Zuma's pal has a penchant for naming horses after himself
Roy Moodley likes the limelight. He's the leading racehorse owner in KwaZulu-Natal and everyone knows it - because he names all his horses after himself.
There's Roy's Bugle and Roy's Trombone trumpeting the businessman's presence, and Roy's Rolls Royce announcing his wealth.
He clearly has a musical bent, what with Roy's Banjo, Roy's Piano, Roy's Flute and Roy's Bongos. And he likes angling: Roy's Marlin, Roy's Rockfish and Roy's Barbel. Gardening, perhaps? Roy's Iris, Roy's Hollyhock.
Moodley shows a sense of humour, too, with Roy's Donkey, Roy's Pony and Roy's Slow Motion. Not to mention Roy Is Second, which defied the slight and came first. Also registered with the National Horseracing Authority are Roy Is Last and Roy Is First.
In all, the NHA's name list has 101 horses beginning with Roy's.
The chap has plenty of other horses, too, some named after his company Royal Security: Royalsecuritypower, Royalsecuritystar etc.
My friend Alec Hogg did a calculation this week, postulating that if Moodley has 100 horses in training, each costing R100000 a year in upkeep, the annual bill for his hobby - adding in purchases, imports and stud-farm costs - is at least R30-million. His accumulated prize money last season might have been about R8-million.
It's the sport of kings, no business proposition.
The point is, Roy's a king. Roy's loaded. One horse is wittily called Roy's Amazing Ash.
If Moodley likes flaunting it centre stage, he's certainly in the spotlight now following bombshell allegations in the new book The President's Keepers by Jacques Pauw. It's not the sort of attention the Durban gent wants, though, as Pauw claims to have unearthed scary stuff about Moodley's relationship with President Jacob Zuma.
Pauw's sources told him Zuma was getting a R1-million a month salary from Royal Security - even after he became president. Now, it's probably all exaggerated tittle-tattle, possibly even fibs. If it were true, Big Jake would have been breaking the law.
Hey, it's likely an admin error, with someone forgetting to stop paying JZ after he'd ascended to the throne. But then, you can't help wondering what song No 1 was singing for that one-bar-a-month supper in the first place.
I'm sure all the folk involved will have a perfectly reasonable explanation. After all, Moodley hasn't made his friendship with the Prez a secret.
There's also probably nothing behind insinuations by other muck-raking hacks about massive mystery payments made from state-owned railway agency Prasa, through Siyangena Technologies, to Moodley-owned companies.
Any day now, there'll be an explanation. Remember, one horse is called Roy Had Enough.
These names! Roy's Baboon? No, we're not going there.
Much better is Royal Zulu Warrior. Inspired.
Actually, Royal Zulu Warrior has been one of Moodley's best horses, winning the Charity Mile at Turffontein a few years ago.
The Charity Mile will be contested again tomorrow. None of Roy's nags grace the meeting, but we'll make do.
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren's candidate New Predator (settle down at the back!) won this Grade 2, R1-million race last year and is among the favourites again. He's a talented, consistent horse, well drawn and ridden by the charging Gavin Lerena, so will be in contention. The negative is the hefty 61kg he carries.
At the other end of the weight scale is Social Order, with just 52kg to lug. And most of that weight will be young star rider Lyle Hewitson. The relatively unexposed gelding from Sean Tarry's stable had problems in his last two starts but still put up good showings.
I'm going for Social Order to beat New Predator. It just sounds right.
It's a crackerjack race meeting, signalling the Highveld summer season's in full swing. Twelve races, a bunch of big carry-over pools - notably a R3-million Pick Six - and dozens of very good thoroughbreds contesting a clutch of feature events.
Roy's missing out.