BRETT Crawford’s win in the Gr2 Post Merchants with Search Party on Friday night at Greyville took his SA Champions Season tally to seven wins and he has earned more than any other trainer during this year’s festival of racing.
Crawford’s total earnings in KZN from the Champions Season’s opening night on May 7 until the end of Friday Night’s Post Merchant’s meeting were R3,171,575.
In second place was runaway national trainers championships leader Sean Tarry with seven wins for R2,477,575 and next was Justin Snaith with three wins for R1,367,500.
KZN trainers Dennis Drier and Duncan Howells were the other million rand earners with eight wins for R1,219,200 and seven wins for R1,078,450 respectively.
Dean Kanemeyer has had the most winners in this period, nine, but is only in ninth place in earnings.
Crawford leads the number of black type races won with four, consisting of three Gr 1s and a Gr 2.
Snaith has won a Gr 2 and two Gr 3s, Tarry has won two Gr 1s, Joey Ramsden has won a Gr 2 and a Listed race, Drier has won a Gr 1, Paul Matchett has won a Gr 1, Howells has won a Gr 2, Candice Bass-Robinson has won a Gr 2 and Kannemeyer and Gavin van Zyl have each won a Listed event. The Crawford yard’s 27 Champions Season runs this season have also netted nine places, including three Gr 1 places.
Former Springbok rugby fly-half Lance Sherrell and his mother Delma have worn broad grins for a few weeks as they have watched the Crawford-trained pair Search Party and Gulf Storm run second and fourth respectively in their colours in the Gr 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint and they also own a share in the Crawford’s Gr 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge winner Captain America.
The Post Merchants was the cherry on top, although there might well be more to come.
It is fitting the Sherrell’s black and white colours are doing well in KZN as all of Lance, his late father Reg and his grandfather Reg Evelyn played rugby for Natal.
Crawford-trained horses commandeer the top three positions in the Champions Season’s highest earnings with Gr 1 Daily News 2000 winner Edict Of Nantes on top with R1,27 million, Captain America second on R637,500 and Gr 1 Woolavington winner Lady Of The House third on R635,000.
Search Party is in ninth spot on R447,500.
Another statistic where Crawford is top is the betting profit per runner.
For a R1 stake put on all 27 of his runners they would have returned a profit of R41.
Corné Orffer has ridden three of Crawford’s seven winners and deserves plenty of credit for Search Party’s win on Friday night.
There was no false rail for the race and this was always going to favour the low draws and the handy to frontrunning types.
Orffer was aware of this and his first winning move was to use Search Party’s early pace from a fair draw of six to claim the rail in front.
Orffer extracted a kick out of the four-year-old Captain Al gelding at the top of the straight and this was the second winning move, as it saw him stealing two lengths on the field.
The improved four-year-old Captain Al gelding kept going well to hold on by 0,25 lengths for a thoroughly deserved second career Gr 2 victory.
The runner up was last year’s Equus Champion Sprinter Talktothestars, who had sat handy on the rail from a draw of two and produced a flying finish with topweight.
He gave the winner 2kg so it was another fine performance by South Africa’s most travelled superstar.
The third-placed Amazing Strike was drawn in pole and sat behind Search Party in the running.
Fourth-placed Captain’s Causeway was also drawn well in five.
The favourite Professor Brian’s chances looked forlorn after Search Party’s telling kick for home.
He could only manage sixth, but did run on well and it is too early to tell whether the handicapper has his measure. His five successive wins before this race saw him rising from a 58 to a 91 merit rating.
Crawford is the leading Cape trainer on the national log and before yesterday’s racing he was only R110,162.50 behind third-placed Mike de Kock.