It is, quite simply, a remarkable sporting achievement. Trainer Sean Tarry has ended the 2016-17 season with his runners earning R36m in stake money.
When Tarry finished the 2014-15 campaign with a total of R25.9m, pundits predicted it was a figure which might not be bettered for years.
Just 12 months later, Tarry made a mockery of that forecast with his 2015-16 total reaching R500 shy of R28m. In that season, 48-year-old Tarry saddled 209 winners, but improved on that by six winners last term. It is 40 winners more than his nearest rival, Justin Snaith.
Predictably, Snaith was again second on the log with his 175 winners earning more than R21m, but the success story of the campaign is another Cape trainer’s, Brett Crawford. In the 2015-16 season, he finished 12th on the national log. Now he shot up to third place with his runners earning more than R19.3m.
His star performers included Sun Met winner Whisky Baron, Captain America and Sail South.
In the top owners department, Markus Jooste’s Mayfair Speculators continues to rule the roost — to finish R23m ahead of his nearest rival — which proves that the Steinhoff boss is the backbone of the sport.
His closest rival in the owners log was his longtime friend Chris van Niekerk. His horses earned R7.7m last term, yet it is surprising that — as Tarry’s chief patron — his total of 65 successes represents less than 30% of Tarry’s winners.
With Gavin Lerena opting for a stint in the UK, the jockeys title was handed on a plate to Anthony Delpech. This was a third championship for Seychelles-born Delpech and he rarely left a meeting without a visit to the No1 box.
His total of 195 winners put him 43 ahead of Greg Cheyne and 45 ahead of Lerena.
The racing spotlight falls on Kimberley on Saturday when three feature races will be run including the R200,000 Racing Association Flamingo Mile.
After two recent successes at the track, Fort Eagle, co-owned by this writer, had looked to be a Pick 6 banker in the ninth race, but sadly he broke down in training this week and might not race again.
The trainer to follow could be Kom Naidoo, who sends a strong team from KwaZulu-Natal although representatives from other provinces are making the trip to Kimberley. They include Clinton Binda, Steve Moffatt and Stanley Ferreira from Gauteng as well as Jacques Strydom from Port Elizabeth.