SHERMAN BROWN (37), or the ‘computer man’ as he is affectionately known, is consistently in the top 10 on the South African Jockey’s log. The Zimbabwean born, Brown, has come a long way since his earlier days and he is now stable jockey to the Leon Erasmus yard in Gauteng as well as the Vernon Rugg stable in Kimberley. He has learnt invaluable lessons from veteran trainer Ormond Ferraris and the late great, Buddy Maroun and has fond memories of his association with sprinting legend, Golden Loom. Sherman is happily married to former jockey, Danielle McCreedy and the couple share a one-year old child (Addison) together. He has won 3 Grade 1’s in his career but reading between the lines, his biggest achievement to date is when he acquired his Springbok colours during the 2011 International Jockey’s Challenge. His favourite jockey is Felix Coetzee and it is little wonder that Brown is renowned for his hard work, dedication, will to win and is often found giving his mounts a driving ride down to the wire. We wishes Sherman everything of the best and will follow his career with plenty of interest.
What is your name? Sherman Marc Brown.
What is your star sign and birthdate? Aries, born 23 March 1975.
Where were you born? Zimbabwe.
Where do you live? Fourways, JHB.
Tell us about your family? I am married to Danielle (McCreedy) and we have a 1 year old daughter, Addison.
Do you have a ‘nickname’? Bouncer Brown, Computer Man.
Favourite food? Pizza (with lots of chilies) and I love a good braai.
Favourite drink ? I enjoy a good whiskey.
Favourite music ? I enjoy a wide range of genres-including RN’B, Hip Hop and House.
Favourite sport? I enjoy a game of golf when I get the chance.
Who is your favourite author? Dean Koontz.
What book are you reading at the moment? Darkness Under The Sun.
Which is the characteristic about yourself you like most? I’m hardworking, honest and I never give up until I have crossed the winning line.
Which characteristic about yourself do you like the least? I get upset with myself when things don’t go as I planned.
Is there anything the public don’t know about Sherman Brown that they would be interested to know? Man of many talents. I love home DIY, home improvements and all things technological.
Favourite holiday destination? Anywhere tropical.
Where did you go to school? Clarence Road (opposite Greyville Racecourse). 1 year at George Campbell Technical high school before I went to the Jockey Academy.
What sort of student were you and what did you really enjoy studying? I never really excelled at academics until high school where I found technical studies to be my forte’.
Your nickname is the ‘computer man’. Tell us about what you are really good at doing from a technical point of view? I pick up on new technology and programs very quickly so people normally come to me for problem solving and set ups.
The jockey you have always looked up to is Felix Coetzee. Do you think it is amazing how Felix is still riding as well as ever even though he is getting older? He is a testament to hard work and dedication and has a true love for the sport. He represents what we as jockeys should aspire to achieve in our careers.
You started riding for Gary Rich. Gary now trains for Adam Kethro. Do you have any contact with Gary after all these years? No unfortunately not very much!
From Gary you worked for Herman Brown and rode your first winner, Save Ten, for him. What important lessons did you learn from Herman? To always keep doing my best whatever the situation.
Trainer Ormond Ferraris is a legend. What were the important lessons you learnt from him in the year you spent with him? Mr. Ferraris taught me to always give 110% in everything I do, and NEVER stop riding till I have crossed the line.
Which top horses did you ride whilst with trainer Ferraris? Travel North, Stormy North and Orkney Island.
You then came under the wing of the late Buddy Maroun. How did it come about that you came to ride for Buddy? I had just qualified and he appreciated my persistence and determination.
Trainer Maroun was well known for his unorthodox training methods. For example he seemed to be abler to run his horses almost every week. What did he do that made this possible? He would get them fit at the races rather than do too much at the track in the morning.
You were fortunate to ride the great Golden Loom (Goofy). Do you still consider him the best horse you have ever ridden? Absolutely, he was one of the best sprinters this country has seen and will always be in the record books.
Which other top horses have you ridden which stick in your memory? All Will Be Well, Fov’s Favourite, Follow The Falcon and Hide Out.
You were the joint Mauritian champion in 2008. Is there any chance you will, sometime in the near future, have another stint in Mauritius? I struck up a good relationship with Bud Gujadhur and owner Paul Foo Kune. For now I am concentrating on my career in South Africa with Leon Erasmus.
Which were the top horses you rode in Mauritius? The Cardinal was one that had a special place in my and owner Paul Foo Kune’s hearts.
Do you miss riding in front of thousands of cheering excited fans? It was exhilarating but you could also go from hero to zero in the space of 2 races.
Is it difficult to keep yourself highly motivated when you take your horse onto the track and see only a sprinkling of fans to cheer you home? It would be fantastic to see more people on-course, but regardless, I am there to do my job whether there is one person supporting me or a thousand. I ride for myself and for the owner and trainer, who trust in my skill, and ability, to give their horse the best possible chance in a race.
You have struck up a highly successful partnership with Leon Erasmus. How did this come about? I have always ridden for Leon, even when he originally had a small string of horses. I think everyone takes more notice of the partnership now that he has a larger yard and has more runners.
Do you ride work every day for Leon Erasmus? No I am constantly travelling around the country racing but I try to take the babies through the starting stalls when I can.
Which other jockeys ride work for Leon Erasmus? The appies and I help Leon on the days he brings horses to the starting stalls.
How much discussion takes place between you and Leon about where and when the horses should race? We do discuss the horses regularly but, ultimately, it is Leon’s decision where he runs the horses. He leaves the race riding up to me.
Which horses in the yard do you think will be worth following in the next couple of months? Zuccarelli, Mogok’s Desire, Night Embers and Jimmy Choo.
Go Indigo has done well for you both. She won the Fillies Guineas at Turffontein but since then seems to have gone flat. Is there any particular reason for this? I’m sure she will be making a comeback soon.
Does your stable have any horses which could be taken to KZN to compete in any feature races during the winter? We have a promising string of young horses coming through at the moment so we will definitely be looking to raid during the season.
You are the stable jockey for Kimberley trainer Vernon Rugg. How did this association come about? I have known Vernon for years from when he was assistant to Buddy. We now have the same relationship and loyalty as I have with Leon.
Is it ever possible for you to ride work on any of his horses considering that he is so far off the beaten track? Unfortunately not. We bus in on Monday mornings and come back home that same night. Fortunately a lot of his strings are ex-JHB horses that I have ridden before.
You ride quite often in Zimbabwe. It is amazing that Zimbabwean racing is doing so well considering the difficulties they face. What do you put this down to? It’s an amazing feat considering the difficulties they face in acquiring the supplies they need for the horses. Borrowdale is a fantastic course to race on and battling horses from South Africa seem to flourish when they relocate to Zim.
Which trainers do you ride for in Zimbabwe? I ride mainly for Kirk Swanson.
Are there any young jockeys that you take a particular interest in and assist and mentor along the way? If any of the youngsters ask for help I am always willing to assist them.
Tell us about your career. How may Gr1 races have you won? I have won three grade 1 races. I have won the Computaform Sprint once with Golden Loom, the Mercury Sprint on All Will Be Well. I have also won the Grade 1 Castle Tankard in Zimbabwe.
What is your current riding mass? 54,5 kgs.
How many races, overall, have you won? Including Mauritius, Dubai, Zimbabwe I have won over 1000 winners.
Was it a thrill for you to be chosen to ride for the South African jockey team to compete against the overseas International jockeys? It was a great experience – I think it is every sportsman’s dream of representing their country at least once in their lifetime. I am thrilled to be able to say I am a Protea – it’s a real honour.
Which of the international jockeys impressed you the most? Richard Hughes and Joao Moreira.
Which is your favourite track? Turffontein.
What do you do with your time on a non-race day? Work for my wife, ha-ha, she always has me busy doing DIY of some sort – building paddocks, installing laminated floors and so forth, but I try to squeeze a game of golf in where I can.
Do you have an agent? I do my own rides but Danny helps me on the days that I am travelling.
Which jockeys are you really friendly with? Gunter Wrogemann.
Who were the other apprentices at the academy when you were there? Craig du Plooy, David Carstens and Robert Sweetman.
What do you do to keep fit other than race riding and riding work in the morning? My wife and I do road and trail running.
You are a professional jockey and make your living by it, but what else keeps you passionate about being a jockey? The thrill and hope of finding your next grade 1 horse that you have taken from a maiden through the divisions.
Your wife, Danielle McCreedy, was a jockette. How much of a critic of yours is she? Not a critic but a constant supporter. She fully understands the game and the ups and downs that go with it.
How valuable is her criticism for you? It’s very valuable as it’s nice to have constructive criticism from someone who understands the game.
Your daughter is now about 1 year old. How much of a difference to your life has she made? Having children is truly life changing. It is amazing how your whole perspective on life changes the minute they’re born – everything you do is done to improve your little one’s life.
Were you fortunate enough to see the great Frankel run and what were your impressions of him while watching him effortlessly beat his rivals? He is another freak of nature as was Horse Chestnut. It makes your hair stand up when you see horses of that calibre pulverize their opponents.
Does watching a horse like that inspire you to get up in the morning to ride work in the hope that you may, someday, find yourself on a horse like Frankel? Absolutely, every jockey wants to find their Frankel but I feel blessed to get up every day and do what I love best.
Do you ever have a bet on a horse or is your enjoyment limited to riding and winning races? I work too hard for my money to throw it away betting.
Are you ever pestered by punters to give them information about any horse you are riding? No. I don’t discuss info about my stable or rides.
What ambitions do you have for yourself as a jockey? To stay in the top ten on the jockey’s log.
Do you have a sponsor and how important do you consider it for jockey’s to be sponsored? I don’t have a sponsor at present. I think it is very valuable to any jockey but feel the sponsors don’t get enough airtime with all the overseas racing that is aired.
What ambitions do you have for your family? To live a happy, healthy and prosperous life.
The maxim is, “Behind every successful man is an equally successful woman.” Does this apply to Sherman Brown? Yes it does, I couldn’t have got where I am today if it wasn’t for my wife’s full support. Danny was successful in her own right, flying the flag for women in racing for so many years and now I am privileged to have her as part of ‘TEAM BROWN.’