Prinsloo wants to play in the big league
The sole survivor of South African racing operator Gold Circle’s migration of trainers from Kimberley to Ashburton in KwaZulu-Natal in 2020, Tienie Prinsloo moved from Ashburton to Summerveld in November 2021 and he’s absolutely delighted with his stable’s new home.
Prinsloo (49) stayed on in Durban when his former Kimberley colleagues moved on to Port Elizabeth in search of support and he says: “My wife Elsa and I love the lifestyle in this beautiful place. The facilities are great – really chalk and cheese from what we had in Kimberley, and my fellow trainers here have been helpful and accommodating.
“We also have access to better services for horses, including top veterinarians. In Kimberley we had to learn to treat some ailments ourselves when vets weren’t readily available. For example, I used a mix of camphor and buchu leaves to draw inflammation from sore knees and joints, Things are more sophisticated where we are now.
“When I was asked to move to Port Elizabeth I said no, I am done moving around. We have settled here, we’ve been through tough times but we are here to stay now. I have ambition, I’d like to be among the top trainers here. I’d also want to win big races like the Durban July, I am not giving up on those hopes and for that I have to stay in a prominent centre, work hard and attract support.”
Prinsloo’s persistence so far is paying off. He started off with 12 horses, now has 22 including a number of unraced two-year-olds. “I have new patrons, including Butch Fitzgerald and Mike de Haast and some well-bred ‘babies’ by the likes of Gimmethegreenlight, Pathfork, Global View and William Longsword. My staunch older patron Ben Laubscher also sent one the other day, and just this morning I had some new guys taking shares of a horse. Things are happening.”
You would have read earlier this week that the IRC sent our gelding A Whole New World to Prinsloo recently and he reports. “I showed Joao Da Mata that he wasn’t striding out when he came to see the horse last week. A Whole New World had a hoof problem and his knees needed veterinary attention, so Joao agreed we should do it immediately. The horse has improved wonderfully since. He is striding well and enjoying himself. We’ll be looking for a suitable race for him. His merit rating is 71, that’s a mark we can work with. He is a nice type.”
Prinsloo and Da Mata go back to the Kimberley days, where they raced the former Kimberley Horse Of The Year Lebohana and he won the Northern Cape title with only 13 horses stabled. Tienie also trained the likes of Sir Isaac, Black Pepper, Sudden Surprise, You Beauty and one called ‘Trifecta’ he got from Gary Player.”
Prinsloo, who rode in “bush races” for his father as a youngster, says his mother made jockeys’ silks for him to compete in. “We won plenty of races in the farmlands outside of Nylstroom and later, as a young man, I gave up a job at Prison Services in Pretoria to pursue a career in training.”
He worked for Cliffie Otto, Dave Bohler and Jacques Strydom before joining multiple Port Elizabeth champion Alan Greeff, where he spent eight years learning from one of the best trainers around.
As a people’s person, Tienie offers a likeable affability and honesty and, as a horseman, his service starts with love. “My wife says I love my horses more than I love her,” he jokes. “We live in quarters at the stables, another benefit to being here. We are with our horses for 24 hours a day and my clients often comment on how happy our horses are. We’re close to these wonderful animals, I won’t do anything else with my life, so we’re just as happy”. – IRC.