FROM THE TURF TALK NEWSLETTER ON 19 JULY 2018
IN what has been described as one of the most difficult periods in the last 50 years for South African breeders – several have fallen by wayside, dispersed of stock or cut back significantly, Advocate Nigel Riley is pushing big investments into his Heversham Park Farm, in a full-blown effort to establish it as a thoroughbred breeding base and a boarding facility.
There is a perception that Heversham Park is a “little plot on the outskirts of Johannesburg”, but it’s not. It’s a massive, 350-acre farm situated in the Daleside Valley in South Gauteng, more or less halfway between the Vaal and Turffontein, on a stretch of countryside that reminds one of the Kyalami horse area, yet more tranquil and not so dense.
There is a true country atmosphere at Heversham Park and surrounds and Riley said: “One of the
reasons we’re developing Heversham Park is to re-establish Gauteng as a thoroughbred breeding region. The old Transvaal breeders produced many a tough, talented horse and there is no reason why it can’t happen again.
“Also we feel it’s vital for the racing industry to get families involved with horses, because it is with love and appreciation for the horse that love for racing is born. We’ve done plenty of work on the farm to make it even friendlier to the public than before, with walkways, a lapa, an outside dining area with a pizza oven and a bar, new stallion barns and improvements to the paddocks.”
Heversham Park houses three stallions in the established and prolific Great Britain (GB) who has done his rounds at Highlands and the Karoo and is producing winners every week, Moofeed (AUS), the speediest son of Duke Of Marmalade and Wings Of Desire, the purple-the purple-bred import that placed in the Gr1 Investec Derby and the King George last year.
The Heversham broodmare band has grown to over 70 resident on the farm, freely roaming in safe
fertilized paddocks and the water supply comes from a natural spring, which is high in calcium and other minerals, ensuring that all animals (and humans!) that are raised on the farm are healthy.
Riley commented: “We’ve bought broodmares at sales around the country to suit our stallions and, size-wise, we’re probably in the Top 10 breeding farms in South Africa already.”
The ultimate aim, of course, is to become a proper Top 10 breeder on the National Log, something which can only happen if you breed top horses. “We are looking to get support from breeders in KZN and the Western Cape and we’ve devised transport concessions for horses coming from both areas to make it worth the while for breeders,” said Riley.
Heversham Park has entered 16 lots to the BSA National Two-Year-Old Sale At the TBA Complex on 16 August, most of which had to be withdrawn from the CTS April Yearling Sale due to travel restrictions.
The now two-year-olds include superb-looking colts by Querari, Soft Falling Rain and Vercingetorix and two imported fillies by Rock Of Gibraltar, and they will be available to view alongside the Heversham Park stallions on Sunday, 5 August, the inaugural stallion day at the farm.
“Anyone is welcome to attend, owners, trainers, individuals and families” said Riley. “We’d like people to see the farm and its facilities for themselves and to enjoy a lovely day out in beautiful surroundings with other horse lovers!”
Heversham Park will be laying on a country lunch and drinks for guests and you can RSVP by mailing names and number of guests to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.hevershampark.co.za, which has the official invite on the home page.