Hall of Fame
The world of sport is about matching the best competitors. Unfortunately, travel restrictions imposed as a result of African Horse Sickness have been an ongoing limitation on testing South African horses against the world’s best.
However, the same controls do not apply to imported horses. In the early 80s, there were several notable imports that had raced in Europe prior to importation to South Africa, which provide a guide to the relative merits of South African racehorses.
One of these was Spanish Pool, who arrived in South Africa with creditable British form. Perhaps his best performance was finishing within three lengths of the winner in the prestigious Sussex Stakes (Grade I) over a mile.
Spanish Pool made an auspicious South African debut, finishing second in a Top Division handicap, separating the top fillies Grey Sun and Diorissimo. He won his next start, and closed off his four-year-old season with two seconds behind Tecla Bluff and a third behind Wolf Power.
Over the course of the next two seasons he won 10 races, including five Grade Ones (two over 1600m and three over 2000m). He captured the Queen’s Plate, Champion Stakes, Clairwood Champion Stakes, and Sun International.
Britain’s Timeform described him as “a most genuine and consistent performer”, which also sums up his record in South Africa. He was often placed at top level as well – two seconds in the J&B Met were among the most notable – and seldom finished more than a couple of lengths behind the winner.
By the time he retired, he was the highest earner in South African racing history.
Thoroughpedia (Oscar Foulkes)