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A Right Royal Victory

Emotional win for Victor family

Betway Summer Cup winning owner Peter Victor scrapped plans of becoming a jockey years ago. He was too big, but rode work and did his time in the stable yard, before the demands of domestic life dictated that he find a ‘real job’.

In 2015 he became an owner. On Saturday he celebrated a maiden Gr1 success.

An infectious, yet considered and quietly spoken personality, the 55 year old Peter Victor, who is a passionate 12 handicap golfer, lives at the Heron Banks Golf Estate on the beautiful Vaal River.

A thrilled Peter Victor (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

He spoke to the Sporting Post in the aftermath of a memorable Saturday, following the 4yo Ambiance Stud-bred Royal Victory’s resounding victory in the Highveld flagship race under the enthusiastic showman, Muzi Yeni.

The man who grew up in Alberton joined the Post Office after school, and wasn’t always in a position to own racehorses. He remains conservative in his outlook today and enjoys having partners in his horses.

A successful business manufacturing firelighters – we call it Blitz – has enabled him to live his passion.

And the Royal Victory story is a fairytale in many respects. From getting involved after the original buyer had to bale out, with a horse that cost just R90 000, to his first horse with Nathan Kotzen, Star Of Joburg, being retired.

Royal Victory charges home under Muzi Yeni (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

“Things have just worked out  unbelievably. Star Of Joburg, who I had sent down to race on the all-weather, was ready to call it a day. Nathan phoned me and suggested I get involved in a youngster he had just bought. I transferred the cash for my 51%. Today I am the proud owner of this magnificent Pathfork gelding, together with Natasha Sturdy and Brandon Wiese.”

Peter enjoyed his first winner with the Erico Verdonese-trained She’s A Flirt, who won a R90 000 maiden at Turffontein under Smanga Khumalo on 29 May 2016.

But while he is quick to point out that every winner is to be celebrated, Saturday’s Gr1 will remain with him forever.

“The emotion that we all felt afterwards was enormous. This wasn’t about the R5 million stake. It was about a life plan come together. My Dad Vic had horses for years and years and years.  He had one solitary winner ridden by then apprentice Deon Sampson back in 1992. I am still mates with Deon. And now I am in the game for 5 minutes, and here I have had probably 32 winners, including a Gr1 and Gr3,” he adds emotionally.

The thrilled Royal Victory connections (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

When Peter decided to take out his colours, he and son Michael went down to the NHA offices eight years ago, and were mulling over the silk selection.

“Silks are like a flag – they represent you. We couldn’t decide on colours until Michael said, ‘what about Oupa’s silks?’ I asked the lady, quite optimistically, whether they still had Mr Vic Victor’s silks. She said yes, and they were still available. That was it!” he adds.

He recounts that his Dad’s silks on the back of Royal Victory was all he could focus on inside the final 500m on Saturday.

“I said to Nathan, ‘how far?’ They’re all off the bit and he’s still cruising!’”

He described the moment when Royal Victory pulled away from the Mike de Kock-trained Safe Passage to win rather easily.

“I don’t even know what happened. It was like a blank. A blur.A pinch yourself moment.”

When reality dawned the group had become scattered and Peter had to look for his wife Belinda. He found her hyper-ventilating.

“On Sunday morning I woke up and thought it was all just a dream. Seriously!”

His most emotional win was actually Royal Victory’s 2023 PinkDrive Listed Michaelmas triumph, because it happened to be on the annual cancer raceday.

His daughter Chantal was diagnosed with cancer shortly after matriculating and sadly passed away just four and a half years later.

Peter is a cancer survivor himself , but on Monday he had just been to see the doctor and was given a clean bill of health. He enjoys the togetherness of family and sees his 35 year old daughter Sharon and 28 year old son Michael, often.

“In the hurly burly of the moment, there are so many people we may forget to thank.  Nathan Kotzen and his team have done an amazing job. Together with Ted Hughes, who transported our boy up and for the attention to detail – like leaving shortly after midnight to ensure they were travelling in cool conditions. Then 4Racing and Betway for putting up the prize money. Racing is about us all working together. The day was  a special success – I know I am probably a bit biased,” he laughs.

So where to now for the gallant Royal Victory?

“He has now earned a break and will be aimed long term at the 2024 Hollywoodbets Durban July. I can confirm that there are no plans to travel to Cape Town. Let’s look in that direction late next year maybe if things go well,” adds Peter.

And we had to ask – did he banker his horse in the R12 million Pick 6 on Saturday?

“I told friends he will win. He was 70-1 with the Bookies. One pal of mine had R500 each way on the tote – he collected over R10 000 and now probably thinks it’s an easy game! I had ten horses in my Pick 6 in that leg. Just shows!” he laughs as he bids us farewell.

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1 comment on “A Right Royal Victory

  1. Frank Freeman says:

    Congratulations! Well done to all

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