Remembering Colin Scott
Colin’s last winner Mackdesi with Muzi Yeni up, winning last Friday at Greyville Racecourse (Photo credit: Gold Circle)
Trainer Colin Scott, the nephew of the late “Uncle George” Scott and the brother of Tellytrack CEO Rob Scott, died on Sunday night after a protracted battle against cancer.
The 52-year-old had held a trainer’s license since 1999 and was one of the most popular racing industry men in the country due to his ever friendly and down-to-earth demeanour.
His father Tom was formerly involved in the breeding industry and held his racing colours for decades.
Colin spent his holidays as a schoolboy assisting his father, as well as the local trainers in Bloemfontein, and he was also willing to assist Uncle George whenever possible.
After schooling, he worked as a dealer on the Johannesburg stock exchange before becoming an assistant trainer to Uncle George and, later on, to Brian Wiid.
Uncle George was one of the wisest trainers in the country and it was he and Wiid who most influenced Colin’s training methods.
Colin then took out his own license and made a good start in this toughest of professions. On the Highveld, he trained the like of Hale Sapieha (a seven-time winning sprinter who won a Gr 3), Cool Prospect (an eleven-time winning sprinter, who ran third in the Gr 1 Merchants). Another Ace (an eight-time winner) and Gravity (a nine-time winning sprinter, who won five-in-a-row in 2005).
In 2007, Colin moved his training operation from Turffontein down to Summerveld and cited the “nicer lifestyle” in Durban as the reason.
His wife Gill was transferred at the same time and daughter Claire began attending St. Mary’s, a top private school in Kloof, where she matriculated in 2011.
Colin’s father Tom also made the move down to KZN and initially acted as his assistant. He was a regular at the yard up until Colin’s passing.
Colin arrived in KZN with a string of 40 horses, 25 of whom were owned in various partnerships by brother Rob.
The move soon began paying dividends as he trained over 20 winners in a season a number of times, including a high of 27 winners in the 2010/2011 season.
Colin’s first big Summerveld-trained horse was the sprinter Extinct, who finished third in the 2009 Gr 1 Mercury Sprint in Rob’s familiar black and white checked colours.
This horse was unsound yet still won seven races, a testament to Colin’s training and horse-care skills, as well as his patience.
Colin, renowned as a hard worker, prided himself on buying inexpensive horses and training them into profitable racehorses for their owners.
His good eye was partly behind his ability to achieve this.
Brother Rob had the same gift and this was illustrated when he bought a three-year-old by Dynasty called Sage Throne at the Graham Beck Dispersal sale in 2011. In his only two Cape starts this horse had been beaten 14,95 lengths and 8,15 lengths.
However, he was backed from 25/1 to 5/1 in his first start for Colin and won in impressive style over 1600m at Scottsville. Sage Throne won next time out too and then crossed the line first in the Gr 2 Gold Circle Derby over 2400m at Clairwood, only to be demoted after an objection. In 2012 Sage Throne gave both Colin and Rob their first respective runner in the Vodacom Durban July.
The brotherly partnership also did well out of Summerveld with another Dynasty gelding, Fourth Estate, a classy miler who won eight races, including the Gr 3 Christmas Handicap.
Another of their stalwarts has been the evergreen grey Stolen Destiny, an eight-time winner who is still competitive off a 90-merit rating at the age of nine.
Colin’s final winner was the Australian-bred Mackdesi, who was backed from 28/1 to 15/1 at Greyville last Friday night and stormed to his fifth career victory. Fittingly he is owned outright by Rob.
Colin will be sorely missed by everyone in the racing industry and by all others who met him.