Prolific South African owner Larry Nestadt has had feature race wins twice this month in South Africa with the Mike de Kock-trained Aragosta and the Robbie Sage-trained Unzen, but that is small fry compared to his success in Australia, reports TURF TALK.
His achievements as an owner and breeder in Australia this year includes a Gr 1 win as well as multiple other Gr race victories and also a Melbourne Cup tenth place finish.
His Gr 1 winner out there was originally owned by The Queen and in fact this Irish-bred Sea The Stars gelding called Just Fine was King Charles’ first ever winner.
After a fine start to his career in Australia Just Fine was made the Melbourne Cup ante-post second favourite.
However, he was scratched after running flat in his last start.
In South Africa Larry races with a group of friends and they manage their racing and breeding interests through “The Tawny Syndicate”.
The syndicate was named after the first horse Larry part-owned back in 1984, the Roy Howe-trained Tawny Sky.
JR “JJ” van der Linden, Jeff Shill and Greg Blank are also familiar names associated with the Tawny Syndicate.
“JJ” bred the Erupt gelding Unzen under the Tawny Syndicate banner.
He and Larry are both part-owners in this horse, who won last Saturday’s R500,000 Non-Black Type Grand Heritage, beating 21 others horses in the annual stampede down the Vaal straight.
Larry said Unzen had shown them flashes of class, but admitted he had been worried by the low draw of two, which by general trends and on the evidence of previous races on the day appeared to be the wrong side to be on.
He praised jockey Dennis Schwarz for sticking to the far side and in fact in the end the first, third and fourth placed horses finished on that side after sticking to their stations.
The former WSB SA Derby winner, Rafeef gelding Aragosta, bounced back to his best by easily winning the Listed Spinawina Cape Summer Stayers Handicap over 2500m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on December 2 under Richard Fourie.
Larry and “JJ” are both part-owners in this Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Stud-bred five-year-old, whose chief target in Cape Town is the Gr 2 Western Cape Stayers over 2800m on WSB Met day.
Larry claimed the exacta in the Summer Stayers because he also part-owns the runner up, the Candice Dawson-trained Raiseahallelujah.
Larry prefers to be under the radar and so his success in Australia has gone largely unnoticed out here.
He has in fact been racing in Australia for “many, many years”.
Larry met Evergreen Stud farm owner Tony Bott many years ago.
Tony’s son Adrian was the right hand man of Hall Of Fame trainer Gai Waterhouse for a while before joining forces with her, so the stable now operates under the name Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott.
Larry said, “I’ve been close to the Bott family. I bred with Tony and so now have quite a few horses with the Waterhouse/Bott stable.”
Larry part-owns Just Fine who was put in a handicap in his first run in Australia. He had been off the track for eleven months after being purchased from The King.
However, that did not stop him winning the 1600m handicap at Randwick under Rachel King.
He followed up by winning a Gr 3 over 2000m at Randwick under Regan Bayliss.
Waterhouse and Bott then entered him in the Gr 1 Metropolitan over 2400m at Randwick and he converted favouritism by a neck under Rachel King.
He was duly made Melbourne Cup second favourite.
Alas, in his next start in a Gr 1 over 2000m at Caulfield just two weeks later, he ran last.
It was an obviously flat run and it was decided to pull him out of the Melbourne Cup and rest him.
However, he will be back and watch out for his progress in the build up to next year’s Cup.
Larry also part-owns the Mastercraftsman Irish-bred Military Mission, who finished tenth in the Melbourne Cup for the Waterhouse/Bott stable under Rachel King. That effort returned a stake cheque of a cool Aus$160,000 (R1,992,000).
Military Mission has had a tremendous season. He won the Gr 3 Hobart Cup over 2400m in February at Elwick racecourse under Winona Costin, he won a Gr 3 over 2300m at Newcastle in September under Rachel King, a Gr 2 over 2400m at Caulfield in October under Joao Moreira, and another Gr 2 over 2400m at Caulfield on December 2 under Jye McNeil.
At the same meeting that Military Mission won that last Gr 2, Larry had another Gr 2 success with Snitzel filly Serasana, who won the Sandown Guineas under John Allen. Serasana is trained by Matthew de Kock and Robbie Griffiths and Larry part-owns her together with Mike de Kock, Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud and Kia Ora Stud.
There would have been triple reason to celebrate because that was the same day Aragosta won in Cape Town.
The De Kocks would also have had triple reason to celebrate because Matthew and Robbie had a Gr 3 winner at the same meeting called King Magnus, an eight-year-old gelding by Magnus.
Larry also part-owns, together with Gaynor Rupert and Gary Barber, the Matthew de Kock and Robbie Griffiths-trained Frankel filly Let’sbefrankbaby, who won a Gr 3 over 2500m in May under Jamie Mott at Morphettville.
There is plenty to look forward to for Larry in both South Africa and Australia and deservedly so as a passionate racing man who has poured a lot into the sport.