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Shipholia was one of Gareth van Zyl’s six winners in the last two KZN poly meetings. The good looking William Longsword filly is led in after winning the Non Black-Type New Turf Carriers eThekwini Sprint over 1200m on the Hollywoodbets Greyville poly under Cole Dicken (Candiese Lenferna Photography). 


The KZN Trainers Championship looked a one horse race for much of the season with Garth Puller way out in front.

When Queue Wing won for Puller on March 12 it took him to 50 wins for the season and the second placed trainer at that stage was Wendy Whitehead, 14 behind on 36 wins, while reigning champion Gareth van Zyl was 21 off the pace on 29 and only in fifth place.

Puller had a double in the next meeting to open his unassailable looking lead to 16 and his lead on Van Zyl to 23.

However, the winners then dried up for Puller and he has only had six winners since.

He is currently on 59 wins.

At the beginning of last weekend that still looked to be a healthy lead, because he was six clear of Michael Roberts and eight clear of both Van Zyl and Peter Muscutt with just seven KZN meetings left in the season.

However, Van Zyl plundered six wins in all from the polytack meetings on Sunday and Monday, scoring a four-timer on Sunday and a double on Monday.

Puller got one back on Wednesday and is now just three in front as Van Zyl, who has climbed to 56.

Roberts and Muscutt are on 52 and 51 respectively and are not out of it.

Van Zyl was aware of the situation before Monday’s meeting and said, “”This was not planned and we are not going to try and squeeze more out of horses for the sake of the championship. It will be great if we can do it, but I am trying not to think about the championship. If it happens it happens.” 

In another thriller, reigning East Cape Champion trainer Gavin Smith is just two wins ahead of perennial rival Alan Greeff in the East Cape Trainers Championship with just two meetings of the season left.