Thoroughbred Breeders

Mick Goss / Summerhill Stud CEO

Mick Goss / Summerhill Stud CEO

One of my greatest joys as a racehorse breeder has come from visiting the planet’s great stud farms. Breeders the world over have invested billions of dollars building their shrines to the thoroughbred, and these properties attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. As beautiful as any I’ve had the privilege to know is the Backworth Stud, located in the verdant hills of Mid-Illovo, where they breed horses comparable with the best anywhere. Mick Goss / Summerhill Stud CEO

48% Winners to Runners!

48% Winners to Runners!

With the 2015 racing season now well under way, the latest Sporting Post Breeders’ Statistics reflect Backworth Stud’s percentage of ‘Winners to Runners’ surpassing an impressive 48%.

And so the breeding season begins!

Thoroughbred Breeding SeasonBreeding Season Begins
(Photo : Ian Todd)

“Backworth has 46 mares being covered this season”

Backworth Stud got off to a good start to the season yesterday with 2 mares being covered in KwaZulu-Natal and 3 in the Cape, and more bookings for today.

It’s an exciting year for Backworth ahead, and with a confident belief that the Thoroughbred and Racing industry is moving forward, we have taken a calculated and strategic approach to an upgrade in the Broodmare band over the past year. With an aggressive investment in stallion shares, and bookings to a profiled selection of proven and exciting new Stallion prospects, Backworth has 46 mares being covered this season.

From the KwaZulu-Natal selection we are obviously supporting champion sire Kahal, stalwart Mogok, A.P. Answer and Torreador… and then new to the barn, Irish Flame, Byword, Crusade and Await The Dawn. We’re also supporting promising sire King’s Chapel, where his yearlings on the ground look very racy.

We have sent 14 mares down to the Western Cape, to board at Winterbach Stud, and they’ll be visiting super-sire Var, Champion Freshman sire Judpot, Gimmethegreenlight, new boy What A Winter, and exciting new prospect in South Africa, Oratorio!

‘Best Wishes’ to all fellow breeders for a magnificent season ahead!

Keith and Ian


early thanksgiving rss

“We really are celebrating an early Thanksgiving this year!”

We looked at the Sporting Post statistics for the 2011-2012 season, and have to say how proud we are. From just 37 runners, Backworth Stud ended up in 30th place on the National Log with R2,272,386 earnings, and from there 1st position in Places to Runners of 38%, 2nd position Winners to Runners of 54%, and 8th position with and AEPR of R61,416.

But on closer analysis, one acknowledges there is much more to give thanks for! And that is to all the players in this incredible game - it is a privilege to be a part of it.

We start by celebrating the horse, this amazing animal that leaves us in daily wonder. So, in acknowledging performance, we need to congratulate trainers, where Paul Matchett’s ‘Raise The Bar’ (Gold Keeper / Moving On Up) was our biggest contributing earner, closely contested by Herman Brown trained ‘Chocolicious’ (Kahal/Candy Box), Louis Goosen’s ‘Variometer’ (Var/Lady Electric), Lucky Houdalakis’ ‘Glitter Star’ (Muhtafal/Celestial Charm), Brian Wiid’s Varlet (Var/Miss Unimac ) and Ivan Moore’s ‘Devonella’ (Kahal/Devon-Sent) to name a few.

There were the jockeys who were a part in achieving this great Win and Place statistic, and Anton Marcus rode his 200th victory on Backworth-bred Glitter Star, helping him achieve top Jockey position with 205 wins.

But life isn’t just about performance! It’s about knowing the rules, and playing the game fairly, it’s about integrity, it’s about trust, it’s about embracing your fellows, and respecting everyone’s right to earn an honest living. It is also about support - and for that we are certainly fortunate. We’ve witnessed a growing loyalty from owners, trainers, pre-trainers, vets and interest groups, who see the value in a Backworth-bred. We appreciate the dedication, concern and professionalism of our Stud vet and farrier. We enjoy the sporting challenge from our fellow breeders, the cooperation of the stallion owners, the insurers, the transporters, the feed company, the advertising agency, the bank, the racing companies, auction houses, Tellytrack, and all the partnerships that bring this business together. We are forever grateful for the underbidders at sales, the competition on the race track, and the thrill and stress of the auctions. It is all the amazing new people we continually meet, and who share (or respect) this obsession! It is the visitors to the Stud. And then, there are the friends and family, with their perennial, evergreen commitment and interest in Backworth.

We like to think we can factor in an elusive, mystery ‘soul’ factor to our Backworth-breds. It is what has brought us to where we are, and it is many things. It’s the committed passion of the team on the farm, who are as much the face of our business as are our horses in the training yards around the country. It’s the hours spent pouring over pedigrees and planning matings. It is that resilience to ride out on the challenging tracks livestock breeding puts you through. It’s making business decisions that defy fiscal logic! It’s the tedious admin. It’s the gentle relationships with the mares and horses on the farm. It’s dreaming of the potential in a foal. It’s the natural beauty of the environment we breed in, the winds that blow through our fields, the sun that shines on our paddocks, and the mists that shroud us in mystery. It’s believing in what we do. It’s Scotty dogs, it’s our treasured home and it’s where our hearts are. It is all of this, and we continue to be absolutely passionate about all things Backworth!

We write from Eston, end August, seven beautiful foals on the ground, fifteen to go, and with the recent settling rains, there is that wonderful promise of spring in the air.

So whilst giving “thanks” for our 2011-2012 Breeding Year, with the benchmarks of Frankel and Black Caviar on the table, we take on the 2012-2013 Breeding Year with a renewed vigour!

Yes, Thanksgiving has come early for Backworth!

Keith and Ian


Keith Knowler, Peter Bretherton, Faith Knowler, Wendy Knowler, Alan Cooper, Amy and John Knowler Cooper

L to R : Keith Russon, Ian Todd, Keith Knowler, Peter Bretherton, Faith Knowler, Wendy Knowler, Alan Cooper,
Amy and John Knowler Cooper, and Scottie Dogs

“Balmy Backworth - cherishing the breeding ground of Champions!”



Blingle Bells wins the Summer SpeedstersBLINGLE BELLS - Backworth Top Earner for 2010/2011 Season
(Photo : JC Photos / Backworth Stud)


The South African Breeders’ statistics released at the end of July showed that Backworth-breds had achieved an AEPR of R39.477, from 32 runners, with a winner to runner ratio of 41% and total stakes of R1,263,270.