Passing Of Roy Eckstein

Passing Of Roy Eckstein

Roy Eckstein leading in his son of Kahal, Tales Of Bravery. Image: Gold Circle

Roy Eckstein (71), first chairman of Gold Circle and long-time former steward of the Pietermaritzburg Turf Club, died in a scooter accident at his Camps Bay home in Cape Town on Wednesday afternoon.

A colour holder of long standing, owner and breeder, Roy was passionate about his racing.

He owned a number of top class racehorses in his time including crack sprinter Shoe Express and more recently Investec Cape Derby winner Top Seller and Tales Of Bravery both trained by long-time friend and trainer Vaughan Marshall. Marshall started training for Eckstein back in 1981 and their last winner together was with Twitter in the Godolphin Barb Stakes at Clairwood last week.

“He was a wonderful man and a good friend,” said Marshall. “Racing can ill afford to lose men of his calibre.”

Eckstein hailed from a prominent Pietermaritzburg family and made his fortune in the shoe business with Jaguar Shoes and Reebok.

Eckstein was elected the first chairman of Gold Circle when the three KwaZulu-Natal race clubs, namely the Durban Turf Club, the Clairwood Turf Club and the Pietermaritzburg Turf Club, merged into Gold Circle in December 1998.

Prior to that Eckstein had been a long-serving steward of the Pietermaritzburg Turf Club where he was head of the Marketing and Promotions portfolio of the club that was renowned for their innovative ideas including the Interprovincial Jockey’s Challenge and the racing “Skins”.

Former Pietermaritzburg Turf Club general manager Gavin Brown expressed shock at Eckstein’s death. “Roy was the epitome of a good steward. His contribution to the board and to the club and indeed racing in general was significant.”

“We as management always found him a pleasure to work with,” Brown said.

Close colleague at Gold Circle and the Pietermaritzburg Turf Club, Bill Lambert, said, “I nominated Roy as the most acceptable chairman of Gold Circle when the three clubs merged. And a very good chairman he was too! He was able to steer the merged trio through some very troubled waters.”

“He was a real credit to racing,” Lambert concluded.

Current Gold Circle chairman Robert Mauvis said he was shocked and horrified by the news. “We were together just three days ago and he was saying how excited he was about the coming Champions Season.”

“He is a huge loss for the racing industry and all our sympathy goes out to his family and friends.”

KZN Breeders, as well the the board, management and staff of Gold Circle extend sincere condolences to the Eckstein family.

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