Sad Passing Of Breeder Neil Sykes

Sad Passing Of Breeder Neil Sykes

Neil Sykes, giving a speech at last years Yellow Star Stud Stallion Day, where he presented Daring Bid(USA). Image: Candiese Marnewick

The KZN Breeders wish to pass on our deepest sympathies to the Sykes family on their very sad loss of Neil who passed away earlier this week.

Neil Sykes started breeding horses in 1994 when he purchased a farm in Mooi River, known as Orangewood Stud. Neil had decided to curtail his successful security and labour broking business to pursue his life-long passion to breed racehorses, which he had done for the past 19 years. He was an accomplished provincial cricketer in his youth and loved the game of golf, which he played with enthusiasm all his life.

Syko, as he was known by most people, was certainly a man’s man and believed in doing things one way: his way; Sinatra’s famous song certainly epitomised his character and a bigger optimist you cannot find. His hairdresser always recounts in disbelief how Syko, sans appointment and without skaam, would just pitch up in his shorts, T-shirt and slippers and expect a haircut. Whatever his faults, he was the type of person that even if you were stuck in a remote place at 2 in the morning, you could rely on him to come and help. Even during the last months of his his life, he was always looking for another mare to mate with his new stallion Daring Bid(USA) and believed he would conquer his malaise.

Neil was married to Carol who helped him run Orangewood Stud. He leaves behind two daughters, Jenny from his first marriage, and Robyn, his younger daughter from Carol, whom he absolutely adored. He had three grandchildren and was a combination of characters that only the Thoroughbred horse and Racing industry can assemble.

Adios Batchie (an anonym he loved to call his friends and coined by a mutual friend who called everybody by such because he could never remember anyone’s name).

– Obituary kindly written by Tony Rivalland.

Neil’s funeral will take place in Hillcrest on Monday at the Hillcrest Christian Academy Church, in Inanda Road, at 3pm.

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