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  • Writer's pictureCrawford Racing

‘Big Five’ syndicate wins the Five-Bar CTS 1600

[Original Article on Turf Talk]

JOCKEY Corne Orffer rode trainer Brett Crawford’s 8-1 shot Count Jack from a handy position in Saturday’s R5-million CTS Mile at Kenilworth and let him loose at the right time. Orffer rode a similarly well-judged race on Kilindini in December’s Gr1 Cape Guineas, knowing that Crawford’s big-race runners invariably have a fitness advantage over their rivals. Aside from the merits of his win, Count Jack provided Highlands/Ridgemont with a feature winner for their resident stallion Jackson, and the farms Craig Kieswetter echoed Crawford’s words in the post-race interview, saying: “We are delighted that Jackson is finally starting to ‘fire’!” TDN reporter Kelsey Riley was similarly impressed by this victory and, taken by the colourful ‘Big Five’ partnership that owns Count Jack, wrote in her influential publication: “After the group secured Count Jack two years ago, they sent him to trainer Brett Crawford.” She quoted the syndicate’s nominee, Mick Flanagan, who commented from Ireland: “Brett’s done a fabulous job with the horse; he’s not the easiest horse in the world, he’s quite a handful, but he’s obviously done a great job.”

The Big Five Syndicate - a group of familiar industry faces from Ireland and the US, comprises Mick Flanagan, Tom Ryan, Craig Bernick, David Cox, Justin Casse, Ross Doyle and Anna Doyle, the latter of whom was in Cape Town to collect the trophy with husband Peter. The CTS 1600 was one of two sales races staged on the G1 Sun Met undercard, in addition to the CTS 1200. Both are non black-type races restricted to graduates of Cape Thoroughbred Sales yearling sales and are the joint-richest races in Africa with purses of R5-million apiece. About an hour after the race on Saturday afternoon, Flanagan was heading into Dublin to celebrate at the rugby with Ross Doyle and David Cox, and he explained how he and Ross Doyle landed on Count Jack for R250,000 (£12,616/€15,016) at the 2018 Cape Premier Yearling Sale. Flanagan added: “When I was starting out, I used to tag around at the sales in Johannesburg with Peter Doyle, so for the last five or six years we all met down there after Christmas in January and that year we teamed up and bought a couple horses,” Flanagan said. “We saw this colt at the Kieswetters’ and liked him. We all sat with each other at the sale and ate and drank together, and ended up buying him together. “Brett was always high on this horse,” Flanagan said. “He gave him a bit of time but once he hit the track he hit it running. Corne Orffer, who is a great friend of mine who I used to pal around with when I worked for Mike de Kock in Durban, he gave the horse a great ride. It’s good for a number of different reasons and everyone’s gotten a kick out of it.” South Africa’s complicated equine export protocols have meant that yearling prices in the country have typically been capped, as it is difficult and expensive for buyers to export their purchases and for breeders to trade in foreign markets, but that element combined with a weak currency, on the flip side, has meant that shrew overseas shoppers can find horses at a premium with a good shot at making money racing locally. But Flanagan-who has had pieces of up to six horses in training at a time in South Africa-said there is still upside to buying and racing horses in South Africa. “I’ve been doing this four or five years now and I’ve only sent money down one time,” he said. “I think the cost to reward ratio racing a horse is actually very good there. The landscape is obviously changing with a couple guys no longer involved and different things happening politically, but it’s a good, fun place, and who doesn’t love winning races in Cape Town in the month of January? “It provides a great platform for people to get into horses and enjoy it. I can’t see us not doing it again. It’s been a pretty sweet experience. It’s just a It’s just a bloody great day.

- Original Article on Turf Talk

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