where she is now. I am very blessed to be surrounded by good friends and exceptional horse people.
Do you like to have a punt on your horse when it is really well fancied? Yes, but I am not a big punter. The worst feeling is when your horse wins at 50/1 and you don’t have a cent on them. I will always have an each way bet on my horses, no matter the odds.
If asked your opinion on how to get racegoers back to the racecourse, what ideas would you put forward? Young people must be more involved. You always see the same faces at the races. We are passionate about our sport of kings and so it should be given through to our youth. Especially in the new SA, where we have an untapped group of youths. Why not introduce races for first time owners? Some or other incentive for the first time owner?
In your honest opinion, do you think racing is straight? I always say it is very difficult to rig a race, but very easy to pull a favourite! In the public’s opinion our sport is not straight. The only way this can be changed is if the “powers that be” are more strict as well as the fines. I feel the idea of transparency has lost its momentum and should be brought back on track. Where money and gambling is involved with animals, unscrupulous people will always be around. To answer the question racing is as straight as “ these people” are allowed to get away with in their dealings.
Your business has grown into a fair size business. How easy is it for you to combine your racing interest with your business interests? Horses come first! Ha, ha, helps if your partner is also a keen horselover!
According to the old saying, “Behind every successful man, there is an equally successful woman”. Does this apply to Andre Hauptfleisch? Yes, and quite frankly, if it wasn’t for my wife Tilla, I would not be able to live out my passion. Big thanks to her! (Brownie points).