You can’t keep a good man down and Brett Crawford bounced back to Grade 1-winning form at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday by winning the WSB Cape Fillies Guineas and in the process he gave the country’s current leading owners, Hollywood Syndicate, their first ever win at the highest level.
It was also a first Grade 1 win for jockey Luyolo Mxothwa.
Crawford had a Grade 1 blank last season for the first time since the 2010/2011 term.
It was the Dynasty colt Jackson who put him on the map after he had departed his job as private trainer to Sabine Plattner more than a decade ago.
So it was fitting on Saturday that a Dynasty filly, Make It Snappy, put him back on the Grade 1 trail.
Make It Snappy is one of a number of horses leased to Hollywood by Ridgemont Highlands.
Racing manager Anthony Delpech spoke recently of the need for Hollywood to find Grade 1 horses if they are to go one better than last season and become the country’s champion owners.
Ridgemont Highlands carefully selected the batch of horses they leased to Hollywood.
They did not spare the quality, so are also obviously keen to see Hollywood, who do a lot for horseracing, achieve their ambition.
Crawford has had the late blooming Make It Snappy for about six months.
Delpech said, “Brett has always thought highly of her.”
Make It Snappy is out the Western Winter mare Icy Winter Air, who was third in the Grade 2 SA Fillies Nursery and who is a full-sister to Grade 3 runner up Izora and a half-sister to Equus Champion Sprinter Russet Air (What A Winter) and to Grade 2 winner Icy Trail.
Make It Snappy finished a narrow third on debut before winning her maiden over 1600m at Durbanville in eyecatching style.
Delpech said it was in her next start they realised how good she could be.
In the Non-Black Type Summer Bowl over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth, just her third career start, she beat the crack four-year-old fillies Marina and Chansonette by three lengths and 3,20 lengths respectively.
Anthony said, “She was receiving 11kg from both of them but it was the manner in which she did it.”
The Hollywood team went into Saturday’s race quietly confident.
Delpech said, “It was not the strongest Fillies Guineas and Ciao Bella had been beaten before by several of the runners in a couple of her races, so for me she was not a good thing on paper.”
They would have also taken into account the tendency of Dynasty’s progeny to continually improve as three-year-olds.
Make It Snappy had overcome a tricky draw to lead in the small field Summer Bowl and Luyolo Mxothwa made a good decision to take her to the front from draw eleven on Saturday in the bigger 14 horse field.
She did not expend a lot of energy finding the front with her big stride.
She was also now in the prime position to head for the outside in the straight, which the jockeys had decided was the best going on the day.
Furthermore, when she pricked her ears in front, Mxothwa knew it would take a good horse to beat her.
Ciao Bella from a good draw of three had found the rail in midfield, but that was not the ideal place to be considering they were all going to the outside in the straight.
Mxothwa bided his time under a tight hold in the straight and the field followed him as he drifted towards the outside.
A line of horses soon ranged up on his inside, including Ciao Bella.
However, when Mxothwa got to work at the 400m mark Make It Snappy quickened superbly and it was clear she was on her way to victory.
Ciao Bella fought on gallantly but Make It Snappy won by a comfortable 1,50 lengths despite Mxothwa celebrating his first Grade 1-win with a vigorous shake of the whip.
Crawford and Hollywood were due to discuss the filly’s next target late today.
Delpech said it would definitely not be against the boys in the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas.
The Grade 1 Paddock Stakes looks to be the most obvious target.
The Cape Fillies Guineas winner of 2020, Captain Ransom, touched off last season’s Cape Fillies Guineas winner Chansonette in last season’s Paddock Stakes.
Meanwhile, Hollywood have increased their lead at the top of the national owners’ log to R1,564,238 over the reigning champions Drakenstein Stud.
Their runners have accumulated R5,240,188 in stakes to Drakenstein’s 3,675,950.
Laurence Wernars, fresh from his win in the Betway Summer Cup, is in third place on 2,743,125.
In the trainers championship Brett Crawford is in third place on stakes of R4,411,225, which is R1,024,900 behind the R5,436,125 of Justin Snaith.
Johan Janse van Vuuren is in second place on R4,976,175.