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David Shawe (left) is named 2022 Owner Of The Year in the Molly Awards (JC Photos).


It’s Time For Dave Mollett’s Annual “Honours List”. In May The Veteran Scribe Reached The Milestone Of 50 Years As A Racing Journo In South Africa.

In the jockey and trainer categories, those who finished in the top five in last season’s national logs are ineligible.
2022 Molly Awards


On December 19 2043, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was published in the UK – fast forward 179 years and the song being sung by racing fans this Christmas was in praise of Candice Bass-Robinson’s colt.
Once again, a top horse has been well-named. Charles Dickens was the most popular novelist of the Victorian era.
What I liked about Candice’s post-race interview after the colt’s Cape Guineas success (nearly as long as a certain Mr Khumalo) is that the 48 year-old trainer dedicated the race to her father, Mike Bass. Amazingly, he never won the Guineas but just about every other race in the racing calendar. He should be inducted into racing’s “Hall Of Fame.”
Bookmakers have Charles Dickens at 6-10 for the L’Ormarins King’s Plate where he is set to clash with 2022 winner, Jet Dark. The layers have probably got their sums right.
Experts (in alphabetical order) like Robin Bruss, Charles Faull and Karel Miedema have been quoted in Sporting Post as to where Charles Dickens fits in against other champions such as Horse Chestnut. Just like Flightline stole the show in the USA this year, we must simply be happy to have a debate about a rising star in our own country.
The big question is – if Charles Dickens wins on January 7 – will Gaynor Rupert accept the invitation to run in the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita at the end of November. No doubt the Drakenstein boss will be guided by her lieutenant, Kevin Sommerville, and hopefully he will want to see – unlike our non-involvment in the World Cup in Qatar – a South African horse strutting his stuff on the world stage.
Thus, there remains the possibility that Aldo Domeyer may be taking on Frankie Dettori at his last race meeting as a jockey. No surprise if Phil Georgiou is already planning a trip for SA racing fans.
If Charles Dickens had never been born, this award would have gone to Steve Moffatt’s game old mare, Rouge Allure. But now comes the saddest news possible – the mare passed away shortly after her arrival in KZN.
“She contracted colic at the stud I sent her to – it’s a terrible shock,” said owner Albert Rapp.
Rouge Allure made her racecourse debut (finishing fourth) at the Vaal in August 2016 and – three months later – won her first race in the hands of Craig Zackey.
Gavin Lerena piloted the now nine year-old to the 15th win of her career at Turffontein at the end of July.
One has to take your hat off – or hand a Castle Lite – to Steve Moffatt for keeping Rouge Allure on the boil for so many years.
After an 11th place finish last season, Johan would have said to himself “a top-five finish must be my target next term.” He has far surpassed that with – statistics up to Dec 23 – showing the 40 year-old in third place in the national trainers log.
Johan’s success – and that of his chief patron Laurence Wernars – will have delighted trainer Geoff Woodruff who is currently in Saudi Arabia. The Vereeniging-born youngster was his assistant for 13 years.
Johan will be as aware as any trainer that – if you don’t have quality stock in this game – one can end up on the slippery slope to nowhere. Thankfully Laurence Wernars hasn’t been shy to invest in the bloodstock world – in a way there is a comparison with Sean Tarry and the much-missed Chris Van Niekerk who was responsible for getting the Tarry train on the rails.
Johan’s tally of winners this term is 36 – and his four year-old filly, Bon Vivant, notched the sixth win of her career at Turffontein on Christmas Eve. It was a race of mixed fortune for the stable as a recent Wernars acquisition, the four-time winner Maharanee – unshipped Gavin Lerena as the gates opened.
But that race is an indication of Johan’s talent as another filly in the field, Moonshiningthrough, has won twice in the last two months.
Of course, the cherry on top of Johan and Laurence’s year was Puerto Manzano’s win in the Betway Summer Cup – just one of a number of outstanding rides for their regular pilot, Keagan De Melo.
In an interview when he had just taken out his licence, Johan said his dream was to become “champion trainer.” With Laurence’s financial firepower, that dream might become a reality.
Kabelo’s path of success has pretty much followed that of Johan Janse van Vuuren – from 18th place last term to sixth this season and not far off his regular rivals S’manga Khumalo and Muzi Yeni.
Last season he rode 53 winners – he passed that total two weeks ago and there are still seven months of the season remaining.
What has become evident is that Kabelo, who rode his first winner at the Vaal in June 2018, has got the attention of Brett Crawford who just happens to be in second place in the trainers log.
Kabelo has been entrusted with most of the rides for Crawford’s Highveld sattelite yard run by his son, James. He has also flown to the Cape to partner a number of Crawford runners and Justin Snaith booked the up-and-coming rider for Pomp And Power in the Green Point Stakes.
One of two SA Jockey Academy students chosen to spend time at the British Racing School in 2018, Kabelo doesn’t get many rides for the top yards of Mike De Kock and Sean Tarry. That many change if his good form continues.
It really is some feat to own the first two horses home in the WSB Grand Heritage – a race with the biggest field assembled in the racing calendar. Similar to an owner running first and second in the Grand National.
For businessman David, the 1-2 by Duke Of Sussex and Dyce has to be the highlight of his time as an owner and reward for his investment in the sport over the last few years.
He also owns the promising three year-old, Munchkin, who wasn’t a cheap buy at R500 000. He looks one to follow in 2023.
But it is the comeback of Dyce which will have David raising his glass at New Year. Lucky Houdalakis told Turf Talk that the son of William Longsword had suffered a “horrific” injury which resulted in him being sidelined for over a year. A screw had to be inserted into his fetlock.
The injury occurred soon after Dyce’s impressive four lengths feature race win at Hollywoodbets Greyville on the last day of the 2020/21 season.
Duke Of Sussex – who cost David R425 000 when purchased from Drakenstein Stud – has repaid that outlay with eight wins and is another talented performer sired by the deceased stallion, Duke Of Marmalade. The five year-old may be aimed at the Listed Wolf Power 1600 on the day after the WSB Cape Met.
The one question probably worrying Drakenstein matriarch, Gaynor Rupert, is whether 2023 can be as good as 2022? Quite possibly, it could easily surpass it.
The stud got off to a flying start to the new year with Rain In Holland winning the Triple Tiara and events continued on an upward spiral. Their four year-old son of Trippi, Jet Dark, sold to Messrs Tommy Crowe and Nic Jonsson, ran second in the Durban July and then won the Gr 1 Champions Cup.
Trippi was also the sire of Allan Robertson winner, Sweet Pepper, but the stallion, still alive and well at the stud at the age of 25, was to really hit the headlines with his son, Charles Dickens.
Following his four lengths romp in the Cape Guineas, Mrs Rupert described it as her best day on a racecourse. But that could be pushed into second place if her colt wins a race at what is basically her personal meeting – the L’Ormarins King’s Plate.
That too could be surpassed if Charles Dickens ventures to America at the end of the year to take on the best thoroughbreds in the world.
This award goes to the trio of Clyde Basel, Darryl Maree and Daryn Burroughs whose preview and tips prior to every meeting has become one of the most popular daily features of 4Racing.
It’s a simple fact that punters love tips and – with this trio – the racing public get the end result of some serious form studying.
The return of Darryl Maree is particularly welcome. Along with many of us, Darryl was sidelined for two years as a result of the Phumelela debacle. At the time, he had a big following and many of those have now returned.
In the last few months, the team has come up with a number of Pick 6 wins. Yes, sometimes the perms involve a big outlay but a punter can always take a percentage.
This Eastern Cape duo is a combination which works – they set a terrific standard to the rest of the country to match up to and compliment each other greatly.
Nadine, who married Gary Low Ah Kee 10 years ago, is a former jockey in the province so she can give punters valuable information as she knows the leading players like Alan Greeff and Gavin Smith better than anyone.
A stalwart of the racing ranks for five decades, Michael Javett passed away recently at the age of 86. He was a top businessman and Patron Of The Arts.
In their tribute, the Sporting Post stated that Mr Javett was the “driving force” behind the creation of the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria.
In partnership with Fane Tenderini, Mr Javett had his most memorable day as an owner when Politician won the Durban July (then sponsored by Rothmans) in 1978. Syd Laird’s champion won 18 races including 11 Gr 1’s.
He always hoped to find another horse as talented as Politician and he was a big spender at the country’s bloodstock sales. He once quipped to me “I’m searching, Molly, but lightning rarely strikes twice in this game.”
On his website, Mike De Kock got it 100% right when stating “Mr Javett was a gentleman from the old school in business and racing, a humble private man who enjoyed his horses and cared for the industry. We were honoured to have him in our ranks for so many years.”
On his first involvement with Cape racing, Greg said: “The patient’s not critical, the patient’s dead.”