When Neville Scott started farming at Highdown in Nottingham Road in the 1960s, he couldn’t have imagined that the farm would become one of the most prestigious thoroughbred-producing establishments in South African history.
All the stock at what became Highdown Stud in 1968 will be sold without reserve from the farm next Tuesday, starting at 12pm, as the long formidable Scott Bros start to wind down their operation.
Robin and Des Scott developed Highdown into a horse farm after acquiring it from their farming brother. The Scott breeding and racing empire has been a major part of the South African landscape for 50 years. Des Scott’s popular black-white-and-red silks (including the maltese cross), hasn’t been seen on the tracks so often in recent years, but the man is 90 years old, after all!
Robin Scott, at 84, speaks with the energy of a man half his age and he’s still actively involved in the running of the farm every day. He said: “You know, Des and I are getting on, we’ve had many long and productive years in the industry but the time has come to round things up. We can’t keep going forever.”
He recalled their earlier years: “Neville was the farmer in the family, he had a degree in agriculture. Des and I were in the commercial field, we were shoe salesmen. We owned Scott’s Stores and at the time we took over Highdown we had dreams for the farm but we never thought it would grow so big.
“We stood many good stallions, including Jungle Cove, twice Champion sire of South Africa, and Foveros, who was champion six times. Both had a big impact on the stud book. Our racehorses included the Durban July winners Illustrador and Devon Air and we imported mares that produced horses like Teal, Ipi Tombe and J&B Met winner La Fabulous.
“Des started losing interest after the death of his good friends Laurie Jaffee and Graham Beck, but we both still go racing often and will continue to do so. For now, we’d like to disperse of about 160 horses on the farm. They include mares, weanlings, yearlings and two-year-olds.”
The stock will include some of the best Scott thoroughbred families, including relations and offspring of The Apache, TalktotheStars and Devon Air, with mares by the likes of Al Mufti, Bernstein, Caesour, Carnegie, Danehill Dancer, Kahal and Roy.
Robin Scott commented: “I think this won’t be a high-priced sale considering the economic climate but that means there will be value buys for everyone. The weanlings in particular will be good investments. The very weanlings walking on the farm right now would have been going from here to the National Sale next year. We normally have about 15 to 20 in the National Catalogue, so this is a good chance for buyers to get them for way below the value they’d have as yearlings.”
Highdown’s well-performed young stallion Crusade has moved to Peter and Jenny Blyth for the 2018 reeding season. The well-related stallion is owned by a syndicate comprising KZN Breeders and Scott said: “I won’t be selling the farm as yet, so I will be keeping our resident stallions Mogok and The Apache. I still have high hopes for The Apache, he is well bred with a proven international track record.”
The catalogue for the Scott Bros dispersal is online. – turftalk.co.za