More Grade 1’s for Brett Crawford and his Team
Mark van Deventer
Crawford Racing’s three Grade 1 winners, Lady of the House, Edict of Nantes and Captain America feature prominently on the highlights reel as the stable is enjoying highly productive months toting up the winners in both Cape Town and Durban.
Lady of the House received an inspired ride by Piere Strydom to win the Woolavington at Greyville on the first Saturday in June. The bay filly, bred by Dynasty out of Overarching, made a telling move at the top of the straight and kept on to stave off favourite, Gimme Six. Lady of the House started at 25/1, but was not such a forlorn hope based on an excellent effort just behind the placed horses in the Cape Fillies Guineas when suffering interference.
She relished the extra distance and was expertly primed by Brett and Peter Muscutt who are handling the Durban string. Beforehand, Crawford acknowledged, “It will be a tough task from draw 15, but Lady of the House is fit and in good form.” She duly seized the opportunity for Mayfair Speculators (Nominee: Derek Brugman) and has now won three of nine starts with career earnings of R762 500.
Cape Derby winner, Edict of Nantes followed up to win the Daily News, making a wide move around the bend, quickening rapidly, then holding market rival, Al Sahem safe. Brett was confident going in to the big race, saying, “He’s come on immensely since his prep on the poly and rates a very big runner.” Edict of Nantes remains on track for a crack at the July. This three year- old son of Count Dubois ex Pagan Dance won a false run Derby easily enough, but his truly high class ability was better represented in the Selangor when a tremendous second to star quality contemporary, Gold Standard.
Going in to the Gold Challenge with Captain America, Crawford had this to say, “He is in great form and is putting in very good gallops. I expect him to run another top race at Group 1 level.” The assessment proved spot on as Captain America used long strides to get over from draw 11 and stalk pace maker, Janoobi before darting for glory at the top of the straight. He kept on strongly to hold off late charging, Trip to Heaven and Bela Bela. Six year- old stable stalwart, Captain America has now won nine of 28 starts, including major races in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, with earnings closing in on R5 million.
Sail South also put in a sterling effort in the Gold Challenge, closing in deep stretch to secure fourth spot. Brett’s pre- race report stated, “Sail South has livened up during the week, he loves Greyville and I’m confident he will run a very good race.” He is just off the very best milers around, yet uses a good turn of foot to propel himself into contention. He placed in the Queens Plate during the Summer and continues to provide owner/breeders Gill Dempsey and Nigel Pott with lots of pleasure.
The KZN campaign begun most encouragingly under Peter Muscutt’s sussed supervision with fast- progressing Purple Tractor winning a strong MR 94 sprint at Scottsville and then just going down to Attenborough in a potent In Full Flight handicap. Louisiana has also done great, scoring fluently in the Scarlet Lady over 1800m at Greyville, then winning again in a Pinnacle Stakes on the same day that super-hero Captain America won his Grade 1.
Purple Tractor had been putting up some bullet work-outs at Summerveld and was expected to run well. Racing prominently throughout, he kept on gamely to beat off Secret Captain and Bishops Bounty in an exciting finish. He used the same tactics in the follow up event on the last day of April, only getting caught late and finishing just ahead of improving-again stable mate, Search Party.
Louisiana needed the run when finishing in the ruck at her seasonal opener behind Summer Sky. The daughter of Ideal World made the anticipated progress three weeks later when stripping sharper for the listed race at Greyville. Stable jock Corne Orffer was confident of a big run from the chestnut filly and brought her down the centre of the track to win in some style. Her follow up Pinnacle Stakes win in June represented a career best. Seemingly out at the weights based on official merit ratings, she improved sufficiently to blow the opposition away.
April kicked off with Nasty Harry getting out the Maidens in a comfortable win over the straight six at Kenilworth. That form-line is holding up nicely, suggesting that the son of Dynasty out of a Harry Hotspur mare has more wins in him. Indeed, he went on to put up a solid effort on handicap debut behind Quickfire, then bravely fought back and outduelled Mount Keith in a MR 72 event in June.
Brett has managed early victories with juveniles, Supreme Orator and Phelan Lucky. The former, a son of Oratorio, made an encouraging debut and came on from that effort to win at his second try, showing composure despite heavy thunderstorms above Kenilworth.
Phelan Lucky is another to be making good progress. He did not show much in two opening sprints but woke up when put around the turn. This son of Irish bred sire, Excelebration placed third when attempting 1400m in early April, and then clinched his first career win going start to finish over the same trip a few weeks later.
Phelan Lucky’s Irish owner, Paschal Phelan savoured another winner just a week later when his smart filly Delia’s Delight shed her Maiden in style at Kenilworth. The daughter of Dynasty impressed Corne Orffer by finding another gear when challenged.
Kingston Passage was narrowly downed by Head Honcho on debut. Since then he has won three in a row under jockey Greg Cheyne – a Maiden, a MR 69 event and then a MR 88 handicap. This handsome Western Winter speedball has coped with successively more difficult assignments, so is clearly on the improve and worth following.
Crawford Racing final winner for April was Designer Pot. The bay son of Judpot received an inspired ride from the front under Sihle Cele to open his account at his sixth outing and is a gutsy campaigner. Credit is due to assistant trainer, Barry Donnelly and “Spider” for holding the local fort and keeping the Cape Town operation going smoothly whilst Brett was attending yearling sales upcountry and tuning the Durban string.
Dollar Tractor is a promising juvenile and he got off the mark early in May. A number of other winners followed, all receiving assertive, front-running rides as the Kenilworth track was playing favourably to early speed due to unseasonably dry conditions. Savuti shed his Maiden over a mile, Black Cat Back dominated from the front over an ideal trip of 1400m, then Klopp opened his account by also going gun to tape.
Seattle Gold’s listed victory in the Stormsvlei Mile was especially satisfying, so a big, thumbs- up to owner/breeder Ashley Parker at Ascot Stud. Brett had won this event years ago with Frequent Flyer, who twice ran second in Grade 1’s, and was thrilled to see the brave daughter of Sail from Seattle beat off a posse of challengers down the Kenilworth stretch.
On the topic of Grade 1’s – Scottsville hosted a festival of speed near the end of May. Crawford Racing achieved notable placings with Al Mariarchi who showed good pace in the Gold Medallion tussling all the way with Varallo, though neither could resist the centre run of Sand and Sea. Then, Search Party and Gulf Storm ran gamely in the Tsogo Sun to finish second and fourth respectively.
Sean Tarry trained, Bull Valley came out on top in this race and the Gauteng based conditioner remains well clear at the top of the National trainer’s Log with a record stakes haul. Meanwhile, Crawford is enjoying his best- ever year in terms of rankings – hovering between third and fourth which is a tremendous achievement operating mainly out of Cape Town where base Stakes are lower. And those coveted recent Group 1’s with Lady of the House, Edict of Nantes and Captain America are especially gratifying!
View the races below
Captain America Rising sun Gr1