South Africa loses industry icon

Leading international breeder Graham Beck has died in London leaving behind four vineries and stud farms in South Africa and North America.  He was 80.

Beck owned Highlands Farm in South Africa and Gainesway in Kentucky.  He purchased Gainesway from John Gaines in 1989 and it’s now under the management of Beck’s son Antony.  Resident stallions include Birdstone, Mr Greeley and Tapit.

Beck raced numerous stakes winners, the most recent being G1 Durban July winner Dancer’s Daughter.  “Racing has lost a doyen,” Highlands Farm manager Mike Sharkey said yesterday.  “He was pivotal in establishing the South African industry from a breeding point of view by importing so many top mares.”

Beck imported Enchanted Dollar, the American-born dam of champion South African sire National Currency.

“Graham was a great character – he called a spade a spade – and he understood the industry like few I have known,” Tom Goff of Blandford Bloodstock said.  “He was a pioneer of the industry in South Africa for 40 years.”

Beck also established Graham Beck Wines in 1983.  He is survived by Rhona, his wife of 50 years and his United States based son Antony, his daughter-in-law and five grandchildren.