Those trainers and jockeys who finished in the top five of the NHA statistics are excluded.
TRAINER OF THE YEAR: JOHAN JANSE VAN VUUREN
There were several in the running here including Weiho Marwing, Brett Crawford, Dorrie Sham, Yvette Bremer and Louis Goosen, but Johan has made a sensational start to his career and the grounding under Geoff Woodruff is paying off. His 139 runners yielded 23 winners at an average of 16,55% – he looks sure to attract new clients.
Brett came in eighth in the national log with 54 winners and an average of 15,38% and his friendly nature has made him popular with many people in the sport.
Weiho Marwing, who finished 12th in the national log with 47 winners, will always look back on 2014 as the year he was robbed of the July. One can excuse his post-race behaviour as it’s not every day that you make history in SA’s most famous race. However, it’s worth remembering he saddled 50-1 shot, Bilateral, for a game win in the Grade 1 Golden Slipper.
Dorrie Sham, 20th in the log, sent out 89 winners and two slots below her in the table came Yvette Bremner with 61 winners including Copper Parade who amassed earnings of R1 million during the season.
JOCKEY OF THE YEAR: GLEN HATT
Glen turned 50 in June and hoped to celebrate with a first win in the Vodacom July on Futura. He had to settle for third place, but he couldn’t have ended the campaign on a higher note winning the Gold Cup on Wavin’ Flag and the Champions Cup on Futura.
Yet – it isn’t so much these wins – but more the fact he rarely goes missing on favourites in the Cape that has endeared him to many punters.
Others who made this a tough category are Beach Beauty’s pilot Sean Cormack (108 wins from 692 mounts), Grant van Niekerk (102 wins from 700 rides) and Gunter Wrogemann (78 wins from 684 mounts).
In terms of average, Kevin Shea’s average of 15,29% was bettered by only top riders Anton Marcus (25,42%), Anthony Delpech (20,41%) Piere Strydom (18,57%), Gavin Lerena (17,22%) and Richard Fourie (16,71%).
OWNER OF THE YEAR: LOUIS J VAN DER VYVER
Kind of tough when your horse wins the Triple Crown and barely gets a mention at the Equus awards. Nevertheless, the family can take plenty of satisfaction that Louis The King took the Highveld by storm from the beginning of March till the end of April. The Geoff Woodruff-trained three year-old ended the campaign as the third highest stake earner with his six wins from nine outings amassing a bankroll of R3.54 million. If you add his R2 million bonus for winning the Triple Crown it makes the return for this cheapie even more remarkable.
Another Woodruff inmate, Yorker, delighted Markus Jooste, Bernard Kantor and “Mr Best Mate” Jim Lewis with three top-class performances (as well as a second in the J&B Met) which saw the son of Jet Master reach R3.64 million in stake earnings.
HORSE OF THE YEAR: TRIP TEASE
For a horse to win six races from nine starts for a stable with some 40 horses, now that’s some achievement. That’s the excellent record last season of Trip Tease who gets a narrow vote over punters’ long-time favourite, Beach Beauty.
How many times did her backers scream “You Beauty” as Dennis Drier’s star put them in the payout queue? For the record, the mare won five of her eight starts last season (identical record to Futura) and earned her sporting owners, including John Bescoby, R2,26 million. I understand she is likely to be mated with Duke Of Marmalade.
Other horses who had successful campaigns include Master Of My Fate (four wins from five starts) Via Africa (four wins from seven), Copper Parade (four from eight), Hot Ticket (four from 11), Here Comes Billy (four from 13) and Magic Smoke (five from 14).
BREEDER OF THE YEAR: THE ALCHEMY
Cigar-smoking Phillip Kahan is one of the characters of the breeding industry and it’s hats off to The Alchemy for breeding Louis The King. Interesting that it was difficult finding a buyer for the colt as it was for Gold Cup victor, Wavin’ Flag. The Alchemy are also the breeders of Dennis Drier’s useful Toreador gelding, Darkness.
Although there was confusion about whether the National Horseracing Authority or Sporting Post statistics were correct, take nothing away from the Klawervlei team who are clearly as dedicated to their profession as Roger Federer is to tennis.
Their biggest earner was J&B Met victor, Hill Fifty Four, who was given a magical ride by Anton Marcus. Ironically, their winners included Same Jurisdiction (KZN Yearling Sale Million) and they began the new campaign with three winners at the Vaal last Thursday.
COMMENTATOR OF THE YEAR: ALISTAIR COHEN
With the retirement from commentating of Clyde Basel as he takes a higher position in Phumelela, the Highveld ranks are thin with just Nico Kritsiotis (winner here in 2012) and Alistair calling at Turffontein and the Vaal.
You have to like Alistair’s concise calling – can you recall either Nico or him calling the wrong horse first during the whole campaign? The answer is no and – if you ever needed proof of how vital a role commentators play – trying watching a race on channel 239 with the sound switched off!
One can usually spot talent a mile away. For Alistair to be anchoring some racing shows at his tender age suggests he might well become a target for M-Net or Sky Sports.
PRESENTER OF THE YEAR: GRANT KNOWLES
No question that – after several have been tried – Nadine Rapson has done well in the Eastern Cape while being a long way off CNN’s Christiane Amanpour! Nevertheless, Grant has such a natural unflappable manner it’s no surprise his services are sought not only for the Cape, but also many of the big races throughout the country.
He’s also a guy who likes a bet and I’m of the opinion many racing fans like to listen to presenters who actually back the horses they are tipping.
This is definitely the case with Grant and it would be interesting to know how much he won on Gold Cup winner Wavin’ Flag which he co-owns!. He’s racing’s all-rounder with a thorough knowledge of breeding another asset in bolstering his ebullient personality.
PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR: DAVE SCOTT
The sheer enthusiasm of Dave Scott in giving his ABC website the up-to-date racing news has been a feature of the past 12 months and – when the press invites are dished out – you’ll find his name among them. He was invited to the Durban July, recently hosted by the Mauritius Turf Club and was up and down from his seat as if he had ants in his pants taking pics at the Equus awards.
While he’s been about as successful as me in horse ownership, his optimism is infectious and you wish a horse like Louis The King will come his way. Sadly, that’s about as likely as Dave celebrating Scottish independence next month!