Together they survived one of racing’s most regimented apprenticeships to ride their way around the world.
Now more than three decades later and as elder statesmen of their trade, Robbie Fradd and Glyn Schofield will ride the two horses tipped to fight out the Spring Champion Stakes.
Fradd will come down from Queensland to continue his association with Too Good To Refuse on Saturday with his mount rated the best chance of beating Vanbrugh, the odds-on favourite which will be ridden by Schofield.
Their reunion on the spring turf at Randwick as graduates of the famed South Africa Riding Academy is an example of the global nature of racing as much as it is a tribute to their longevity in the saddle.
“We were in the academy together and I think Glyn was a year below me,” Fradd said.
“It was probably just after the dinosaur era.”
For Fradd it is also further evidence of the opportunities Australia can provide – and the ones South Africa can’t.
“South Africa is a beautiful country that is just going the wrong way and it’s going to progressively get worse,” Fradd said.
Fradd packed up his family and left South Africa last year with a CV that includes a Hong Kong premiership and a host of international wins.
The sacrifices he made to relocate will be worth it if Too Good To Refuse can beat Vanbrugh.
“Actually, I left a lot of nice horses behind but it’s either your family’s safety or your career,” Fradd said.
South Africa has been a nursery for producing world-class jockeys and the academy’s alumni includes Basil Marcus, Douglas Whyte, Michael Roberts and Felix Coetzee.
Fradd said the academy was run with military precision but the rewards were significant if you could come out as a senior rider.
“You had to be on the ball and you had to be tough and you had to work hard to get things done otherwise you would just fall by the wayside,” he said.
“When you are young and you go into the army you come out a man and the academy was very similar.”
Likewise, Too Good To Refuse has grown up quickly and heads to Sydney as the winner of three races from his past five Brisbane starts.
“He’s matured a lot this horse. He’s such a sensible horse for a colt because he just does everything you ask him … which is important for big days,” Fradd said.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au