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The Season’s Movers & Shakers

It's a game of cycles

The national statistics for the 2016/17 season have been released and like an end-of-term school report, there are those whose star is in the ascendancy and those whose marks are disappointing, writes David Mollett.

Sean Tarry – dream season

Of course, the national trainers log has been dominated by Sean Tarry whose stake earnings total was R15 million more than his nearest rival, Justin Snaith.

However, rather like discovering how your favourite club fared in the Premier League, the table showing who made the top 20 in the trainers log is of particular interest.

Here – in alphabetical order – are those movers compared to the 2015/16 campaign.

BRETT CRAWFORD – What a season for the amicable Cape-based trainer who moved up from 12th to 3rd place in the national log. He went from 81 to 112 winners and they included Sun Met victor, Whisky Baron, who has to be on the shortlist for Equus “Horse-of-the-Year.”

pic of trainer alan greeffAlan Greeff – top of the tree

ALAN GREEFF – Saddled the third most winners and runners last season (behind Tarry and Snaith) and improved from 15th to 8th place in the national log. His winners strike rate of 14.12% was only bettered by Messrs Andre Nel, Mike de Kock, Sean Tarry, Brett Crawford, Geoff  Woodruff, Dennis Drier and Johan Janse van Vuuren.

DUNCAN HOWELLS – Leading trainer in KZN who moved up from 14th place in 2015/16 to 11th last term. He looks to have a good team of owners and is likely to make the top 10 this season.

LUCKY HOUDALAKIS – This vibrant Vaal-based trainer enjoyed his best season improving from 18th place to 13th in the national log. He has enjoyed international success with J J The Jet Plane and it’s a huge plus factor that a number of the country’s top owners are now knocking at his door.

Glen Kotzen – ended with a flourish

GLEN KOTZEN – What a great finish to the season for another Cape-based trainer who won a Gr1 (Eyes Wide Open) and Gr3 (Princess Peach) on Gold Cup day at Greyville. With 92 winners compared to 62 in the 2015/16 season, he shot up from 20th place to 9th in the national log.

VAUGHAN MARSHALL – A master trainer who has been in the top flight for many years. Another profitable campaign for his owners which resulted in the Cape-based conditioner moving up three places from 10th to 7th in the national log.

ANDRE NEL – Some achievement by Sabine Plattner’s trainer as his winners strike-rate of 16,25% was the best in the country. It even bettered top stables like Mike de Kock, Geoff Woodruff and Sean Tarry with 16.06%, 15,70% and 15.25% respectively.

PAUL PETER – another trainer who finished the season with a flourish resulting in him going up from 26th place to 17th in the national log. The Gauteng conditioner saddled a notable double with Maximizer and Fort Ember on Champions Cup day at Greyville.

JOHAN JANSE VAN VUUREN – He made a great start to last season with a bagful of winners and – while the going got tougher towards the end of the campaign – he’ll be happy to have moved up from 19th place to 14th in the national log. Saddled 53 winners last term compared to 39 in 2015/16.

GEOFF WOODRUFF – The five-times champion will not have enjoyed finishing in 16th place in the trainers log in 2015/16. He predictably bounced back last season – once again winning the Sansui Summer Cup with Master Sabina – ending in 6th place with a strike-rate bettered by only Andre Nel and Mike de Kock.

Some trainers who slipped in the national log:

Mike Azzie – slipped

MICHAEL AZZIE – The Van Vuuren saga was a tough call for anyone so it was perhaps predictable that the stable slipped from 5th place to 16th in the national log. Michael is now sharing the training with his polite and talented son, Adam.

GAVIN VAN ZYL – Another who dropped out of the top 10 slipping from 6th to 15th place in the national log. His son, Gareth, is now training in his own right so understandable the winners dropped from 89 in 2015/16 to 73 last term.

ALEC LAIRD – Another forever-friendly trainer from a famous family, but not a great campaign slipping from 13th place to 23rd in the national log. But we mustn’t forget there was no Smart Call in the yard last season.

  • Courtesy of Business Day

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