Setaro has X-factor
PASSIONATE animal keeper and racing man Leon Setaro believes thoroughbred ownership need not be a compulsive loss making practice and has proved it during the short existence of his Sportofkings.co.za Syndicate, who own newly crowned Northern Cape Horse Of The Season Lebeoana.
Setaro recognises the sustainability of the game he loves depends on bringing new owners to the table and agrees “fun and lifestyle” is a key attraction point of racehorse ownership.
However, he said, “For me, it all revolves around the horses.. picking the right ones for starters, for which we have a rigorous physical inspection and background investigation process. I like to think of our horses as professional athletes, much like soccer players in a team. Our horses must pay their way and earn their living as with any professional athlete.”
Setaro comes from a long line of “animal” people and has the “X-factor” in instinctively identifying the pick of the crop and later bonding with them and knowing their needs.
The sportofkings.co.za syndicate, which currently consists of 16 members, thus have an advantage in that Setaro is a stable employee of Summerveld trainer Craig Eudey, deployed specifically to work with the Sport of Kings horses on a daily basis. “Getting up every morning at 3am to be at the yard at 4 is made easy knowing our horses are there waiting.
Pure in spirit and a permanent source of upliftment, all troubles are forgotten in their presence.
They are my pets and children” he said and pointed to the excellent relationship which has been formed with Eudey through a shared love of horses.
“Craig offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a trainer and everyday I am learning new things and documenting as much detail as possible to better understand horses in the racing environment.”
Setaro once ran an animal feed business and has also worked in many racehorse training yards.
The knowledge gained from both experiences, combined with a scientific approach to animal care, has enabled him to add value in such important aspects of racehorse conditioning as feeding.
After getting out of the animal feed business he decided to give professional punting a run and Interbet, noticing his success rate, offered him a chance to share his knowledge with the public.
He thus began writing and doing podcasts and has been involved in the industry ever since.
He attained his love of horseracing from his grandparents and was first exposed to horses in boarding school in the midlands where caring for and riding horses was a daily routine.
Since then he’s been a regular at the races and credits 25 years of watching pre-race canter pasts as the fundamental grounding to identify quality racehorses to purchase.
“Noah from Goa was the first horse I ever selected and bought at an auction (for Winston Chow) and due to a fatal comedy of errors, we had to cancel the sale and ended up owning him for all of 45 minutes after the gavel fell.
The next horse I selected, exactly one year later, was Lebeoana. In fact he was the catalyst to launch sportofkings.co.za syndicate because he ticked all the boxes for Kimberley racing and believe me we looked at plenty horses that didn’t fit the bill.”
The A P Arrow gelding was sent straight to trainer Tiene Prinsloo in Kimberley and the theory was quickly proven correct.
In his second start at Flamingo Park, after a pipe opener over a too sharp 1400m, Lebeoana was stepped up to 1800m.
Andrew Fortune switched him to the outside at the top of the straight, away from horses, and he trotted up by nearly seven lengths.
He won six races in all last season and was the highest stakes earner in Kimberley.
On Saturday Lebeoana start- ed the new season in similar style, winning the R100,000 Non-Black Type RA Diamond Stayers over 2200m by 3,75 lengths under Ryan Munger despite carrying topweight of 63kg off a merit rating of 97 (he arrived in Kimberley rated 62). Lebeoana proved in that race he is nowadays a more confident horse and hugged the inside rail throughout.
Destined For Dawn
Another horse in training which has done well for the syndicate is Destined For Dawn, whom Eudey has sent out 12 times already this year for ten cheques, including a win in which he defied his “professional maiden” tag and stormed home by 3,75 lengths.
On Saturday another Pr ins loo - tra ined sportofkings.co.za horse Samogan earned a sizeable cheque for running third in the R200,000 Racing Association Flamingo Mile.
In fact at this early stage of the season, sportofkings.co.za is lying third on the national owners log.
In stakes earned compared to training fees, sportofkings.co.za is well ahead after one year of existence.
The initial key was to have horses which could earn immediately, but some willing members have now entrusted Setaro to make higher risk investments such as buying yearlings.
Syndicate members join per horse and share amounts range from as small as 2,5% upwards.
Sportofkings.co.za syndicate members lead in their ‘autobank’ DESTINED FOR DAWN after he had finally rid himself of his maiden tag at Greyville on June 17 this year.