The Millard Magic Will Endure Forever

A legend of the turf

South African horseracing is mourning the passing of our greatest trainer of the 20th century.

Terrance Millard passed away on Wednesday evening at his home in the Cape just under a month short of his 90th birthday.

Terrance Millard was a horseman without peer in a golden age of legends, colourful characters and master trainers.

Terrance Millard (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

Terrance Millard (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

At the time of his retirement in 1991 he had trained over 2500 winners. He won 117 Gr1 races, 44 Gr2 races and 37 Gr3 races.

He won the Durban July six times, twice filing the top three places. He also won the Met and the Gold Cup six times apiece.

Terrance Millard

Terrance Millard practically owned the Paddock Stakes, winning the fairer sex contest sixteen times and the Fillies Guineas an extraordinary nine times.

He won sixteen of our thirty Gr1 races in one year at the peak of his power.

He met his wife Joyce in 1942. They were married for 54 years when she passed away.

A polo player, he and his brother-in-law Ralph Rixon learnt their trade in the Cape Hunt Club amateur ranks before he took out his licence in 1954.

He cited the late great Syd Garrett as a major influence and inspiration and once told the Sporting Post: “It was a different world in my day. We had no cell phones or computers. No satellite yards and very few assistant trainers.”

1992 Gr1 Cape Guineas, Empress Club

Empress Club wins 1992 Gr1 Topsport Bloodline Cape Guineas

He labelled the galloping goldmine Empress Club as the greatest horse he ever trained and Felix Coetzee was a jockey who enjoyed most success with the powerful Millard string.

On wise counsel for the industry, he suggested that we should have a tote monopoly as in France and Hong Kong and said that the middlemen take too much out of racing.

One of the most important lessons he learnt was summed up as follows in an interview with the Sporting Post recently:

“Keep an enquiring mind. Never stop trying to learn and keep out of trouble!”

His philosophy was to be successful, mix personally in the best company and keep his horses in the worst. “Remember, the bigger the pot the better for racing,” he added.

Asked for a piece of advice for his colleagues, he would say:

“Run your finances correctly. Control your gambling. Pray for decent overall stake money to balance expenses.” Given today’s strife in the industry, he was clearly a man of great foresight!

Terrance Millard’s extraordinary record of 117 Gr1 winners was surpassed by Mike de Kock when the current Summer Cup favourite Soqrat won the Cape Guineas in 2018.

Mike de Kock summed up the Millard magic at the time: “Just to be mentioned in the same breath as Terrance Millard is good enough for me. What I remember from those days is that we were absolutely in awe of him.”

Terrance Millard is survived by his partner of some years, Nola Rathbone, his son Tony, who trains in Hong Kong, and his daughter Carol, who is married to top trainer, Geoff Woodruff.

Our condolences to them and their families. The game has lost a rare gentleman.

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