Via Africa – The Future

Andre Hauptfleisch discusses where to next for his star filly

Duncan Howells and Via Africa (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

Duncan Howells and Via Africa (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

The Sporting Post spoke to Via Africa’s part-owner, Andre Hauptfleisch, who confirmed that the speedy globetrotting daughter of Var has officially been retired from racing.

Regarding Via Africa’s international campaign and the glare of the international spotlight at Meydan, Andre says “I think it was as overwhelming for the horses as it was for me! The first time we went for Super Saturday and the second time we went with Phil and that was great – my voice is still gone! We had an absolutely amazing trip, the people we met and the friendships we made there – we’ve bonded for life.”

Via Africa

Andre visits Via Africa in Dubai

Andre with his star filly in Dubai

“There was the option of going to England and trying to race her there, but with everything that’s gone before, one starts to wonder ‘Has she had enough?’ ‘Is she not good enough?’ All these questions. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with her. I think Mike just struggled to get the South African horses fit this year because of the time it took to get them through all the quarantine processes and I think the results speak for themselves. We decided we’d rather call it a day before things go further backwards or something happens to her.”

“While it is the end of one chapter, the good news is that it’s the start of a new one. I can’t give away too much as negotiations are still on-going, but I can say that there are some exciting plans and that I’m looking forward to it. We will hopefully be able to confirm details towards the end of next week. I’ll keep you posted.”

About Andre

Andre Hauptfleisch

Andre Hauptfleisch

Of course, Andre has been around horses all his life and is no stranger to big race success – his father owned the incomparable Festive Season. “It’s in the blood – it all comes through that. If it’s not in the blood, you just stand on the outside and shake your head!”

“My dad was into breeding when we were kids. We had a smallholding in Cape Town and he kept about 10 mares. He did quite well on the track. He owned Festive Season who ran 2nd in the Met in 1979 and was 3rd in 1980. She was the favourite for the July, but unfortunately hurt herself before the big race.”

Andre has had his colours since the early 90’s but he’s also enjoyed success as an owner, being a partner in Big City Life. However, it was a little filly called Bump ‘n Grind that left such an impression that Andre decided to keep her for breeding. “I raced her with some partners with Mike Stewart. I bought the partners out and started breeding with her. I’ve never known a horse with a bigger heart, and one can see that in Via. My dad was the first one to buy a share in Var from Pippa when they launched Var and that’s the reason I got involved in Var.”

Bump ‘n Grind had two Var foals before Via Africa. The first, a filly named Imbolc was a winner for Duncan Howells. In 2008 she produced a colt named Qui Tiwaz, who had a very bad knee and had to be destroyed. And then came Via.

Andre relates that his father passed away about 4 years ago and missed Via Africa’s whole career. “One of the last things he asked me was whether he was still involved in Via Africa,” Andre muses. “Of course he was.”

Bump ‘n Grind subsequently produced a Horse Chestnut colt called Mac Chestnut, who placed as a 3yo and then Andre bought a share in Elusive Fort. Bump ‘n Grind has dutifully produced a colt named Al Wahed and two fillies – Elusivenchantment and Bombshell Girl – as well as an “absolutely gorgeous” Oratorio filly.

Andre enthuses, “I’m over the moon with Al Wahed. He’s had two starts and ran 3rd to Dreamuponadream and 2nd to Geralissimo. He’s a bit of a naughty bugger and has this habit of banging his leg against the door at feeding time. We’re not sure whether it was from that or from racing, but we had to remove a small knee chip, so he’s had an extended vacation to make sure he’s recovered fully. He’s been back in training about 3 months now and is doing really well. I can’t wait to see him back on the track. He looks identical to Siren’s Call, but the male version. I’m keeping everything crossed!”

Elusivenchantment is also in training with Duncan Howells, although Andre says it’s still early days for her, but with Elusive Fort seemingly able to do little wrong, it’s definitely a name worth remembering for the future.

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