Ebrahim Khan, one of South Africa’s leading thoroughbred owners in the early and mid-2000s, has made a welcome return to the sport via purchases at last Sunday’s Ready To Run and Unbroken Two-Year-Old Sale held at Hollywoodbets Durbanville.
Mr Khan attended the sale in person alongside Mark Khan, his long-time friend and associate.
The former South African Champion Jockey also rode many of Khan’s prominent runners of the era, including star colt Elusive Fort, the 2006 Gr1 Derby and Daily News winner; 2005 Gr2 Gold Bowl and Gr3 Gold Vase winner Saddlewood and top-level sprinter Safe Structure, who won the Gr3 Tommy Hotspur.
Mark Khan, who recently joined Grant Maroun as an assistant trainer at his Randjesfontein base, selected three lots at Sunday’s auction. They will be going to the Maroun yard to race in the owner’s famous brown-and-white silks with checked sleeves.
Khan said: “When Mr Khan heard that I became an assistant trainer, his interest in owning horses was revived, and I am proud to bring him back. He never stopped following racing just focused on further developing his family’s formidable furniture concern, based in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, and now managed mainly by his sons. I remained close to the family. He is a racing man in blood.”
Whilst still overseeing the furniture business, Ebrahim Khan spends much of his time on his farm on the Cape West Coast. Mark Khan said: “He loves horses and all other animals, so the farm is full of them. He has a nice herd of cattle, which he enjoys farming. Now, his interest in racing is fully rekindled.”
Mark Khan selected Lots 31 (William Longsword colt), Lot 52 (Captain Of All colt) and Lot 69 (Quasillo filly) and said: “They were horses on our shortlist; we wanted them before the auction started and got them, so we are happy. Mizzen Sword (Lot 31) is a close relation of Yard-Arm, on which I won the Met in 2004. The Captain Of All colt (52) is by a decent, winning half-sister to Brave Mary and Quasikat (69) is from the family of Grinkov, a smashing filly, and she galloped very well.”
Khan was also the underbidder on the day’s top seller, Lot 48, and he commented: “He is a stunning One World, and we went to R1.2 million to get him, but I think the winning bidder, Vaughan Marshall, was never going to let go, he got the fall of the hammer at R1,4-million.”
Khan said about his future: “The plan is to take out my licence in due course, with the support of Mr Khan, John Maroun and some other good friends. For now, I am applying what I have learned over many years from horsemen like Mark Watters and Geoff Woodruff. I soaked things up as a young rider with Watters, helped in his yard, and later walked many barns at the auctions with Woodruff. Now, I am learning from Grant Maroun, who is a thorough horseman steeped in racing. His style of mentorship makes me feel more like a trainer and partner than an assistant.
He added: “I love training horses, which is in so many ways different to riding them. You see things from a different perspective; the hours are longer, and the work is harder as it encompasses so many different aspects, but it is very satisfying. We look forward to preparing Mr. Khan’s runners.”