Hall of Fame
Empress Club was the type of horse every owner dreams of having in their lives.
So much so that she earned the nickname “Galloping Goldmine” based on the fact that just about every time she was saddled up for a race, she managed to earn a cheque.
It was a career studded with performances that led the Argentinean import to become of South African horseracing’s legends and included multiple Grade One victories and of course a memorable drubbing of the boys in The Metropolitan back in 1993.
After making a winning start to her career first time out at the Vaal on 28 February 1991, Empress Club would reel off three more victories as a juvenile including a Group Two at Gosforth Park and an easy win in the Gold Medallion (Gr 1) at Scottsville on 18 May.
Empress Club suffered her first defeat when finishing second in her first start as a three-year-old but that was soon forgotten as she managed a fantastic run of seven straight victories under her regular jockey Felix Coetzee.
What made this feat that much more impressive was that she managed to pull off five Grade One wins during that time and continued to prove her versatility winning over distances between 1400m and 2000m including the Administrators Cup (Gr 1).
Other notable wins included the Administrator’s Classic, the Topsport Bloodline Guineas, South African Guineas and the SA Fillies Guineas. Her three year-old season was bookended by another runner-up finish, this time in the Daily News 2000 when beaten by Fluent Stride, a result considered to be a major shock.
The country already knew all about Empress Club by the time her four-year-old campaign kicked off but her place in legend was sealed first by romping home in the Queen’s Plate (Gr 1) at Kenilworth at the start of January in 1993.
Having partnered up with Anton Marcus for that memorable win, the pair proved it was no fluke by once again forcing Durban July winner Flaming Rock into the runner’s up position when they met again in the Met at the end of January.
The ‘Galloping Goldmine’ would add one more feather to her cap when claiming another Group One win, this time over 1600m at Turffontein in March to take her career tally to six at that level.
She retired with 17 victories to her name and provided her owners Laurie and Jean Jaffee with some wonderful moments and was among a host of top horses to be conditioned by the great trainers Terence, who had her for the first part of her career, and Tony Millard.
Among her major plaudits include being named Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, Horse of the Year and Champion Three Year Old and Champion Older Female.