Howells wins

The Star Early Edition - - RACING - DAVID THISELTON

DUN­CAN Howells will be crowned the KZN Cham­pion trainer for the sec­ond time in his ca­reer later in the year at the KZN Rac­ing Awards. Over­all KZN yards had a few high­lights in the 2016-2017 sea­son, but will be hop­ing for a bet­ter Graded class cam­paign this term.

Howells got the bet­ter of Den­nis Drier in what has be­come an an­nual duel for the KZN ti­tle, al­though Cape-based Dean Kan­nemeyer, who has a satel­lite yard at Sum­merveld, threat­ened once more to join the fray.

The KZN Trainer’s Championship is de­cided by num­ber of winners in KZN-based races. Howells fin­ished with 75 to Drier’s 69 and Kan­nemeyer’s 58.

How­ever, the high­est stakes earner in KZN races was na­tional cham­pion trainer Sean Tarry. In KZN he had 42 winners and stakes earn­ings of R9,277,425.

Tarry won three Grade 1 events in KZN. Carry On Alice won the SA Fil­lies Sprint and Bull Val­ley won both the Tsogo Sun Sprint and Mer­cury Sprint.

Drier had two Grade 1 vic­to­ries dur­ing the sea­son, both in KZN. Sand And Sea won the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medal­lion and Lady In Black won the Grade 1 Thek­wini Stakes. Re­mark­ably, it was Drier’s sixth Gold Medal­lion vic­tory in eight years and sev­enth over­all.

Howells was sec­ond in stakes earn­ings in KZN races with R7,853,262 and Drier was third with R6,934,412.

On the na­tional log Howells fin­ished in eleventh place with stakes earn­ings of R8,144,138 (75 winners) and Drier was in twelfth with R7,784,163 (80 winners).


The duel at one stage in KZN was be­tween Drier and Mike de Kock, but Howells emerged in the 2013/2014 sea­son to beat De Kock to the ti­tle.

Drier won for the next two sea­sons from Howells as De Kock be­gan di­min­ish­ing his KZN op­er­a­tion.

How­ever, this sea­son it was the fa­mously hard work­ing Howells’ turn.

Drier had his win­ning-most month in Au­gust last year with 11 vic­to­ries, a month in which Howells had only three winners.

By the end of Septem­ber Drier was on 18 and Howells on ten and by Oc­to­ber’s end Drier was on 23 and Howells 15.

Kan­nemeyer’s eight winners in Novem­ber saw him mov­ing into sec­ond place on 17 winners be­hind Drier on 25, while Howells was in third on 16.

Drier’s quiet spell was not sur­pris­ing as he takes his best horses down to Cape Town to cam­paign in the Cape Sum­mer Of Cham­pi­ons Sea­son.

Howells, in typ­i­cal fash­ion, emerged from his Novem­ber drought fir­ing on all cylin­ders and had his sec­ond best month of the sea­son in De­cem­ber with eleven winners. His yard proved once more their dy­namism dur­ing this month.

The three-cornered con­test had now hot­ted up.

The log in the next six month-ends’ re­spec­tively read: De­cem­ber: Drier 28, Howells 27, Kan­nemeyer 26; Jan­uary: Drier 33, Howells 33, Kan­nemeyer 32; Fe­bru­ary: Howells 39, Drier 36, Kan­nemeyer 36; March: Howells 43, Drier 43, Kan­nemeyer 41; April: Howells 50, Drier 49 Kan­nemeyer 45; May: Howells 55, Drier 54, Kan­nemeyer 47.

There was all to play for en­ter­ing the last month of the sea­son as the stand­ings at the end of June were Howells 62, Drier 60 and Kan­nemeyer 56.

How­ever, the Howells yard had their best month of the sea­son when it counted. Their 13 winners in July saw them fin­ish­ing the sea­son six clear of Drier’s yard, who were in turn eleven clear of Kan­nemeyer.

Howells’ high­lights were win­ning the Grade 2 Bet­ting World 1900 with Ten Gun Salute, the Grade 3 Stre­litzia Stakes with Nep­tune’s Rain, the R1 mil­lion BSA Mile with Le­gend and he also won three other Non-Black Type events.

Drier had his most dis­ap­point­ing Cape sea­son this decade.


How­ever, be­sides his two Grade 1 wins in KZN, he also won the BSA Mil­lion Sprint with Hack Green and the Cor­nu­bia/Phoenix Sun Dur­ban Dash with the three-year-old filly Som­mer­lied, who in the first KZN meet­ing of the sea­son last Thurs­day low­ered the Scottsville 1000m course record to 55,61 sec­onds.

There were a few high­lights for other KZN yards dur­ing the sea­son.

Gareth van Zyl made a dream start to his ca­reer as a li­censed trainer at Greyville on Fri­day night, 28 Oc­to­ber, when send­ing out a win­ner with his first run­ner and later in the evening he capped it by win­ning the Listed Jon­s­son Work­wear Michael­mas Hand­i­cap over 1900m with Celtic Cap­tain.

Gareth also won a Non-Black Type race with Celtic Cap­tain and won the Listed Gate­crasher Stakes with Tro­jan Har­bour. He fin­ished the sea­son with 25 winners.

His fa­ther Gavin, who has a yard at Sum­merveld and a satel­lite yard run by his son Ch­es­ney at Turf­fontein, fin­ished in 15th place on the Na­tional Train­ers log and had 73 winners in all.

Among these was a Non-Black Type fea­ture vic­tory.

Charles Laird was as prom­i­nent as usual in KZN with 41 winners.

Paul Laf­ferty dou­bled his num­ber of winners this sea­son from 17 last term to 34.

Alyson Wright, Den­nis Bosch and Mark Dixon all had good sea­sons with 31, 30 and 29 winners re­spec­tively.

Dixon’s crack sprinter Lon­don Call started the sea­son with four wins on the trot in­clud­ing in the Non-Black Type Marula Sprint and ended it with a fourth place fin­ish in the Grade 1 Mer­cury Sprint.

Lezanne Forbes, Yo­gas Goven­der, Den­nis Bosch, Tony Ri­val­land and Michael Roberts all had one Non-Black Type vic­tory apiece too.

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