Cape Racing Awards & Breeder Awards 2017

Cape Racing and Breeding Awards 2017

Mark van Deventer

Crawford Racing enjoyed an unprecedented bounty of silverware at Wednesday night’s Cape Racing and Breeding Awards ceremony, held at Molenvliet Estate, out in the Stellenbosch winelands.

Highlights included Brett receiving a special Achievement Award for sending out a remarkable six Grade 1 wins during the season under review, and Captain America being named Cape Racing’s Horse of the Year. The stable super-star also garnered the Older Male and Champion Miler awards – ecstatic part owner Lance Sherrell could barely find place on the table for his red wine glass as the trophy haul stacked up! Lance, together with mother, Delma also owns Search Party who snuck in on the act with the Champion Sprinter tag.

Captain America has been a revelation with added maturity. He’s always been top class but was prone to over-racing when younger. He’s now learned to settle better and can efficiently utilise his immense stride to gallop rivals into submission. It was also a master stroke on Brett’s part to hone in on suitable big races at Greyville this time. In previous years, Captain America had successfully raided the Highveld targeting the Horse Chestnut Stakes.

SunMet victor Whisky Baron deservedly picked up the Champion Middle Distance prize for 1800m – 2200m horses. Brett left the day after the awards party to meet up with Whisky Baron in the UK. In an interview with Michael Clower, he said, “Whisky Baron works on the grass at Newmarket next week for the first time since he’s arrived in England. He is doing very well and everything is fine with him. He will have his first race at Newmarket either in the Shadwell Stakes on 29 September or in a seven furlong race the following month.”

Only horses bred in the Cape region qualified for the Breeding section of this prize-giving, though performances nationally were taken into account. High class middle distance ace, Edict of Nantes won the three- year old category in both the Cape Racing and Breeding sections by virtue of scoring dual Grade 1 wins. This son of Count Dubois ran with distinction during the Cape Summer Season winning the Derby, then acquitted himself tremendously during Winter in Kwa Zulu Natal scoring in the Daily News then suffering a stiff defeat in the Durban July. He is safely back in the Cape having a rest before being prepared for upcoming big races.

Other stable nominees in their respective Cape Breeding divisions were Lady of the House and Captain America, but they dipped out with Fillies Guineas winner, Just Sensual and undisputed champion Legal Eagle getting the accolades.

Sail South deserves an honourable mention, even though he did not pick up an award on the night. He put forth a career best run to win the Champions Cup and complete Crawford Racing’s Grade 1 scoop six for the season. Brett confided, “To win one Grade 1 each year is a realistic goal, so to get six is amazing.” It’s fascinating trying to anticipate what lies ahead going towards 2018 – scoring in an international Grade 1 with Whisky Baron would be an awesome realisation of a long- term dream.

In his acceptance speech, Brett modestly deflected attention away from himself instead paying tribute both to supportive owners for providing such quality stock, and a dedicated team that made it happen. Corne Orffer, Sihle Cele, Barry Donnelly and ‘Spider’ all proudly strode onto the podium during festivities, receiving well merited public recognition for their professionalism and commitment which contributed towards such an exceptional year for Crawford Racing.
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