A Great venue, awesome food and good wine, add the Kwazulu Natal weather and you would have to travel far and wide to create a picture perfect afternoon spent in the company of hosts Ian Todd and Keith Russon, Backworth Stud owners, at their very special home and stud farm near Eston just outside of Durban.

This perfect sunny day in our beautiful country provided the backdrop to what must be the foremost hidden gem of stud farms in South Africa. The largely private stud farm establishment owned by Todd and Russon is of a boutique nature with a select band of mares with no resident stallion, a system that Ian Todd said works for the farm. Calling it a farm is likely the least flattering way to describe the beauty that the Backworth crew have created. It almost seems like a little masterpiece with elements that suit the lifestyle and personality of the owners. From the careful manicured gardens to the very clean and elegant stables, the little touches of elegance are everywhere with much attention to detail paid to every corner of the stud. From the paddock signage to the pot plants carefully placed on the road leading to the main house, this type of set up makes this place most likely the best boutique stud establishment in the country and one of the best days out if you are lucky enough to get an invite.

The mares and yearlings including foals at foot are well kept and in keeping with the owners philosophy that is evident in the entire property. The meticulous care can be clearly seen in every animal, including the pampered dogs that roam the property; and what a pleasure they are to have around to finish off the homely nature of this establishment amidst the air of tranquility that exists in these parts.

From a horse lovers perspective, you would want to be a horse, such is the treatment of their four legged family – and family they are. Residing in paddocks as good a roaming area as the lawns are to the dogs, the horses are happy and live a five star life. Surely they must wish not to leave anytime soon…. speaking of which, the stud has representatives at most of the big sales in South Africa including 8 yearlings going up to Johannesburg for the country’s foremost sale, the Emperor’s Palace National Yearling Sale. That’s some achievement for a boutique stud. The mares are put to the best stallions that the Backworth crew can get their hands on. These include services to the likes of Trippi, Silvano, Western Winter, Miesque’s Approval, Muhtafal and Kahal – all of whom are represented at the National Sales via Backworth yearlings.

Likely the most impressive part of the Backworth establishment must be the home of the owners. Possibly some of the best collections of art and antiques in a home is resident at this place of beauty. The carefully selected pieces completely compliment the stud farm outside for character and appeal.

There is a real passion about the way things are done at Backworth, the splendid lunch was followed by constant attention from the hosts and one always felt as if it was an open home. The passion in which they speak of the horses and the industry tells us that we are lucky to have people like this in South African racing. It tells us that there are people out there who care deeply for horses, the beautiful creatures we love to see in full stride. The good ones always start with love, care, attention and patience. It’s the Backworth way.



Fact File:
- KZN Breeders’ Award for Breeding Achievement
- Bred Gr1 Winner CHOCOLICIOUS, raced in South Africa and Dubai Racing Festival.
- Bred Gr2 Winner FIRST AGAIN – 23 starts for 8 wins and 13 places.
- Multiple Stakes Winners – VARIOMETER and RAISE THE BAR.
- Stakes Placed – BLINGLE BELLS and AQUAVIT.


- Backworth Stud extends over 100 Acres (48 ha).
- 85 Acres under Kikuyu pasture with post and rail fencing.
- Shade provided by magnificent Plane, Liquid Amber, and Oak Trees.
- 25 Stables, of which 15 are large foaling boxes.
- Strict horse management regimes followed, with twice daily controlled feeding and temperaturing, allowing management opportune detection of any imminent problems
- Knee high dip used daily for tick prevention against Babesiosis and Piroplasmosis.
- Horse to Staff ratio of 5:1
- Conservancy protection area offers a rich pageant and backdrop to this natural way of life, with Duiker, Bushbuck, Reedbuck and Oribi roaming freely in area
- Geographic location allows regular sighting of Eagles, Falcons and other Raptors, not to mention the Ground Hornbills who enjoy the breeding ground