Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Three new racing industry champions were crowned on Tuesday at the end of the 2017-18 season.

Youthful Justin Snaith is the new Champion Trainer of SA. Snaith reclaimed the title he lost to Sean Tarry in 2014. His runners won 162 races and earned gross stakes of R26.7m. Tarry finished second and Mike de Kock took third place.

Lyle Hewitson claimed the title of Champion Jockey from last season’s star, Anthony Delpech. The mercurial 20-year-old booted home 184 winners and became the first apprentice to land the coveted championship since Gerald Turner did it in 1968.

Muzi Yeni (149 winners) held Aldo Domeyer (137) out of third. Hewitson, Yeni and Domeyer will represent SA at the International Jockeys’ Challenge in Singapore on September 25.

Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud is the country’s new champion owner, replacing Markus Jooste’s Mayfair Speculators. Stalwart owner Chris van Niekerk took third place.

Klawervlei Stud retained the Breeders’ Championship. Graduates from the Robertson farm won 142 races and earned R21.2m in prize money. The runner-up, Summerhill Stud, was only R1m adrift.

Maine Chance Farms retained the Champion Sire’s title courtesy of their resident stallion, Silvano, whose progeny returned just short of R20m.

The new season gets under way in Gauteng on Thursday with a meeting at the Vaal, where veteran jockey Piere Strydom should open his seasonal account aboard Tarry’s sprinter Torre Del Ore in the second race and Mark Khan rides the day’s value bet Silver Coin in the fifth race.