Crawford’s Captain Swoops

Change of fortune for Cape trainer

Capt America wins Horse Chestnut Stakes

Captain America storms clear under Anton Marcus (JC Photos)

Phillipi trainer Brett Crawford scored what could be classed as the most important Gr1 victory of his career to date when the rather in-and-out, but very talented 4yo Captain America stormed clear to lift the honours in the R1 million HF Oppenheimer Gr1 Horse Chestnut Stakes run over a mile at Turffontein on Saturday.

It is a little difficult working out from a punting angle whether Captain America is a genuine superhero or a villain of the peace.

His record of 6 wins and 7 places from 15 starts with over R2,4 million in stakes money is hardly record of a brass, but he has let punters down when expected to deliver the goods at times in the past.

Like just a fortnight earlier when he had run a dirty odds-on nine length third in a Conditions Plate

Brett Crawford - smiling again

Brett Crawford – smiling again

But on Saturday he was firing on all cylinders and Crawford would have relished the moment of joyful distraction after a devastating blow when losing his top horse Futura recently.

Triple Crown hero Louis The King was the public favourite in the thirteen horse field, reduced to eleven, after King Of Pain had cried off lame and Unparalleled opted for the SA Classic.

After No Worries and Bouclette Top had showed the way and the field moved to the outside down the home straight, Captain America moved up slowly down the wide outside rail.

He appeared to be giving Anton Marcus a handful as he was hanging, but with the front-runners stopping and little else running on, he moved to the lead and appeared to gain confidence in the process..

Anton Marcus

Anton Marcus – confident ride

At the 250m marker Marcus drove Captain America into the lead and he  drew off to win by 4,25 lengths in a time of 98,27 secs. A performance made all the more meritorious by virtue of his having spread a right hind shoe in running.

Tellina charged through late in his characteristic late-dash style to grab second, with Bouclette Top staying on well in third to maintain his recent revival.

Louis The King was struggling to come through from midfield and stopped to run 18 lengths behind in a shocker.

Captain America was a R400 000 National Yearling Sale purchase, and was re-sold for R500 000 at the Ready to Run sale 8 months later.

The Varsfontein Stud bred gelding is a son of the outstanding Captain Al out of the five-time winning Fort Wood mare Requista.

After placing on debut, he chalked up five wins on the trot, culminating in his impressive victory over the boom colt Red Ray in the inaugural R2 million Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes at Kenilworth on 23 November 2013.

Little did we know then, but that was to be his last win for over a year, before capturing an MR 96 Handicap at his penultimate outing on Met day.

His last run – his first in Gauteng – was almost too poor to believe.

Captain America has now won 6 races with 7 places from 15 starts and R2 418 675 in stakes.

This was his first Gr1 win and if he keeps his mind on things, it won’t be his last.


Gr1 Horse Chestnut Stakes  (SAf-Gr1)

Turffontein, South Africa, March 28, R1 million, 1600m, turf, soft, 1.38.27

1 – CAPTAIN AMERICA (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Requista (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA). Owner Mesdames Adam Gurney, D Nagle & D J Sherrell; Breeder Varsfontein Stud; trainer BJ Crawford; jockey A Marcus
2 – Tellina (SAF), 60.0, b g 5, Silvano (GER) – Tachina (IRE) by Spectrum (IRE)
3 – Bouclette Top (ARG), 60.0, br g 4, Giant’s Causeway (USA) – Bouclette Glory (ARG) by Honour And Glory (USA)
Margins: 4.25, 0.75, 0.25




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