Louis was born into a racing stable, his late father, Danie having been many times Champion Trainer in the Eastern Cape, after his weight caught up with him as a jockey. Whilst riding, Danie was extremely competitive. He rode Wendy House to victory in the inaugural Eastern Cape Derby and Danie also rode all of the winners of the jackpot on the day. The silverware in the Goosen cabinet bears testimony to the late Danie Goosen’s many achievements and championships as a trainer before his untimely death in a motor accident in 1977.Louis started training in 1994, after a spell as Assistant Trainer to Chris Erasmus, then based at Newmarket. Louis still remains on good, friendly terms with Chris, for whom he has real respect and who is, in his opinion, a vastly underrated trainer.
The late Buddy Maroun was a longtime friend of Louis the friendship really grew from 1996 onwards once Louis moved his string to Randjesfontein. There, Buddy became a mentor. Buddy’s death on 18 February 2008, whilst in Argentina, left Louis devastated. Buddy can never be replaced and will remain a GREAT to Louis.
Piere “Striker” Strydom was married to Louis sister, Beaty and remains a close friend. Arguably the greatest jockey of all time on South Africa’s Turf, Piere has ridden more than 5000 winners in more than 22000 races. Piere has won every single Grade 1 race on the South African racing calendar at least once. On more than one occasion, Piere has ridden 7 winners on the same day and he has ridden in Hong Kong, UK, Dubai, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Australia. Over the years Piere and Louis have formed a firm bond, which transcends the day to day politics and fickle aspects of racing. This bond has grown steadily since 1988, when Louis was instrumental in bringing Piere up to Gauteng from Port Elizabeth to ride for Trainer Brett Warren. Piere and Louis’ accumulated racing experiences have left both in no doubt of the fact that racing is, at its core, a common sense industry and nothing else. To Louis, Piere remains what he has always been- the best jockey in South Africa by far. Piere’s honest, no nonsense, accurate and commonsense feedback after riding a horse remains the jewel in the crown of any stable for whom Piere rides.
Louis approach to racing is simple:-
• Remove risk when buying horses.
• Give every horse the time it needs
• Don’t run a livery yard, don’t just fill stables for the sake of training fees.
• Once racing, horses must run, regularly. That’s what they are bred to do.
• Only the very best grooms, feed, bedding and supplements will do.
• Without owners, a racing yard is useless. Respect for owners and their needs, regular communication and nothing but 100% effort and honesty are vital, at all times.
Lauren Watt runs the entire admin process and sees to every detail of the yards various processes. Lauren has been an assistant trainer for some 22 years and is an excellent horse person. Lauren is also an equine artist.
Equine dentist supreme! Mark Hooper qualified in USA as an equine dentist in 1991 and remains the best at his trade, in SA. Mark’s regular visits ensure that mouthing problems are eliminated and that food is properly digested.
Sam Menerha has been with LGRS for a long time. He is the head groom and also sees to cuts and scratches, kit and yard maintenance. The team of grooms at LGRS are all employed by Sam, who has a strong budget and seeks only the best grooms, without whom it would be impossible.
Khehla is a qualified work rider. In his two races for the yard, he finished 5th and 3rd on Sarah Smillie. Khehla loves animals. He keeps his own racing pigeons. His special kindness to horses is a big bonus to the team and his sense of humour is often a source of comic relief during stressful times.
“All the experience in the world and the softest hands around,” is how Louis describes this dedicated work rider. Samuel is always first on duty in the mornings and last to leave. He loves racing and his charges receive extra special attention and care.
THE VAAL TRAINING TRACKS
In the country……….Naturally!
The Vaal Training Centre is, by far, the very best training centre in South Africa.
These are the reasons why this is a fact:-
- Natural training tracks, from natural soil.
- No “base” to any training track. The training track bases are natural soil, from the “basin” which is on the banks of the Vaal River, where the Vaal Training Centre is situated.
- More square metres of training tracks, per horse, than anywhere else in SA (worldwide?). The training tracks seem endless and options of track usage are vast.
The benefits of the Vaal Training Centre are:-
- Soundness. Horses remain sounder at Vaal, very few injuries.
- Fitness. With the long training tracks and the multitude of options available, fitness is easy to accomplish, with each horse.
- Home course advantage. With so many local meetings taking place at Vaal, there is a definite home course advantage. Vaal trained horses only have to travel to Turffontein race meetings, on the relatively traffic free R59 highway, some 45 minutes away.
- Excellent groom quarters. Phumelela have just completed construction on the new “village” where Vaal grooms reside. The facilities are excellent. Happy grooms make happy horses.
- Alternative “country” training tracks. A change is as good as a holiday and the natural training tracks which are situated under the trees, far away from the main training tracks are a tonic to horses trained at Vaal, when they are taken there for their exercise from time to time or in the middle of tough racing programmes.