News

Miss Frankel leaves SA for exciting future!

From the day we heard that our star speedster and double Equus Sprinter of the Year Val de Ra was in foal to the mighty Frankel after visiting him during her UK sojourn, we couldn’t wait to meet this new addition to our Estate.

And Miss Frankel didn’t disappoint!  Her distinctive facial markings and beautiful chestnut colour immediately made her stand out amongst the rest of the foals of her year.  She spent her youth being visited by many local and international celebrities who made their way to meet her in her paddock.

Her extrovert personality matched her looks and her personal face book page grew organically to nearly 2000 fans who followed her every move avidly.  

When she hit the race tracks under the capable training regime of Dennis Drier (who also trained her mom Val de Ra), she made us proud with 3 wins (One of which was a black type Listed race!) and some outstanding performances in other races after a bit of a health scare which took her off track for more than a year.

Miss Frankel will be leaving South Africa soon for her new home in Europe where she will be exposed to some of the world’s leading sires and we believe that this is the best for her as it opens up opportunities, which she would not have had in South Africa.

Hamba Gahle and farewell Miss Frankel, we will miss you at Avontuur!  However, we look forward to following your fortunes and that of the outstanding progeny you will surely have on tracks around the world in future.

 

Planning for CPYS 2020 already in full swing

With the annual Cape Premier Yearling Sale set for 16 January 2020, Avontuur is gearing up to get a classy crop of yearlings ready for this first important date on the Sale calender.

“We have 6 colts and 4 fillies booked with some excellent progeny by our own two sires, Var and Oratorio set to wow the buyers,” says Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh. Oratorio recently achieved 55 stakes winners internationally and Var’s achievements speak for themselves as his offspring keep on burning up tracks.

Over and above Avontuur’s own stallions, the list of yearlings reads like the who’s who of SA’s top sires like Silvano, Gimmethegreenlight,  Trippi, Master of my Fate, Legislate and newcomer Rafeef – all of whom make up Avontuur’s crop for this premier event.

“One of my favourites is a grey Var colt called Intrepid who is out of the stakes-winning mare Pan Am.  I think he will attract a lot of attention and look forward to seeing the positive reactions once we get to the CTICC.  Last but definitely not least – there’s All that Jazz!  She is a daughter of Trippi out of champion race mare Val de Ra and therefore a half-sister to Miss Frankel.  What a superb high-quality, elegant filly with outstanding paddock value and certain international appeal ,” Pippa concludes

Oratorio tops the SA sires list!

We’re loving it that our globally proven sire Oratorio,  is top of the pops on the SA sire’s list!  What an achievement for this gentle giant who is lining up the stakes winners internationally and locally at the moment.

He still has some space in his book for this year’s season, so get hold of Pippa Mickleburgh right now at stud@avontuurestate.co.za to book your mare for a cover.

Son of Oratorio wins in Hong Kong!

The South African racing and breeding industry had reason to celebrate on Tuesday when the Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein bred Ezra saluted at Sha Tin racecourse for trainer Tony Millard, jockey Aldo Domeyer and owner William Mocatta.


Sent off the 27-10 favourite, four-year-old Ezra picked up his first Hong Kong win when he captured the Nanning Handicap over seven furlongs in emphatic style.

The gelding romped home to score by three and a quarter lengths, while drawing comfortably in the final furlong. Second twice previously in his brief Hong Kong stint, Ezra looks set for more Hong Kong success judging by the ease of his win on Tuesday.

What made Tuesday’s win all the more satisfying is that not only is Ezra bred in South Africa, but both his trainer and jockey hail from this country as well.

A R2 200 000 buy from the 2017 National Yearling Sale, Ezra is a son of the Avontuur based triple G1 winner Oratorio and the top-class race mare Emerald Beauty.

The latter, a daughter of Equalize and from the same family as champions Elusive Fort and Empress Club, won three times in South Africa and the UAE, with Emerald Beauty’s wins including a triumph in the 2003 G1 Cape Fillies Guineas where she accounted for subsequent Horse Of The Year, and multiple G1 winner, Ilha Da Vitoria.

Bloodstock South Africa would like to wish all the connections all the best going forward and may there be many more victories to come!  (Editorial courtesy of BSA)

New Reserve wine honours Legal Eagle

Avontuur Estate, the Wine and Thoroughbred Stud Farm which lies between Somerset West and Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, is proud to announce a new addition to their limited premiere range of reserve wines – the Legal Eagle Cabernet Franc Reserve 2015.

As all of the premiere range wines commemorate important horses who helped make the Estate the success that it is, it is appropriate that one of the most highly-awarded horses ever bred on this family-owned farm, proudly features on the wine label.

Winemaker Jan van Rooyen commented last week when the wine was released, “Twenty-three years after the first wine was made from this varietal at Avontuur, we are including it in our premiere range. By naming the wine Legal Eagle, we honour one of the great race horses bred at Avontuur Estate. “

Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh explained that a horse like Legal Eagle comes along once in a breeder’s lifetime – if you’re lucky!!  “He is from a strong line of excellent stock and from the beginning showed his mettle and star quality, leading to being chosen as Horse of the Year in 2016 and 2017.  He has raked in more than R12 million for his owners in the process.  He won 15 races in total and as he is still in training, we hope to see some more of his racing prowess in future,” she says.

Philip Taberer, co-owner of the Estate is happy that a spot could be found in the wine range to honour two stars of Avontuur in this way.  “It’s always exciting when we get the opportunity to add to the premiere range and this new addition is such a perfect fit – a great horse and a great wine which go together in the best possible way!” he said.

The 2015 vintage delivers a full-bodied taste experience with typical Helderberg Fynbos and dark fruit aromas and a firm tannin structure from 24 months in 2nd and 3rd fill oak.  The wine comes from one older block high up against the Helderberg, which adds to the elegance and minerality expected by now from Avontuur’s Cabernet Francs.

Legal Eagle Cabernet Franc Reserve 2015 is available from the tasting room at the Estate for R220 per bottle as well as from the online wine shop at www.avontuurestate.co.za  Fans will also soon see it featured in selected retailers around the Western Cape, but as stock is limited, it will not be for sale in general outlets.

Contact our tasting room at winery@avontuurestate.co.za if you want to place an order and arrange delivery.

 

New foals ring in the start of Spring

At Avontuur we love this time of the year when the brand-new foals start arriving nearly daily. 

Watching those first few wobbly steps, which incredibly quickly turn into cantering and jumping around, is a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

The stud team is running on adrenalin continuously and it doesn’t really stop until early December as the cover season also kicks off soon.

Check https://www.avontuurestate.co.za/blood-stock/foals-2019/  as we add pics of each new arrival as they join us at Avontuur!

 

 

Avontuur signs champion apprentice jockey!

Avontuur Estate, the home of highly rated sires Var and Oratorio, is happy to announce a sponsorship deal with champion apprentice jockey Luke Ferraris, who is one of the up-and-coming stars of the SA Jockey Academy.

“He joins long-time Avontuur-sponsored jockey MJ Byleveld and will be sporting the various Avontuur brands on race tracks country-wide from mid-August,” says Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh.

“We’ve been incredibly lucky with our sponsored jockeys over the years. Starting off with MJ, Anthony Delpech and Greg Cheyne a decade ago,  followed by Callan Murray and most recently double SA Champ Lyle Hewitson, we have backed winners all the way.  People always joke that I seem to be able to see into the future as our jockeys have always performed incredibly well, which has obviously had positive spin-offs for our brand too,” Pippa explains.

Luke comes from a family with a long and illustrious history in South African racing.  His grandfather Ormond Ferraris (now retired) was the doyen of the Highveld racing scene, and it was a huge achievement when he chalked up two winners for his grandfather at the Vaal on Tuesday, 24 April 2018. 

His father David, has been based in Hong Kong as a trainer since the 2003/04 season, where he found early success with six-time Gr1 winner Vengeance Of Rain and has been plying his trade there ever since.  On Sunday, 10 June 2018 when three generations of the Ferraris family graced the winner’s enclosure in their separate capacities on the same day, it seemed as if it was the cherry on top for this blue-blood racing dynasty.

Looking at Luke’s family background, it seems inevitable that he would end up in the industry himself.  “I started having riding lessons in Hong Kong when I was three or four. Whenever the instructors gave me a break, I’d try and pull my irons up. When I was 5, we went on holiday to Zimbali and I remember galloping up the beach, not one bit of fear. That’s kind of when I knew it was what I really wanted to do,”he says.  Luke joined the SA Jockey Academy in 2017 and has loved the training, camaraderie and opportunities which has been coming his way ever since then.

“We have everything in place to kick off the sponsorship and look forward to seeing Luke representing Avontuur Estate.  From our side we hope to play a role in building and sustaining his career too,” Pippa concluded.

Mares and Foals Walk – bookings now open.

One of the best times of the year at Avontuur Estate is from August till December when the new foals are born and a few weeks later, are free to run around the paddocks in the care of their mothers. 

Horse lovers are invited to book for one of two Farm Walks to learn more about them on Thursday, 22 August or Thursday, 29 August 2019 from 09h30.

The walks will be led by Philip Taberer and will visit some of the mares and their offspring in the paddocks.  On arrival at the stables, visitors will meet our GM Pippa Mickleburgh who will share her extensive knowledge of the thoroughbred industry with visitors.  After a casual walk back to the winery, guests will return to the tasting room for a specialised wine pairing with lunch being served afterwards. 

The cost is R380 pp for adults. (Includes the tour, the pairing and lunch).  Kids welcome and the cost for under 12’s is R200 each.

A limited number of visitors can be accommodated for the two dates and bookings will only be confirmed once payment is received.

The walk to the stables is not strenuous and in total will be about an hour, but participants are advised to wear comfy clothing and shoes, and sun protection if necessary.

Reservations and information:  winery@avontuurestate.co.za or +27 21 855-3450

Lyle off to Hong Kong as SA champion jockey – again!

After an exciting day yesterday for Lyle Hewitson who has now been awarded the SA Jockey Championship for the second time around,  we are proud that we had a small part in his illustrious career as we have been sponsoring him for quite a few years now.

 

To add to the achievements of this successful athlete, he is soon winging his way to Hong Kong to fly the SA flag there.  We wish him well and can’t wait to see him achieving further high points in this incredible career, which is really only getting out of the starting blocks now.

 

Good luck and show the world what you’re made of Lyle!

It’s all about Shiraz this month!

As part of the annual Shiraz Week celebrations from 10-16 June, Avontuur is joining in the fun with a tutored tasting planned for Saturday 15 June which will highlight the different styles and ageability of Avontuur’s Shiraz wines from 2008 till now.

This is an opportunity for Shiraz lovers to interact with a Avontuur’s winemaker Jan van Rooyen,  and learn more about the intricacies of this hugely popular red wine varietal in South Africa and world-wide.    

Guests will arrive from 10h30 on Saturday morning and will receive a welcome drink after which the tutored tasting will be presented, filled with interesting titbits and information.  After the tasting, guests will enjoy a charcuterie platter and have time to chat to fellow Shiraz fans and Jan himself, who is always willing to share more info if visitors are keen!

Each tasting is limited to 20 participants and includes a welcome drink, the tasting and a shared Charcuterie platter for only R150 pp.  Bookings are essential and can be made in the tasting room with Ella or Moerieda, by phoning the Estate at +27 21 855-3450 or by emailing winery@avontuurestate.co.za

Avontuur’s tasting room is offering a special 3-pack of the Dominion Royale Shiraz Reserve 2014 at R600, instead of the usual R720, so if you can’t get to the farm on the 15th, feel free to order it via email or come in on another day this month to grab a few bottles to enjoy at home.