Craw­ford siz­zling

The Star Early Edition - - RACING - DAVID THISELTON

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.

Pro­fes­sor Brian

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.

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