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Entries in Anthony Cane (8)



john motaungJohn Motaung at the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Gallops / Gareth du Plessis (p)

“On Friday, John Motaung became the second student in the three years since we launched our School Of Management Excellence to graduate as the top practical student at the English National Stud.”

mick gossMick Goss
Summerhill CEO
Anyone who knows the name “Morkel” in South Africa associates it with either rugby or furniture, but for now we’ll confine ourselves to the rugby pitch. There’ve been fifteen rugby Springboks with that surname, one for every position on the field, more numerous than any other in the annals of South African rugby football. While it’s a bit of a long shot, because she married into the family, the name Heather Rosemary Morkel, is of the “household” variety at Summerhill. Former PA in my office; former CEO of the first South African Equine Trade Council (which was born at the Summerhill boardroom table with the help of ministers in government, Peter Miller and Alec Irwin;) former CEO of in-house horse feeds business, Vuma, and former Group Business Manager at Summerhill, she is the head of our School Of Management Excellence. If you didn’t know her before, now you know Heather Morkel.

This story is not about her though, and she’d be embarrassed that we’d started with this introduction, but the reality is that when on Friday, John Motaung became the second student in the three years since we launched our School Of Management Excellence to graduate as the top practical student at the English National Stud, there had to be a common thread. Indeed, there are a number of common threads, but the first is Heather. She has been the directress, the teacher, the mother-confessor, the organiser, the fundraiser, and the inspiration.

The second common thread was the brainchild of an overtly kind man, whose family fortune was forged in the diamond fields of Kimberley. Just a few generations ago, Jim Joel’s ancestors were battling street kids in London’s East End, driven by an “Oliver Twist” desperation with their lot to seek a better life beyond the shores of England. Jim Joel’s father, Jack Barnato Joel, was a nephew of Barney Barnato, co-founder with Cecil John Rhodes of what was to become the world’s greatest diamond mining empire, De Beers. As an aside, but since it’s topical, his uncle Solly Joel owned the 1921 hero of the Durban July, Longstop, who took the laurels as a former one-time winning English import. We are distracted. While Jim Joel directed his wealth to many good causes, he believed he owed much to South Africa, hence the foundation of the Childwick Trust, the purpose of which is aimed at improving the lives of disadvantaged children under the age of five in this country. The trust’s custodians are Anthony Cane, Chairman of Epsom racecourse, home of the Investec Derby, and John Wood, whose annual pilgrimage to South Africa led them fortuitously to Hartford House. We owe it to the foresight of these two gentlemen, who having seen the work being undertaken at the School of Management Excellence, made the one exception that led to this day: the award of an annual scholarship to the English National Stud for our top student of the year.

I’m sure my regular rant that South Africa is home to some of the planet’s most gifted stockmen has been greeted in some quarters with extravagant scepticism; racing has taken me to all the world’s leading thoroughbred-producing countries, and though I have had the honour to meet some exceptional horsemen, I’ve yet to encounter any place with as deep a reservoir of skills as we have here. This is especially so in a world in which it’s no longer that “cool” to be a groom, whereas at Summerhill, our riders believe they’re “chopper” pilots!

Finally, the other common factor which Thabani Nzimande, our first top student at the English National Stud, shares with the man who stood on the podium on Friday, John Motaung, is that they’re both Summerhill lads, who’ve demonstrated to the world that our School of Management Excellence is not a bad place to start out if you have any aspirations of being a “top dog” in this competitive game. While Thabani is a Zulu who worked as a paramedic in his “first” life in the Mooi River precinct, John is a consummate rider of Basotho extract, a comforting thought for His Majesty Letsie III of Lesotho, I’m sure.

John learned his trade at Summerhill after joining up as a groom, where he quickly graduated to the top of the pile. Stylish and balanced with hands of “silk”, he’s induced the best on the tracks from the likes of Igugu, No Worries, Ice Axe, Fanyana, Fisani and Art Of War, and while most horsemen might’ve settled for that on their obituaries, John had other ideas. So here he is, among the “top practical students” in the world, effectively.

One of the principal benefactors of our School is the CATHSSETA, a government-funded entity whose purpose is the fostering of the arts, crafts and sport, and their support of our endeavours has come about through the stated intent of the current Minister for Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande, of encouraging the creation of meaningful jobs in rural areas. No institution is better placed to achieve this more than this school, best illustrated by the events of this week. However, and this is a statement for anyone out there who will listen, the racing and breeding of racehorses is, pound-for-pound, an activity of the highest job-creating capacity, higher than industry, higher than hospitality, higher than any other endeavour on this continent.

We are however at a distinct disadvantage, from a taxation perspective, to the other sectors of the gambling industry, and all we pray for is a dispensation that the playing fields be levelled. Give us that and let us apply the accruing largesse to ignite opportunities for the naturally skilled people of this country, black, white, pink or blue. See this from the perspective of another institution whose work is appreciated by the CATHSSETA, the South African Jockey Academy, which has given Hong Kong twenty-two of its twenty-three most recent champion jockeys; and it bears remembering that the champion jockey-elect of South Africa this year is a young Zulu, S’manga Khumalo, who guided Heavy Metal to Vodacom Durban July glory this weekend last year.

summerhill stud, south africa

Enquiries :
Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081
or email



Summerhill Stud, South Africa

heather morkelHeather MorkelOver the past few years, a seemingly conventional set of circumstances have ignited some life-changing events among a deserving group of young people: a Thoroughbred breeder and farmer has a dream and builds a new adult educational facility, based on the farm in Mooi River. Good men and women from across the world visit, donating their time, expertise, wisdom and, of course, the old world-turner, money, in the form of scholarships. And our heroes and heroines emerge from the ranks of South African horsemen and women.

In the hurly burly of life we often overlook the transformation of the ordinary becoming the extraordinary.

Top students and Childwick Trust Scholarship recipients of 2013-14, John Motaung and Megan Trott, departed for Britain’s National Stud on Saturday, courtesy of a generous double scholarship from Trustees Anthony Cane, John Wood and Karen Groom. Like Thabani Nzimande, top student, scholarship recipient and Best Practical Student in the UK in 2011, John began his career at Summerhill as a stable cleaner and groom. His ability to nurture and guide young equine athletes through handling and his natural talent as a workrider, saw him move through the ranks within Tarryn Liebenberg and Michael Booysen’s competitive Pre-Training and Sales division at Summerhill - John pre-trained Vodacom Durban July and J&B Met winner IGUGU. Recognition for his talent and dedication followed, and he was awarded two scholarships through Summerhill’s pioneering international internship programme, where among others he worked for renowned pinhooker and bloodstock agent, Becky Thomas in Florida, USA. As Strings Manager here at Summerhill, the division was hard-pressed to send John “back to school” last year, but the rewards have been immeasurable.

Megan Trott (so apt a surname for her chosen career!) has dreamt about working with horses all her young life, and as her family could not afford tertiary education to facilitate her ambitions, she has spent the last three years working seasonally as “prep cook” at the Boca West Country Club in Florida, saving every dollar for her goal of attending the School of Equine Management Excellence. She joined the Class of 2013 and simply excelled, impressing everyone with her work ethic and passion for all things equine.

It has been an extraordinary “third season” for the school, where scholarship funders CATHSSETA, Childwick Trust, Gold Circle, Investec, Cape Thoroughbred Breeders and sponsors N3TC made the awarding of 5 international scholarships (half the class), possible this year.

Our best wishes to John and Megan, who have crossed continents in the name of horses, and a successful National Stud Diploma course in 2014.

School Of Management Excellence, South Africa

Heather Morkel +27 (0) 33 263 1081
or email



School Of Management Excellence GraduatesGraduates of the School of Management Excellence
(Photo : Leigh Willson)

Summerhill Stud, South Africa

mick gossMick Goss
Summerhill CEO
When we first published our plans for our School of Management Excellence, there were more than a few who dubbed it an outrageous extravagance for a Zulu farm. They may have been right; we must confess to a few doubting moments ourselves, but when we realised what it could mean not only for the upliftment of our own people, but for the nation as a whole, we had no choice. The idea was born of a conviction that this country is home to some of the world’s best stockmen, that given a chance, a school like this could be a game-changer. It has been. We were convinced too, that worldwide, our sport was lamentably under-served in its learning institutions. If this was the price of education in a game that had done us well, we were willing to pay it. Some may feel that they have plenty to lose in defeat but whatever Summerhill had, we were ready to give up for victory. Done properly, the dreams would accrue. They have.

The Heritage Day long weekend seemed an appropriate occasion for Heather Morkel to convene the graduation ceremony for the class of 2013. Attendees flew in from the four corners of the land, the students delivered their final presentations, and the judges, literally, got down to work. We’ve always said we’ve been lucky in our lives at Summerhill, and one of the relationships we pride most, is with the people who serve as our school governors. Alan Magid was as distinguished a member of the South African judiciary as recent history has known; Ronnie Napier, an exalted member of the Johannesburg legal fraternity, is a past chairman of the National Horse Racing Authority. Ronnie’s career in horse racing includes the breeding of J&B Met hero, Charles Fortune, and two Northern Guest standouts: S.A. champion stayer Travel North, and the Fillies Guineas heroine Dance Every Dance. More recently he was co-owner of the champion three year old miler, Imbongi and the Fillies Guineas ace, Fisani. Judge Magid, on the other hand, found himself on the inside of the Gold Cup winner’s circle with Icona, but what surprised me most as a young solicitor back in the 80s, was his knowledge of breeding. When in his days as an advocate, I handed him a brief involving a dispute over the ownership of a stallion prospect, he immediately recited the horse’s full lineage. Remembering that this was long before the age of the internet, I quickly realised this was a man I could do business with!

Though schools of our kind are hardly profit-making ventures, particularly when their raison de’etre is the upliftment of people, budgets are inevitably pitched at trying to break even, and even that is difficult. Without sponsors, we could never have been where we are today, and the first to put up their hands three years ago was Investec Private Bank. Quick on their heels, came Con Roux of NTC3, who manage our local toll concession, and who have more than 70 projects on the go between here and Johannesburg. Out of the blue, towards the end of last year, came a fairy godmother in the form of the national Cathsseta (which falls under the portfolio of Dr Blade Nzimande’s Ministry of Higher Education). On Monday evening, Leonard Strong delivered a stirring speech on their behalf on their reasons for supporting us, and why they felt this course was so worthwhile. Besides the seven scholarships they provided last year, they have also assisted in funding an overseas work experience for one of last year’s deserving graduates, Maine Chance’s Marius Losch, to New Zealand.   

It seems that Heather’s work at the school and the marvellous outcomes we’ve witnessed since the first graduates were capped, have captured the attentions of a fairly broad audience. It’s comforting to know that there are people in this world who understand that talent and intelligence are spread evenly, but that opportunity is not. They also have social consciences, and they know that without funds, it’s difficult to achieve much in a costly world. There’ve been some inspiring stories at our School of Excellence, the one most-told, being Thabani Nzimande’s “Best Practical Student” award at the English National Stud, which would not have been possible of it were not for the generosity of the trustees who run the Childwick Trust, founded by the late Jim Joel, benefactor, horseman and nephew of diamond king, Barney Barnato. Trustees, Anthony Cane and John Wood first came to Hartford by dint of coincidence, and as it turned out, Anthony is chairman of one of the world’s most famous racecourses, Epsom.

Though the main thrust of the Childwick Trust’s work in South Africa involves disadvantaged children under the age of 5, these gentlemen immediately saw the value of what was happening at our school, and they endowed us with an annual scholarship for a deserving student to the English National Stud, the most venerable of these institutions and the oldest worldwide.

We had a dilemma this year, arising from the anticipation that there would be almost nothing separating the top two or three students, and the Childwick Trust have more than come to the party. They have made two scholarships available for 2014, and that made the judges’ task that bit easier: John Motaung (a previous recipient of a Summerhill scholarship to Becky Thomas’ academy in the United States) and Megan Trott have big boots to fill, but they were both more than deserving awardees, and they won’t let the standards this school has set, down.

The other thing which has made a material difference was the attendance by Muzi Mwandla and Leonard Strong of the Cathsseta, who brought not only the power of government funding to the table, but also a good stretch of imagination. With their help, a further three international scholarships were awarded (that means five, or 50% of the total enrolment this year) will be going abroad on post-graduate work experiences, and if ever there was an incentive to attend the school, it lies here. For the record; these are the details:

Name Farm/Funding Award Destination
John Motaung Summerhill Stud / CATHSSETA Childwick Trust Scholarship – joint Top Student British National Stud, United Kingdom
Megan Trott Self-funded Childwick Trust Scholarship – joint Top Student British National Stud, United Kingdom
Willem Arries Cheveley Stud / Cape Breeders & Investec Funding Best Practical Student – CATHSSETA International Internship/Scholarship Ireland / United States
Hazel Kayiya Gold Circle Team Player of the Year and CATHSSETA International Internship Racing Operations - Hong Kong
Tshepiso Matsoele CATHSSETA CATHSSETA International Internship/Scholarship United States

And finally, Summerhill awarded three internships for the immediate practical period to Kabelo Nkoane, Tshepiso Matsoele and Megan Trott.

School Of Management Excellence, South Africa

Heather Morkel +27 (0) 33 263 1081
or email



Isaac 'Jack' Barnato Joel, Barnett (Barney Barnato) Isaacs and Harry Joel 'Jim' JoelIsaac ‘Jack’ Barnato Joel, Barnett (Barney Barnato) Isaacs and Harry Joel ‘Jim’ Joel
(Photos : Chilwickbury Trust Archive)

“If there is more than one man who’s owned both
a Derby and a Grand National winner, we don’t know him.”

What we do know though, is that Jim Joel did. We’ll come to the horses that made it happen, but first about his legacy.

Jim Joel was a son of Jack Barnato Joel, whose connection with the turf came with his acquisition of Childwickbury Stud in England’s Hertfordshire in 1906. Though Jack Joel knew very well the poverty and hardships of 19th century East End London, by the time of his acquisition of Childwickbury, he was a very rich diamond and gold merchant. His great grandfather was a rabbi, his grandfather Isaac Isaacs a dealer in old clothes, and his father Joel Joel had run the “King of Prussia” public house. Jack’s mum Kate, was the sister of the founder of the Joel fortune, Barnet Isaacs, more popularly known in South Africa as the pugnacious Barney Barnato, who borrowed £50 from his mother and travelled to South Africa in 1873, intent on making his fortune.

From Cape Town, Barnato journeyed to Kimberley, and through his sheer hard work, cunning and the good luck of being in the right place at the right time, he quickly accumulated a vast fortune. He founded the family business Barnato Diamond Mining, and in 1880 he was joined by his nephews Jack (Jim’s father) and two brothers, Wolff and Solly. When Jack Joel died in 1940, his son Harry “Jim” Joel, inherited the estate and carried on the family interests at Childwickbury, joining his father among the most successful British owner/breeders of the 20th century. His colours, the black shirt and scarlet cap we see aboard the Mary Slack runners these days, were carried to Classic victories by the English Derby hero, Royal Palace, the St Leger ace, Light Calvary, and the serene heroine of the English 1000 Guineas, Fairy Footsteps. To explain the Slack connection, Mary we all know, was born Oppenheimer, and we know that De Beers, the greatest of the world’s diamond mining businesses, was an amalgam many years ago between the family of Barnato and those of Cecil John Rhodes, headed up for four generations by male members of the Oppenheimer family.

We did say we’d come to the Derby/Grand National double once we’d discussed the legacy, but since the identity of the Derby winner is already out of the bag, we may as well recall that, when he was well into his 90s, Jim Joel was virtually blind. That didn’t deter him from his regular holidays to South Africa, and it was on his flight back from one of his trips, that he was famously advised by the captain of the aircraft that his Maori Venture had carried off the laurels in the world’s greatest steeplechase.’

Mr. Joel was an extraordinary man, respected as much for his grace and sportsmanship as an owner, as he was for his generosity as a philanthropist. He never forgot where he came from, and he never forgot the role South Africa had played in providing his family with the comforts of life. In 1985 a foundation of substantial proportions was established, and his charitable causes in this part of the world are supported today by the Childwick Trust.

Among the Trust’s more noble causes, is their support of the work done by NGOs whose primary interest is children of five years and under. A couple of years ago, when two of the five trustees, Anthony Cane and John Wood were taking a short sabbatical at Hartford House from their arduous travel through our rural plains, they were introduced to our School of Management Excellence. To explain their interest, these are two sporting men, and Anthony Cane happens to be the present Chairman at the home of England’s most famous horserace, Epsom.

We think they liked what they saw at our school, and they offered to assist with a scholarship for the top student each year at the English National Stud, aimed principally at a graduate of our disadvantaged community. It has to be said, Jim Joel would’ve been proud of the work his trustees are doing: one of the objects of the trust reveal his keen personal interest in the people involved in the racing industry, and the welfare and breeding of thoroughbred racehorses. They’re the embodiment of the things he stood for, gentlemanliness, decency and generosity, and their gesture in providing this scholarship to the English National Stud has paid immediate dividends. Those who follow these columns, will know that in its very first year, our top graduate was Thabani Nzimande, who as one of twenty-six students from around the world, became that august institution’s outstanding practical student of 2012.

The trustees visited again recently, to touch base with those of our team involved in their project. There’s plenty going on in the world at the moment, and much of it is not pretty. These men represent the prettier side. The Trust has distributed in excess of £52 million (more than R700 million) since 1992.



Making The Days Count :
And Counting The Days

“Forty-three days to go, and I’ll be back in full force”, writes Thabani Nzimande of his tenure at the English National Stud.

In an earlier update, we mentioned that Thabani graduated top of the Class of 2011 from the School of Management Excellence at Summerhill last year, and was selected by School Governors, Judge Alan Magid and ex-Jockey Club Chairman, Ronnie Napier, as the recipient of the Childwick Trust Scholarship to the National Stud. He was especially fortunate to be attending in the same year as Mathew de Kock, under whose tutelage Igugu initially “grew up” at the races.

Thabani had quite a few visitors earlier this month, including Sarah Frost, whose father worked for Jim Joel at his famous Childwick Bury Stud, which was the nursery to such famous horses as Royal Palace, Light Cavalry and Fairy Footsteps. Born and raised on Jim’s farm, and a teacher by profession, Sarah has worked for the Trust for a decade. Anthony Cane, trustee and chairman of the home of the Investec Derby, Epsom, has also spent some invaluable time with Thabani, and we are told that 5 members of the Trust will be in attendance at the graduation ceremony, which takes place on Friday the 29th June. For those who are new to this scholarship, we should recall that Jim Joel was a nephew of the storied Barney Barnato, who with Cecil John Rhodes, founded de Beers, the world’s biggest diamond company. The Joel brothers, Jim and Solly, were plucked out of the obscurity of London’s east-end, and recruited by their enterprising uncle into the diamond business, where they made their considerable fortunes.

A wonderful, warm, “feel-good” success story, Thabani has paid regular tribute to our School Of Excellence in the glowing yard reports that we’ve received. We wish the Class of 2012 luck for the forthcoming exam, and finalisation of their major projects. Looking forward to having you home Thabani and Mathew!

School Of Management Excellence, South Africa

Heather Morkel +27 (0) 33 263 1081
or email

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