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Brett and James Crawford – emotions ran high after the Hollywoodbets Durban July at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.   


Brett Crawford is the perfect embodiment of that old adage “It is not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.”
 He has never fallen too far, but going on your own after being the private trainer of Sabine Plattner would have been a daunting task by anybody’s standards.
He went on his own in roundabout September 2009 and had soon bounced to a higher level than he had ever achieved out of Rondeberg.
In fact he had at least one Gr 1 win and usually multiple Gr 1 wins every season from the 2010/2011 season until the 2020/2021 season.
So last season (2021/2022) represented a fall because it broke a sequence of eleven consecutive seasons with a Gr 1 win.
Therefore, it was time to bounce again.
And bounce he has in no uncertain terms.
He started off by possibly making South African history.
In September at a Durbanville meeting he sent out a Jackpot of victors.
A jackpot of wins is achieved every now and then by jockeys and the Greeffs and Smiths might have done it in the Eastern Cape.
However, it is hard to think of a previous occasion a trainer did it in one of the so-called major centres in South Africa.
Even when Justin Snaith won a reported world record eight races in a day on Met day in 2016, including the first six of the meeting, he did not do the Jackpot. 
Crawford was then back on the Gr 1-winning rostrum when his Dynasty filly Make It Snappy won the Gr 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas.
She was the first ever Gr 1 winner in the Hollywood Syndicate colours. 
The latter lease her from her breeders Ridgemont.
Hollywood had more to cheer about when Make It Snappy won the Gr 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes, which is one of the most prized races in South Africa to win as it adds a lot of stud value to the victor.
Meanwhile, his Highveld satellite yard, which had its first runner in November 2021, was contributing well to the success of the Crawford Racing business. 
Crawford has overall had 104 wins this season at a strike rate of 14.15% and 25 of those wins have come out of his Randjesfontein yard at a rate of 13.30%.
The yard is run by James Crawford and has given this youngster an invaluable opportunity to grow in the training profession.
However, his dynamic father looks to have had multiple reasons for opening that yard. 
He clearly also viewed it as a fine place from which to train his Champions Season horses.
Crawford had said at this year’s Hollywoodbets Durban July final field announcement and draw ceremony that winning the July was on everybody’s bucket list.
Having had a second with Angus in 2002, a fourth with Reveille Boy in 2005, a third with Futura in 2014  and a third with Edict Of Nantes in 2017, he can now tick the July off his bucket list.
History will also show his winner Winchester Mansion was trained out of Randjesfontein.
Corné Spies, who is one of the most travelled trainers in South Africa, was once quoted as saying, “If the horses stay at the coast after their runs they tend to go flat. It would take about six weeks or two months for them to acclimatise and they would then begin to thrive. But taking them in and out is not a problem, so I ship them up and down to keep the positive effect of high altitude training.”
However, all theories on the effect of Altitude on horses are anecdotal. South Africa is the only major country in the world that has racecourses at significantly high altitudes and no scientific studies have ever been done on the subject.
Now confounding the anecdotal theory that you can travel horses down from the Highveld to Durban successfully twice but not three times is an example of a Brett Crawford-trained horse, Winchester Mansion, traveling down from the Highveld three times in the space of seven weeks and on the third time winning the country’s premier race, the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
The picture above of James shedding tears as he embraces his father says more than words would be able to.
It not only shows the importance of the race to any trainer, but could also also be a reflection on the strains of the job because there could well be some emotional release there after weeks of extreme pressure.
Nevertheless, Brett Crawford is no longer a leading  contender for the title of best trainer to have never won the July.