CBC Insights – Golden Touch Thoroughbred Services

Gary and Jackie Joliffe, of Golden Touch Thoroughbred Services, are a couple with a long background in the equestrian industry. Between them, there is little that Gary and Jackie have not been involved with in the thoroughbred industry, from training, and backing and spelling, to breeding Grade One winners.

Gary and Jackie made headlines last season when their homebred colt Guiness won the G1 Tsogo Sun Medallion and becoming the first Grade One winner for promising young sire Seventh Rock in the process.

The Joliffe bred Guiness winning the Tsogo Sun Medallion

The Joliffe bred Guiness winning the Tsogo Sun Medallion

The Joliffes also own a small but select band of broodmares, who include Rose Garden (a half sister to former Equus Champion Two-Year-Old Colt Soft Falling Rain), Tinder Box (dam of Guiness), and G2 Sceptre Stakes winner Reflective Image.

CBC recently spoke to the Joliffes about their past and plans for the future:
Gary: I took out a trainers licence in 1986 and trained at Borrowdale Park for just on 16 years. I got involved with the breeding side of the business when I met Jackie. We lived on and Jax worked for Tony Taberer’s Borrowdale Stud. We stood as many as 7 Stallions there at any one time.
Jackie: I spent much of my childhood riding and competing and realised I wanted to spend my life with horses. I started working at Borrowdale Stud (owned by Tony Taberer) when I was 21 years old. I worked for approximately 10 years there. There were wonderful facilities, and some of the stallions standing there, were Sun Tonic, Baron’s Delight, Marisco (half brother to Habitat) to mention a few.

How did you get involved?
Gary: I moved to Rhodesia in 1976 as a young engineer to build forward air fields for the Rhodesian Air Force. I got introduced to horses via club life in the small town of Triangle, and their Gymkhana events. This led to a very enjoyable and successful time playing polo Crosse. After a tour to Australia in 1983 followed by a stint in the USA riding the country (beginners) rodeo circuit in the Southern States. On returning I got involved with amateur horse racing whilst managing a tobacco farm. This led to me taking out my Trainers licence as mentioned above.
Jackie: My grandparents were involved in racing and breeding in Kenya, and although my parents were not involved in the racing industry, my Aunt was, and Managed Borrowdale Stud. I joined her there and while working there met Gary (who had recently taken out his Trainers licence) and so my involvement in the racing side grew.

How long were you based in Zimbabwe?
Gary: 1976 to 2004
Jackie: 1970 -2004

How did you and Jackie meet, and when/how was Golden Touch formed?
Gary: Jax and I met at the TBA N1 sales at the Germiston sales complex 1988. We planned a date when we got back to Zim and the rest is history, very happy history. My race yard in Zim was Golden Lodge Racing. Here in RSA the name Golden Lodge was not available so we registered our cc as Golden Touch Thoroughbred Services. The Golden Touch is the name I have given to a teaching manual I have written about starting and backing young horses. (Many years ago, and still to go to print).

Who is the best horse you have been involved with?
Gary: Ipi Tombe, we spelled her after being bought as a yearling and started her for her racing career.
Jackie: Ditto

What are your primary ambitions as a breeder?
To make success of this passion and lifestyle, and breed at the top end of the scale. I.e. G1 winners.

Which young stallions does Golden Touch rate particularly highly and support?
Currently Var, Seventh Rock, Oratorio, Trippi and Duke Of Marmalade

How long were you a trainer in Zimbabwe for?
Gary: 16 years

Why did you move to South Africa?
Gary: Farm invasions began in 2000 and farmers who were evicted from their farms were the core of our business of breeding. When they had tough times their hobbies and pleasures were sacrificed, and this affected our business so badly that from 2000 to 2004 our numbers were reduced by up to 90%. We could not make a living with these reduced numbers and were starting to see trouble coming our way. With 2 young daughters to raise and school we headed south. Ditto

What has been your highlight in your breeding/training career thus far?
Gary: Being involved in a small way with the great Ipi Tombe, and 3 time horse of the year in Zim Gold Flame and breeding the G1 winner Guiness.
Jackie: Our filly we bred and raced, Reflective Image, has been such a thrill – she gave us a wonderful ride, through her growing up and then racing for us and being so successful. Its been a dream of mine to breed and race a group winner, and she did that for us. She is so special.

What big race would you like most to breed a winner of?
Here in RSA the July stands out as the premier race to have on your CV.

Are you involved in pinhooking and are you planning on supporting the RTR Sales this year?
We have been for ourselves and our clients with above average success, but not this year. We are concentrating on the crop we have to sell next year.

Golden Touch has eight mares at the moment, could you touch on them and their foals at the moment?

Champion Soft Falling Rain, a half brother to the  Joliffes' well bred mare Rose Garden

Champion Soft Falling Rain, a half brother to the Joliffes’ well bred mare Rose Garden


Our personal success over the last 7 years resident in the Western Cape have included building the success of our small broodmare band of 8 mares both commercially and on the racetrack. Our 1st season here we bred the G2 & Listed winning Reflective Image. (Tamburlane ex Velvet’s image) We continued to breed from the 1 mare for the next two seasons, producing multiple winners, before beginning to build our current band of mares. They are listed below with their successes bred in our care.
1. Velvet’s Image (b.m. Goldkeeper (USA) – Velvet Mitt
4 wins, 2nd Magnolia S. (Gr.3). Dam of 4 runners, 3 winners inc
Reflective Image (5 wins, R601,000, Scepre S. Gr.2, Olympic Duel S. L.)
Has 2014 Oratorio (IRE) Filly
In foal to Seventh Rock (AUS)

2. Reflective Image (b.m. Tamburlaine –Velvet’s Image)
6 wins, R601,000, won Sceptre S. Gr.2, Olympic Duel S, L., retired 2014.
In foal to Duke Of Marmalade (IRE)

3. Tinder Box (b.m. Strike Smartly – Dry Wood)
Dam of 2 runners, 2 winners : November Rain (8 wins and R412,000)
Guiness (Seventh Rock) sold for R425,000 won 2014 Gold Medallion (Gr.1).
Has 2014 Oratorio (IRE) colt
In foal to Seventh Rock (Aus)

4. Red Growler (ch.m. Fort Wood ex Imperious Sue)
Winner and product of two Gr.1 Winners. Dam of 2 winners inc Sunset Trip (by Trippi, sold for R425,000, 2 wins, Listed placed, and 3rd in CTS RTR stakes)
And Red Heart, – (Trippi, sold for R450,000)
Has 2014 Oratorio (IRE) colt
In foal to Oratorio (IRE)

5. Velvet’s Reflection (b.m. Tamburliane – Velvets Image)
Full sister to Reflective Image)
Has 2014 Horse Chestnut filly
In foal to Galileo’s Night (Aus)

6. Rose Garden, (b.m. Spectrum (GB) – Gardeners Delight by Giants Causeway)
Half sister to Gr.1 Winning Champion SOFT FALLING RAIN. Has 2014 Oratorio (IRE) colt, first foal
In foal to Duke Of Marmalade (IRE)

7. Paris At Night(FR) (By In The Wings – Rigoureuse)
Winner in France and dam of 2 runners, 2 winners.
Has 2014 Pathfork (Ire) weanling
In foal to Seventh Rock (Aus)

Our matings are based firstly on commercial viability, where good mares are sent to proven sires, or well bred and performing 1st season sires. We study conformation of the mare and sire to make matings complementary. We also make use of the Gold Mine G1 programme and have had good success with this combination.

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