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Miss Frankel’s big adventure

Lifestyle Section - Community


cn_rh_frankel2-M Last week Bolander visited a very special lass at Avontuur Estate, on the outskirts of Somerset West – Miss Frankel, the offspring of one-time SA champion sprinter Val de Ra (who kept a close eye on the proceedings), and illustrious British father, Frankel.

Dam and filly finally arrived home safely after spending a month at the Quarantine Facility at Drakenstein, and joined the resident equines. Mom and little Miss Frankel are now settling in happily with other mares and foals in the paddocks at this Helderberg stud farm.

Val de Ra, who hails from Avontuur originally, had made the trip to the UK upon her retirement from an astonishing three-year trajectory in her racing career, with a hiatus in Mauritius for three months to comply with the UK quarantine regulations.

She had a blazing career in South Africa, and was crowned the Equus Champion Sprinter for the 2010-11 season, with her greatest moment arguably when she beat What A Winter in the 2012 Cape Flying Championship. And one of her greatest attributes is that she competed against her male counterparts.

Her first foal proved that she was a textbook mother, after she gave birth in the UK in 2013 to a filly by another of the world’s top sires, Oasis Dream.

After a (brief) romantic liason with UK thoroughbred Frankel last year (which cost Avontuur a cool £100 000) Val de Ra took on the long trip home to SA, coming full circle back to the farm.

Frankel was unbeaten in his 14-race career and was the highest-rated racehorse in the world from May 2011, and has a valuation of £100 million, and his stud fee has since been raised to  £125 000.

Avontuur GM Pippa Mickleburgh calls Frankel (Senior) “a force of nature” – and they are expecting his young daughter to reflect both parents’ DNA and be a marvel to behold. Pippa has been at the helm of the stud farm for the past 25 years, and knows each horse as a parent knows a child.

She says Miss Frankel assimilated effortlessly into the herd, after initially being a bit aloof, and indeed she showed remarkable equanimity when we gave her a rub-down and a rump scratch, and indeed looked set to follow us out of the camp when we left, before mom cautioned her to return to her side.

“We’re even thinking of getting Miss Frankel her own Facebook page – she’s generating so much interest and gets a stream of visitors – she’s voor op die wa (precocious) and scared of nothing,” said Pippa.

Ms Frankel has a gorgeous blaze, with what looks like a puzzle piece on this side of it, and her coat is a vibrant russet colour. All the other foals were lying in the sunshine and taking a mid-morning siesta when we arrived, but Miss Frankel was coaxed to her feet with a little tummy tickling from Pippa, who describes her as having je ne sais quoi (a certain something).

Pippa let Bolander know a few days after the visit that they’d just had confirmation that Val de Ra is pregnant again, by Avontuur stallion Oratorio – so she is getting lots of pampering.

This weekend is the Avontuur Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas race, at Kenilworth on Saturday December 6, with fun for the whole family, with food, wine and plenty of activities for the little ones.

The beneficiary of the event is the Peninsula School Feeding Association (PSFA), and Avontuur Estate and Kenilworth Racing have committed to providing PSFA with a minimum amount of R100 000, which will go towards feeding children at underprivileged schools.

For information on how to book a table in the Somerset Room for a VIP experience, contact Diane Hayden at 082 787 6154 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Written by Norman McFarlane You are reading Miss Frankel’s big adventure articles

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