Laurie and Jean Jaffee
The horseracing business is not only about the races: it’s also about an appreciation of good company, solid values and the exhilaration of the contest. You need people of a like mind to excite you about these things, and often enough, as you grow up in the game, you need people to serve as your role models, pointing you in the right directions.
At Summerhill and Hartford, we were fortunate at a fairly early stage in our development to become associated with Laurie and Jean Jaffee, two of South Africa’s most successful owners. But these two were not only successful at the races, they were successful in most things they did in our sport, and especially in the legacies they left behind on how to win, and most importantly, how to lose. Laurie and Jean were the epitome of style, grace, warmth and hospitality, and they embraced this game as though nothing else in the world mattered.
They’ve since passed on, and we thought we’d come to the end of an era. Gratifyingly, in their daughter Georgina and their son Lloyd, they have two members of the family who appear to have picked up the baton. We were fortunate recently in the visit of Georgina and her husband, Glen and their two boys Anthony and Michael. From all accounts, Georgina enjoyed her visit as much as we did, and as much as her parents might’ve in their heyday.
The one thing that characterised everything Laurie and Jean Jaffee stood for, was the selection of their friends and the professionals that served their interests. If they picked you, it was for a good cause, and once they had done that, they pitched their faith and their loyalty in you wholeheartedly. Nothing would breach their commitment, unless you abused it, and in the process, they developed a reputation for fair dealing and even handedness which was without parallel in the racing game. You can’t buy these things, they come your way hard earned and richly deserved, but with the added irony which epitomises life in general. They’re instantly lost if you slip but once. The Jaffees never did.