Horse racing is very popular in South Africa. You will find regular racing events happening around the country. Below we have listed three greatest horses in the racing history of South Africa.
1- Horse Chestnut
Exaggerations are common when it comes to describing a racehorse’s achievements. However, one can’t exaggerate enough in the case of Horse Chestnut. He is regarded as one of the best South African racehorses. He was trained by Michael de Kock and owned by Harry & Bridget Oppenheimer. He is most famous for registering the South African Triple Crown after winning the G1 Cape Guineas, the G1 SA Classic, and the G1 SA Derby.
Horse Chestnut amazingly won the 9 races out of the 10 he ran in. The only time he lost a race came at the hands of Clifton King when he finished third in the Morris Lipschitz Memorial Plate. His other notable achievements include the victories in the J&B metropolitan Stakes (by 8 1/4 lengths) and the SA Derby (by 10 lengths).
After winning the SA Derby, he was sent to race in the US where he shone as well. He competed at Gulfstream Park in the Broward Handicap and won the race comfortably by five and a half lengths. Unfortunately, he sustained a serious injury while preparing for the Donn Handicap. This forced him to retire early from horse racing. He died in 2015 due to heart failure.
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Hawaii enjoyed extraordinary success in South Africa and later shone in the United States as well. In the 1966-67 season, he won 5 out of the 6 races as a 2-year-old, including the Maiden Juvenile Plate (by 7 lengths), the Pepsi Cola Cup (by 8.5 lengths), and the East Rand Juvenile Handicap (by 8 lengths). The 1967-68 season brought more successes for Hawaii as he managed to win 10 out of the 12 races he ran in and only came in 4th in the Rothmans July Handicap and 2nd in the Champion Stakes.
His 1969 horse racing campaign in the United States proved his racing talents on the international stage. The amazing racehorse claimed the United Nations Handicap, Bernard Baruch Handicap, and Stars & Stripes Handicap to his name in 1969. His victory in the Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park was a record-setting performance. The Hawaii Stakes which is run at Turffontain racecourse is given its name after him.
3- Colorado King
Colorado King impressed everyone both in South Africa and the United States. He was trained by Sydney C. Laird in South Africa and later by Wally Dunn in the United States. In the beginning, he did struggle a little by finishing 2nd in his first three races, however, he managed to win his next 4 races consecutively. In the 1962-63 season, he registered 6 victories in 8 races before he moved to the US. He won the Sunset Handicap, the American Handicap, and the Hollywood Gold Cup in the year 1964.