As humans, one of the biggest questions that keep nagging us in our heads is our individual purpose here on this earth. Then every once in a while we come across a person who we know is living their purpose. Oscar Foulkes is one such personality.
He is been put on earth to be in this business. To ride, train and breed thoroughbred horses. Oscar has been riding horses since he can remember. Very early in his life, he developed a knack for reading horses and today he is one of the most trusted minds in a business where it comes to separating diamonds from the rocks.
Normandy Farm has a reputation for being a gold class in the business. In fact, their rich legacy is nothing short of a script. Just to give you an idea, the first-ever foal born on the farm (also named Normandy) went on to win 6 races. Along with his doting mother Veronica, Oscar has built on that legacy and only furthered it to a place that not many have been able to reach.
With the reputation of bringing in some of the biggest drafts every year. Normandy Stud has been coming to the CTS RTR since its inception. The quality of the drafts just keeps getting better by the year and Oscar promptly credits this to the meticulous analysis of data.
Oscar took some time out to speak with us and give us a little peek into this year’s draft and some more. Read on.
Q: As one of the top vendors for the CTS sale can you tell us a bit more about your draft and your highlight Lots?
A: A: It’shard to single out just one or two - I think we have an exceptional draft for the RTR. What is something of a statement, though, is the representation of leading sires. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a draft comprising such a high concentration of top stallions - pretty much every top South African stallion is represented, several of them with multiple two-year-olds. To have eight by Querari and four by Gimmethegreenlight is just extraordinary.
Q: Could you please tell us a bit more about your association with this sale? How long have you been showing at the sale?
A: We have sold at the CTS RTR since they started running this sale, and at various ready to run sales since the late 80s. We have sold some top-class horses at these sales. One thing that strikes me, in looking back at our drafts from the early days, is that to some extent the sale was ‘last chance saloon’. In other words, some of the horses had nowhere else to go, so they went to RTR.
Every year we get more and more strict on ourselves because it’s just not worth spending the money on individuals that don’t warrant it. For us, this is like a select sale, and we believe it shows in the results.
Q: Although you have probably sold some very expensive horses in your lifetime, please tell us about the most expensive horse you ever sold at this sale and where he/ she is right now?
A: We consigned Bishop’s Bounty as an agent. He sold for R1.4 million, but a few days later the buyers cancelled the sale because of a breathing issue. He went on to win the Grade II Diadem Stakes and is a contender in the Cape Merchants on the 23rd.
Q: With such an iconic stud as Normandy, you have so much learning at your beck but also a lot of responsibility towards your mare-lines. How do you decide on your matings? What does the process involve?
A: Our female lines are the strength of our stud. Most of them have been in the stud since the 70s and 80s, so we have got to know their characteristics really well. We analyse stallion data very carefully, often going to granular detail of studying form as well. We want to make sure we are using stallions that improve on breed averages. Then we try to get as many services to those stallions as we possibly can.
This partly explains why we have so many Queraris on the sale. We were on to him as his first crops were racing. He’s now a Champion Sire - and we believed all along that he would get there - but when we first started using him, he was just promising to most people.
Q: You became passionate about horses at a young age and have made a life that still involves horses every step of the way. What's the best part of your life with horses?
A: Firstly, it’s a creative process, in that we are making decisions about which mares and stallions to use, and how to match them up. Secondly, we watch the foals grow up, Finally, there’s the racing, which has extraordinary highs (and lows).
Q: With 2020 fast approaching, where do you see South African racing in the next ten years? And are the top two things on your bucket list to achieve by 2030?
A: There’s no question that we’re in for a tough time. If the AHS export protocols can get resolved, it will make a big difference.
As far as bucket list is concerned, we’ve run second in the Met five times. It’s a race I’d love to win, especially seeing as we’ve won the mile equivalent, the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate three times. Racing one of our horses in top company internationally is also a dream.
Published In The Impact 23 Issue, 2 Vol
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