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Picture : Miss Soho, ridden by Donald Geerthsen, gave Craig Mayhew (second from right) a winning comeback to the training ranks at the Vaal today. (JC Photos).

Craig Mayhew was one of the few who departed the training ranks around the time of or after the Covid-19 pandemic and he made a fairytale comeback at the Vaal today.

Craig’s previous runner as a licensed trainer was on November 26, 2020, at which point he joined the Ashley Fortune yard as an assistant.
The latter’s recent departure to Australia forced him to take out his license again and it is not going to be easy starting with a stable of just five horses.
Two of them ran today, both of them ex Fortune-trained horses.
It looked as if his first runner back, in the first race over 1200m, gave him a fair chance of making a winning comeback.
The Canford Cliffs filly Southern Style was having her 24th outing, but is always thereabouts and had finished in the first five on 19 occasions going into today’s race, a fillies and mares maiden over 1200m.
It was a family affair because Craig’s 4kg claimer son Trent Mayhew was aboard her.
She earned a 20th top five finished by running a 0,85 length fourth at odds of 16/1.
Craig still had another chance for a family celebration, because his second runner on the day Miss Soho is part-owned by his daughter Kelsey Mayhew-Munger.
However, this Master Of My Fate filly was coming off a 15 length beating over 1000m in her comeback from a seven month layoff and duly started at 100/1 odds in the fillies and mares MR74 Handicap over 1200m.
The 2,5kg claimer Donald Geerthsen was aboard and followed instructions perfectly.
He allowed the blinkered four-year-old filly to use her pace to carve out a lead and he then asked her for more in the last 400m.
She found more to win by a cosy 1,25 lengths.
Craig said, “I wasn’t expecting it to be honest even though she was working well. She had picked up her game a little bit over the last month-and-a-half that I’ve had her on my own. But you always come here thinking they might just need one run and I thought I would need the run! I told Donald to jump and let her use her speed and if she is comfortable out in front to just leave her and she might just stay on. It was a cracking ride and a helluva run from the filly, so I’m very happy.”
In her maiden win she only just got there over 1000m, so there were doubts about her seeing out the 1200m.
However, Craig said, “We actually thought she would get 1400m and put her over 1400m early on in her career and she just never saw it out and then we bought her back to 1000m where she just held on. But she is strengthening up slowly. She is still not a very pretty looking girl, but if she runs like this again once or twice more she can stay ugly!”
Craig revealed he had little choice other than taking out his license again: “The Fortunes did up and move off quite suddenly and  there aren’t many options for us old trainers, so I had to come back. It’s been very hard starting off again. I’ve only got five horses. So we starting off slowly. But we are back and we’re going to give it a bash.” 
Donald Geerthsen had said earlier, “Mr Mayhew’s such an awesome guy and I’m very happy to have ridden his first winner back.”