Skip to main content

Picture : Freelance Cape Town-based Photographer Chase Liebenberg

Chase Liebenberg won the Equus Still Photography award and deservedly so as his superb photographs are used by a variety of sources in racing.

His winning photograph of the three below submissions, together with their well thought out headings and “creative rationales”, was the first one, which magnicently depicts a trimphant moment for jockey Aldo Domeyer and the connections of the superstar Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Charles Dickens shortly before he crosses the line to win the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas:
Charles Dickens very well might be the horse of a generation and of course with that comes the Charles Dickens writings of Great Expectations. On Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas day he fulfilled some of those expectations! Charles delivered a grade one victory for the Bass Stable, one that eluded Mike Bass his entire racing career and when passing the torch to his daughter Candice, it was one race the family always wanted to win! The image somes up huge amounts of emotion, effort and hard work into making it all possible. The victory was also a first for Aldo Domeyer and Mrs Gaynor Rupert in the illustrious history of the Cape Guineas. 
Isivunguvungu was triumphant in the Gr1 Computaform Sprint for Peter Muscutt and the Hollywoodbets team! Richard Fourie saluted the jam packed Turffontein crowd after passing the line on the son OF What A Winter.
This year’s WSB Met has gone down as one of the strongest in history. Coming down to the wire, Kommetdieding had his sights on back-to-back Met victories but in less than the blink of an eye Jet Dark clinched victory with Richard Fourie aboard. The image drives home the emotion of defeat in the expression portrayed on Gavin Lerena’s face. This truly is an image that tells a story in a matter of seconds. 
It is not surprising Chase has ended up in racing as he comes from a family steeped in the sport.
His grandfather’s brother was jockey Frankie Serra and his other great Uncle was jockey-turned-trainer Dennis Houston who won the Met on Thorium in 1949.
Chase’s mother Wendy Michel was an assistant trainer for many years who worked for Terrance Millard, Mark Watters, Mike de Kock and for the majority of her career for the Kannemeyers.
Ex-Jockey Genevieve Michel, who was the first female to be accepted into the South African Jockeys Academy and the first woman to ride in the Met, is Chase’s half-sister.
Chase quipped, “So I don’t come from a bad broodmare side.”
He continued, “I worked for Charles Faull’s Form Bloodstock for four years while I was putting myself through university. I studied advertising and design and then I left racing, I wasn’t particularly interested in racing. I worked in retail advertising for a while and then actually did some work for Mike and Matthew De Kock with the old Onamission Syndicate who owned Puget Sound. It was really successful and had about 100 owners way-back-when when syndicates weren’t really a thing. So then I decided to start my own business. Drakenstein Stud and Bass Racing picked me up the mpoment I said I was going freelance and Sporting Post also picked me up for photography … and the rest is history I guess.”
 He added, “I have been very blessed with the clients I’ve picked up on the way, I’ve got a very long list of clients, especially the like of Sporting Post, Hollywood, World Horseracing, Cape Racing – I’m very grateful to all of them. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am.”
Chase only did photography in his first simester at University.
He revealed, “I never took photography as a major subject but working at Form Bloodstock Charles Faull helped me a little bit with photography. I did a bit of phographic work with him while I worked there. But the bug never really bit until Lance Benson and Kiki Miedema got hold of me. They were looking for a photographer in Cape Town and they wanted  somebody new and fresh. I had a camera so I gave it a bit of a go and I must say I really have to give a lot of credit to my Uncle Derek Serra, who is a photographer. Another person who really helped me from dot is Liesl King. She has been a massive inspiration and a massive help. John Lewis is another one. He is an amazing photographer and I’m very blessed and lucky to have them to support me. I think we in South Africa are very blessed to have so many good photographers, more than many other places in the world.”
Chase is one of the official on-course protographers in Cape Town and he said, “There’s a lot of clients I’m working for and hopefully one of those horses that passes the line first is a a way for you to try and do them proud.”
Chase thoroughly enjoyed Equus Awards night, sharing the many triumphs on the night for Drakenstein and the Bass’s (at whose table he sat), and he made particular mention of comedian Nik Rabinowitz.
He said, “The comedy act that they had in between by Nik Rabinowitz was absolutely hysterical. He pulled no punches and it didn’t matter who or where you were in the room he was going to give it to you!! It was a lovely evening.”