Being well-known for stud horses as much as wine, Excelsior was a top breeder of racehorses in the previous century. Some of its greater winners are Gondelier, winner of the July in 1985, and San Louis, winner of the Guiness in 1981.
San Louis had an amazing spirit. He fell ill in 1979 and grew very weak. Peter’s uncle felt he had no choice but to put him down. A grave was already dug and he was about to pull the trigger, but, in his words, the horse looked him in the eye and he just couldn’t bring himself to put an end to the horse’s life. Instead, he put San Louis in a convalescent camp for seven months and, miraculously, he completely recovered with no medication whatsoever.
He couldn’t be sold, however, and a blessing in disguise it turned out to be, because the famous Laiingsburg flood of 1981 just about wiped out the harvest for that year. But San Louis started racing. He raced so well that he won the 1600m Guiness in that same year and won back all the income lost through the flood.
Excelsior honours this incredible horse with the San Louis Shiraz.