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Ivan Moore

Ivan Moore has spent a lifetime involved with racehorses, first as a jockey, and now as a trainer. He is a quiet, polite gentleman, whose gentle exterior hides a fierce and determined character with a great passion for horses and horse racing. Amazingly, at a time when many are already retired, Ivan is having the most successful time of his career. With owners of the calibre of Fred Crabbia and Andy Williams in his yard he is now getting horses to train which are almost certainly going to keep his name in the headlines. It  is with sincerity that we at Winning Form say,”It couldn’t have happened to a more worthy gentleman”.

What is your name and age? Ivan Moore – 74 years old.

Where do you live? Somerset Park, Umhlanga.

Tell us about your family? My wife, Pam, is my rock – she is a home executive and we have been married for 50 years.  My daughter, Cheryl, does my books and has done since I became a trainer.  My son, Robert, rode with me for many years and he is now living in South Korea as a riding instructor for the apprentices and doing an outstanding job.  I have 5 grandchildren, Sharne who is married to Ana and lives in Miami, Sheldon who is a personal trainer here in Umhlanga, Declan who is studying in Perth – these are my daughter’s sons.  Then Darryl who is assistant trainer to Charles Laird here in Durban, and Nicole, my only grand-daughter, who has just finished university and lives in Pretoria.

You came to SA from Zimbabwe. Were you born and bred in Zimbabwe and what brought you to SA? I was born in PE, started my riding career in SA and was offered a job in Zimbabwe with Freddie Maisch.  I retired as a jockey in Zimbabwe, went into training and things started getting tough there, so as a family we made a decision to move down to SA.

How did you get into racing originally? When I was 14 Mr. Ureman, a family friend, introduced me to the racing world and there was no turning back.  I am now 74 and still love what I do.

When you were an apprentice, was there an apprentice academy or were you apprenticed to a trainer? There was no academy back then, I lived with a trainer, Lenny Howe.

Who was the first trainer you worked for and when did you ride your first winner? My first trainer was Lenny Howe and my first winner was for Lionel Wolman at Germiston in January 1953.

You were probably best known as trainer  Freddy Maisch’s jockey. For how long did you ride for him and what was the best horse you rode for him? I worked for him for about 8 years and the best horse I rode for him was Dragon Prince – the sign to my home in Zimbabwe was “Dragon and the Prince”

Did you come to SA as a jockey or trainer? I arrived in SA in 2002 as a trainer.

What path did your career follow once you arrived in SA? A hard one.  I arrived with 7 horses and it was a struggle for me. I unfortunately attracted some very bad paying owners and am still owed over R400 000 to this day.  But I kept my faith and kept believing that God had something in store for me and by His grace a door opened and I haven’t looked back. I pray that for the duration of my life on this earth, He will continue blessing me and my family.

For many years you have been based in KZN. Did you come straight to KZN from Zimbabwe? I arrived in Johannesburg in April 2002 and stayed there until August 2002 when I moved to KZN

Do you rate your wins with Surruptitious and Fighting Warrior on July day as the most exciting of your training career? Absolutely the best day of my life, apart from the day I got married and the birth of my children.

What are your plans for these two promising horses? They are not my plans, Mr. Williams and Mr. Crabbia have the final say and I will accept whatever decision they make as it is in the best interest of the horses and their future ventures.

What other horse or horses in your yard do you rate highly? At the moment I have a string of very good horses and it is hard to rate them individually.

From what you have seen over the past month or two, which horses, other than your own, do you think will be worth following? I rate Igugu and Potala Palace, highly.

Tell us about the team which assists you in keeping your yard going at full steam? Since I have been here it has been myself and my brother, Pierre, together with a good bunch of grooms. We have all been through tough times and good times together.  I wish I could afford a full time assistant trainer but, at the moment, it is not on the cards.

How many horses do you currently have in the yard? At the moment I have 23 and am hoping to fill my yard to 30.

Do you have a stable jockey or which jockeys do the most work for you? No stable jockey, but Corne Orffer is a huge help and apprentices Ryan Curling and Julius Mariba are always at my ring.

You now have a new patron in Mr. Fred Crabbia, how did you become involved with him? Mr. Andy Williams introduced me to him through his partnership with Fighting Warrior and Surruptitious

How many horses has he given you to train? At the moment I have 7 of his horses to train with more babies to follow

Mr Crabbia also has horses in Singapore and other centres. How involved is he with you and does he want constant updates on the progress of his horses? We are in regular contact with each other and it is a pleasure discussing the plans for his horses. He is passionate about each of his horses and follows their progress with great enthusiasm.

Mr Andy Williams is another ‘celebrity’ owner in your yard. Is he a longtime friend of yours and how many horses do you train for him? I have known of Andy for many years, however only had the pleasure of training for him over the past couple of years.  He has 6 horses in our yard.

When celebrating a good win how do you like to celebrate and what is your drink of choice? I go home to my family, have a cup of coffee, watch the DVD together and then go to bed.  My drink of choice – SPRITE.

Many horses race better on sand than on grass. How important do you consider it to be that the authorities consider building a sand track in KZN? I think it is a great idea.

If you felt a horse of yours really needed to race on sand would you take it Kimberley? No but I would take it to the Vaal.

How inspirational is it for you as a trainer to see how successful people like Mike de Kock, Herman Brown, Lucky Houdalakis, Patrick Shaw, David Ferraris, Kevin Shea, Piere Strydom, Weichong Marwing, Dougie Whyte, Glyn Schofield, Jeff Lloyd   and others have been overseas? It is always an honour and privilege to know that South Africans are doing well overseas.  To have the opportunity of broadening their careers overseas and becoming successful with the competition they face is very inspirational

With a big carrot being offered to the SA champion jockey do you think this will affect the attitude of jockeys to their job of riding winners? Absolutely, they will obviously put more effort into riding work and catching the good rides.

How quickly are you able to assess a horses ability when asked to train it? It’s difficult to put a time factor on this, but the horses usually show you straight off what they are capable of when they are put through their paces.

Being a trainer is no ordinary job and can be very tough. What motivates you to get up early everyday, come ‘Rain or Shine’, to look after you horses? I love my work.  I take pride in what I do and work hard to be as successful as I can, but what motivates me to get up at 4:30 every morning come rain or shine – are my family, to make sure they are looked after.

What is your favourite aspect of training? Training good horses that come to the party and win according to their work.

What is the thing about being a trainer that you like least? Horses running badly when they have worked so well.

The highs of the game are fantastic but how do you cope with the lows? I pray.

Do you tell your friends to have a good bet on a horse you are training when you feel you have a really big chance? We are not a betting stable – I may have a R25 each way bet on my horses, but I will only tell friends I feel confident about the horse and to put it in quartets or swingers.  I don’t like losing my money, let alone other peoples’ money

Which stallion’s progeny would you most like to see in your stable and which you would like to train? I have always wanted a Jet Master and have now been blessed with one.

Outside of racing what else are you passionate about? If I could play a good consistent game of golf, I would say that is my next passion.

If you have to name the most important lesson you have learnt about racing thus far what would you say that is? Do not allow emotions to get in the way of business decisions.

If pressed to advise anyone how they should bet in order to make money punting what would you say? If there were a sure way of making money on horses, I would be a millionaire.  There is no advice to give anyone on punting – they must find their own strategy.

How much time do you spend studying form? Enough to feel confident about the opposition

The control of racing is now very strict. Is there anything more, that you think the authorities could or should do to make racing even straighter? I don’t think your book has enough pages in it, however, one thing I think that has failed is the scrutiny of owners.  In the past an owner would never get away with not paying training fees, today they buy horses, send them for training then leave when all else fails – thus leaving the smaller trainers to deal with an enormous debt and in some cases having to retire early.

If you had one piece of advice for your fellow associates in the racing world what would it be? Never give up, keep believing and trusting that your season will come.

What is your philosophy on the racing game? I don’t have one.

If you had one piece of advice for your fellow associates in the racing world what would it be? Never give up, keep believing and trusting that your season will come.

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