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Clive Murphy

Clive Murphy

Clive Murphy

CLIVE MURPHY, the owner of Durban Pallets has been involved in South African horseracing since 1985. He has horses, in partnership with his brother with a few trainers around the country. His biggest earner to date is the Eastern Cape runner, Makzoos, but the runner that has given him the most joy thus far has to be BLACK WING. The son of Kahal rose to prominence in KZN during 2011 and after just eight starts, he took his place in the country’s most prestigious race, the Vodacom Durban July. Unfortunately, he didn’t fare too well there but has since relocated to Cape Town where he has resurrected his career. He was denied victory by a short head in a Grade 1 at Greyville last winter. He needed both his comeback runs in the Cape and with the 2013 J & B Met in mind, he takes his place in this Saturday’s running of the Grade 2 Peninsula Handicap. Clive, along with his trainer feels that his charge is better than his recent form and should give a good account of himself.

What is your name and age?   Clive Paul Murphy and I am 55 years old.

What is your star sign and birthdate?  Leo 22nd August 1957.

Where were you born?  Johannesburg.

Where do you live?  Kloof, Durban.

Tell us about your family?  I have 2 sons who are both living in Cape Town.

Do you have a ‘nickname’? Not that I know of.

Favourite food?  Sushi for me.

Favourite drink?  Ginger and carrot juice from Giba Gorge Café.

Favourite music?  Janni.

Favourite book?  The Power Of Now by E.Tolle.

What are you reading at the moment? Power vs Force by Dr. Hawkins.

What is the characteristic you like least about yourself? I get irritated when people agree to a plan and don’t follow it.

Favourite sport?  Fishing.

Are you interested in soccer and, if so, which is your favourite soccer team? Low interest but like watching Messi play.

Favourite holiday destination? Maldives.

What tertiary qualification did you achieve?  BSC, hons, Animal science.

Where did you do your schooling? Johannesburg.

What did you excel at as a schoolboy?  Picking Saturday’s pa at Gosforth Park.

What sport were you good at and did you play for any of your first teams? Rugby and water polo.

What sort of ambitions did you have for yourself on completing your schooling? I wanted to be a farmer in the Karoo.

Who did you work for after school or did you try to start a business, or businesses, on your own?   My first job was as a stable hand at Summerveld, before travelling to Europe to visit racing stables.

Tell us about some of the bad mistakes you made and which could be a lesson to some of the younger men and women for them to avoid?  Buy on the cheap and you invariably buy twice. I have learned, over time, that low quality businesses and goods are cheap for a reason and so avoid those plays.

You are the owner of Durban Pallets. What does the business entail? Essentially we are a wood manufacturing operation. We make anything in the industrial packaging arena requiring wooden construction.

Did you start the business from scratch or did you buy it as a going concern? I started in 1992 when my farm became a sawmill and I needed an outlet to achieve instant sales.

How many employees were there to start with and how many do you have now? We started with 10 general workers and today we have 30.

How involved with other businesses are you or is your business a stand-alone type business? I have been involved in many, Classic Harness Racing being the last and which was sold a couple of years ago.  Currently we are working on the legalization of Greyhound racing in South Africa under the banner of Amatwina Pty Ltd.

What does a day in the life of Clive Murphy entail?  Wake up 5am, meditate for 30 mins…go to gym for 1 hour…get to the office at 9ish, lunch at Javas in Durban North and home by 6 pm, 5 days a week.  Weekends are for fishing and hunting.

How much time for horse racing does your business leave you? I follow racing in the newspaper, which I read every day and Sporting Post once a week and on weekends. Hardly takes any time.

With Black Wing now in Cape Town will you be travelling to Cape Town on a regular basis? I watch him work on Brett’s website and my brother keeps an eye on him.

When did you first become involved in racing? My father took me racing when I was 10 in the old steel stands at Clairwood. Later I was a handler at the start for 4 years, in 1975.

When you first started racing were you an occasional punter cum spectator?  My dad used to give me R2 for the day but I always kept it for later. This made me feel like a winner as most times the punters went home bust and I still had R2 to spend.

In your early days were any of your friends, trainers, punters or jockeys? Yes more associates than house friends. Gordon Whyte, before his death, was a part time family member.

Who was the person who influenced you most when it came to you eventually getting your colours? A wonderful person called Dennis du Plessis who has now passed away. He was the person who motivated me in my early life.

When did you get your colours? Around 1985 I shared the colours with Grant du Plessis and when he moved away from racing I kept the colours.

Who was your first trainer?  Douglas Campbell with a horse called Star Sapphire which we bought for R500, at the PMB yearling sales.

Which was your first horse and how long did it take before you had your first winner? I cannot remember my first winner but a couple of years ago we had 14 winners in a year which seemed the highlight of our last 25 years.

Apart from Black Wing which is the best horse you have ever owned?  Makzoos was the biggest winner in total races.

How did it come about that you bought Black Wing? Paul Gadsby offered the horse to me after seeing it in the reject list of Summerhills, No sales/passed up by all trainers list, after their ready to run sale in October. He was very headstrong and intractable but Paul felt he could train him to race and a jockey rode him and said he gave a champion feel. We took our chance.

You originally gave Black Wing to Paul Gadsby to train. How much success did you have with Paul? Paul won 4 on the trot and he raced to his 105 merit rating.

Black Wing is now with Brett Crawford in Cape Town. Do you feel that the Cape Town tracks may be better for Black Wing?  The primary reason he went to Cape Town was to try race him there for my brother to enjoy and to give him a Cape holiday.

He runs in the Peninsula Handicap over the Kenilworth 1800m this Saturday. How is he doing and which horses have you earmarked as your dangers? He should be cherry ripe now and with a decent draw I expect him to place so we can be ready for the Met. The race looks open to me and I give Black Wing as big a chance as any of his rivals.

He comes into the Peninsula a reasonably fresh horse. Do you think this will be in his favour? He is fresh but still needs to show the great finish he had as a young horse.

Which other horses do you own which you think will be worthwhile following? I have a few average animals in the pipeline with mediocre ability. We await the race course arrival of Black Wing’s full brother who, on conformation and attitude has no equal in the Natal Midlands.

You obviously have a great passion for horses but what is it that you particularly love about  horse racing? That great race horses are full of raw energy and ability.

How do you go about picking ‘babies’ to buy? I do not buy horses that are too closely inbred or are crosses of the same male sire lines. For me I like to cross Mr. Prospector stallions onto well performed Northern Dancer mares.

If it is left to you which do you rate as most important about buying babies-breeding or conformation? Without conformation they can generally run. Without quality breeding you are then still dreaming.

Which stallions babies would you most like to see racing in your name? Silvano is the stallion for me. I have, however, never owned a good one.

What other members of your family are really keen on racing? My brother is a 50% partner in all my horses.

From what you have observed down the years do you think racing is ‘straight’? I understand that when humans are involved rules are broken. At the same time I don’t see many individuals who prosper from fixing racing.

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