Klawervlei Stud is a thoroughbred breeding enterprise conducted from the farm Wagenboomheuel on the banks of the Breede river east of Bonnievale, a village in the BAR valley of the Western Cape. This area has traditionally been associated with the breeding of high quality and sound race horses. Klawervlei is conducted through a corporate entity owned by John Koster and a syndicate of businessmen. The Stud farm is managed by John, a seasoned equine stock-man hailing from a family that has been engaged in thoroughbred breeding for generations.


Mr Ralph Koster’s Klavervlei Stud was founded twenty-three years ago and today many of the best known racing in South Africa come from it. Klavervlei has produced a steady stream of classic and top-class handicap horses during recent years. From Klavervlei came such as South Africa’s champion of his day, Jerez, Majorca greatest filly of her time and second in her generation only to Colorado King, Casanova winner of the Guineas and Derby in Natal, Polar Bear winner of the Metropolitan Handicap, Vaso winner of the first Cape Merchants Cup and the sprinting classic the Diadem Plate, the good filly Rosinante, and Savonarola, winner of the Cape Mellow-wood Guineas and the Natal Guineas and second in his generation only to Sea Cottage in this year of grace.

Klavervlei is sited high in the Nieuevelt Mountains 25 miles to the north of Beaufort West and standing above 5,000 feet. The farms which comprise the stud extend to over 40,000 morgen and the stud lies in a valley irrigated from the Zack River.

One of the first sires at Klavervlei was Royal Chaplain a son of King Salmon. King Salmon, who was out of a great broodmare, Malva, was himself a great sire of broodmares (he is the sire of Fisherman’s Prayer) and so it is not surprising that his blood is found in many of the matrons at Klavervlei. Many of the other mares there are by Dramatic II, who still stands there. Dramatic II is by Fair Trial out of a Hyperion mare, with Hurry On adding a strain of stoutness. Although Dramatic II was a winner of the Lincolnshire Handicap at a mile and the Stewards Cup over six furlongs at Goodwood he has been an excellent found of stamina in this country. He has been joined at Klavervlei by the Alycidon horse Preamble II, himself a performer over ground. It will be seen that there is no doubt about the staying ability of the products of Klavervlei. Preamble has been an outstandingly successful sire during his few seasons here. From him have come a succession of winners of both sexes; not only do they possess the stamina which one would expect, but they also show speed and always a goodly number of winning two-year-olds, of which this season’s unbeaten Swaffam is an outstanding example.

Foundation Mares

Of the six original mares purchased from Mr Allan Robertson to form the nucleus of the stud the most successful foundation mare was Jezebel (1937). She had three daughters destined for fame in the Stud Book – Purify, who went to Mr Kelley-Patterson and became the ancestress of the famous filly, Renounce, and two who remained at the stud on which they were born, Jaquetta by Royal chaplain and Jessin by Bois Bedis. Jaquetta became the dam of Jerez and Jesson of the useful Royal Jester and the Match’em Stakes winner, In Jest. Jaquetta is still at Klavervlei where she has been joined this season by her daughter Jolliette, a full sister of Jerez. Jessin has two daughters there, the own sisters Jess Figaro and La Scala, both by Dramatic II.

One of the most famous of the Klavervlei foundation mares is Sister Sublime by Dante out of Sister Sarah, a mare of international importance, and tracing to Pretty Polly. She has bred numerous good winners including, of course, this year’s good three-year-old Savonarola, and the Western Province Nursery winner, Postulant. With her now is her daughter by Abadan II, Santa Lucia, a top division sprinter, whose first foal Gay Lothario by Dramatic II fetched 3,500 gns at this year’s sales. Sister Sublime’s own yearling, Dominican by Preamble II, fetched 4,000 gns so this wonderful mare is still proving her worth.

Another of the foundation mares at Klavervlei was Silver Harem (1935), whose family is becoming of growing importance. She was a grey mare by Silverstead out of Basra by The Boss and is represented by her daughter Sylphide by Dramatic II and Sylphide’s daughter, the very useful Red Satin by Preamble II, while Red Satin’s full sister is a two-year-old winner this season, which ensures this line for some time.

Regular Importations

Mr Koster has regularly imported fillies from overseas and his importations show that he is a believer in the superiority of classic families. One purchase which should have great bearing on the future of thoroughbred breeding in this country was Majolica II by Niccolo dell’Arca out of Samovar and so a half-sister of Zabara and second in the Oaks, and of Rustam, who was unbeaten as a two-year-old and is now a highly successful sire (Display, Talahasse, Double Jump etc.). Mr Koster was lucky to get this well-bred filly as her breeder Lady Wyfold, was anxious to buy her back for her stud. She thought that Majolica II had been knocked down to her bid and not to that of Colonel Hastings of the B.B.A. It was a lucky mistake for Klavervlei for Majolica II produced the famous racemare Majorca, twice winner of the Paddock Stakes and who ran Colorado King to half-a-length in an unforgettable race for the Cape of Good Hope Derby.

Successful Local Mares

To these imported mares Mr Koster has also added fillies from the most successful of our locally bred lines. At the Broadlands dispersal sale he acquired Pearl Opal, sired north of the line by Fastnet out of Ornament II, a family recently in the news with the winner of the French Oaks. Ornament II is a half-sister of the French Two Thousand Guineas winner, Tourment, and of Flocon, winner of the Eclipse Stakes. Pearl Opal is joined at Klavervlei by her daughter Perle d’Or, who has collected feature races, while another daughter Perlmutter is a three-year-old winner of two races so far.

Another of the late Mr George Kramer’s blood is the young mare Olive’s Charm, a winning daughter, by Dramatic II out of Wild Olive by Giafar out of Olive Grove by Windsor Lad out of Sweet Olive by Solario. Winners from this family include Red Oliver, Asian Princess and Clear Olive. Olive Grove was a feature race winner in South Africa.

From well-known de Wet families come the useful stayer Claudine by Royal Chaplain out of Cherie (Kantene family), the Sceptre Stakes winner Countess Mitzi by Royal Pardon out of the successful Italian broodmare Miazzina by Niccolo dell’Arca and a very useful racemare Marenda by Double Eclipse also out of an Italian mare Tarantella by Vezzano.