Grande Jete, a grandson of Princess Daisy, wins the Cape Derby

It is tempting to take a matriarchal view of Normandy Stud’s track record. Certainly, much of Veronica’s inspiration came from her mother, Margaret de Wet, who took on the responsibility of the family farm, Excelsior, when she was widowed in her forties. It shouldn’t be necessary to qualify a person’s achievements in terms of gender, but in the early sixties farming was about far away from nursing and teaching – the traditional career paths of women – as it was possible to get. When she retired and moved to Cape Town, she always had a couple of horses in training.

It was with her mother’s interest in mind that Veronica bought the mare Princess Daisy in the mid-80s, to enable them to breed in partnership. The second foal of this arrangement was Corps De Ballet, and in 2001 her progeny Grande Jete became Normandy’s first Cape Derby winner. Princess Daisy herself produced a succession of useful fillies. However, she saved the best for last, in the form of Joshua’s Princess, who won the KZN Fillies Guineas, the Odessa Stud Fillies Championship and the Gold Circle Oaks.

Tatler, a grandaughter of Fillies Guineas winner In Camera, wins the Grade One Golden Slipper

Winter Solstice takes the first of back-to-back Queen’s Plates, commencing a season in which he was named Horse of the Year.

Princess Daisy certainly qualifies as a matriarch of some note. Another is our Fillies Guineas winner In Camera. While none of her progeny set the tracks alight, In Camera’s daughter Isadora Duncan produced two graded stakes-winners, including the Champion Two-Year-Old filly Consensual. Another daughter, Private Lives, produced Tatler, who carried Veronica’s colours to victory in the Golden Slipper, Odessa Fillies Championship and St Andrews Paddock Stakes. Tatler was awarded the trophy as Equus Champion Three-Year-old Female Sprinter in 2001.

Tatler wins the Odessa Stud Fillies Championship

Helenita, who we secured for stud thanks to our relationship with her owners, had already produced the Guineas winner Little Ballerina and Top Division Harry Percy and Hatch. In 2001, her daughter Trojan Belle added the Grade Two Majorca Stakes to her tally.

However, Terpsichore, the daughter of the well-bred Tramore who was added to the stud in the 70s, is Normandy’s chief matriarch of the ‘noughties’. The family had always produced a high concentration of above average performers; all that was missing was a champion. Winter Solstice changed that, in no uncertain terms. His two Equus awards recognised his achievement in winning successive Queen’s Plates, with further Grade One victories in the Gold Challenge and Champions Cup.

In 2009, Mother Russia – out of a half-sister to the dam of Winter Solstice – took the Grade One Majorca Stakes, becoming the second member of the female line since Tribesman’s SA Derby in 1977 to win a Grade One.