Crawford’s purple patch

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Crawford’s purple patch

CORNE ORFFER

Jack Milner: Trainer Brett Crawford may well have produced a South Africa first last week when he had four feature winners in four provinces within eight days.

He won the Grade 2 Drill Hall Stakes at Greyville on Friday, 3 May, with Undercover Agent, the Grade 1 Computaform Sprint at Turffontein the next day with Pacific Trader, the Listed Somerset 1200 at Kenilworth on Sunday 5 May with Armando and on Saturday, the Listed World Sports Betting East Cape Derby, this time with St Vladimir.

In addition, Crawford scored a double in this race as he won it last year with American Landing. It was the 10th successive year this race, over 2400m for three-year olds, has gone to a visiting trainer.  

St Vladimir went off second favourite at 9-2 and beat home Drop Kick (18-1) by 1.50 lengths with Just Chaos (30-1), the lone filly in the race, another short head back in third.   

All the talk and support was for Cedar Man from the Greg Ennion yard with Gavin Lerena up. He went off at 15-10 but as the one proven stayer in the field, he would not have benefited from the moderate pace. He never looked dangerous and ended up in sixth place, beaten 6.05 lengths.

It was St Vladimir’s fourth win from eight starts, but jockey Corne Orffer admitted things did not go ideally for him as well at certain points in the race. “There was a bit of a pace early on but they slowed it down quite a bit after that.

“This is the first time I’ve ridden St Vladimir and he is quite a simple ride. When you ask him to quicken would turn it on quickly – but too quickly. So then I had to slow down and when I asked him again he did the same thing so I again had to sit and the third time I asked him he kicked on well to win.

“It’s nice to know he has a good turn of foot over this distance.”  

Drop Kick, who recently moved from Alec Laird’s Highveld stable moved up dangerously under Chase Maujean with 250m to run. But once St Vladimir managed to slip through on the rail and get a clear advantage, the race was all over.

It was a great effort from Drop Kick, who drifted in the betting from 12-1 to 18-1 before the start. His form always indicated he was in with a big chance.

Just Chaos, the only filly in the race, was in the same boat as she drifted from odds of 16-1 to 30-1 although many pundits believed she could be the surprise package of the race.

Just Chaos, who had Luyolo Mxothwa in the irons for the in-form Sharon Kotzen yard, also proved bookmakers wrong when she finished 1.55 lengths behind St Vladimir.

Cedar Man was the big disappointment of the whole meeting and was never in the picture.

Crawford, who won this race last year with American Landing, said: “This race was the plan for him for a while but we were dumbfounded by his last run. It wasn’t bad but we could not explain it.

“We were a bit worried about it so we sent him home, freshened him up and his subsequent work has been really good. We were confident of a good run today.”
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