Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP
Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP

The jockey drain from SA continues unabated. Just a fortnight after Luke Ferraris left for Hong Kong, 24-year-old Callan Murray has decided to pull up stumps and continue his career in Australia.

In addition, there was a suggestion on social media on Sunday that champion jockey elect Lyle Hewitson is also considering a move to the same country. This could not be confirmed.  

The exodus is not confined to jockeys. Trainers Gary and Dean Alexander, who have trained at Turffontein for four decades, left for Australia at the beginning of May. They are setting up a stable at Murray Bridge racecourse in the south of the country.

After completing his quarantine period, Gary Alexander said: “Racing in Australia in general is so strong and buoyant. There’s a great team doing a lot for racing in South Australia to help it grow and that’s fantastic. The government is also very supportive.”

Murray’s decision came just three months after he was confirmed as the new stable jockey for the powerful Cape yard of Brett Crawford.

At the time, the young man with nine grade 1 wins to his credit and champion apprentice for the 2015-2016 season said it is “a terrific professional opportunity with a top yard”.

“Johannesburg was quiet. I wasn’t getting the rides and when an offer from a top trainer presented itself, I would have been foolish to decline,” added the youngster who rode three grade 1 winners on Champions Day 2017.

Perhaps Murray’s decision to move Down Under is not a big surprise as, after short stints in Singapore and Hong Kong, he got an opportunity in Australia in 2019 where he rode four winners from 26 mounts.

Tardy start

The word from Kenilworth on Saturday is that the number one job with Brett Crawford will now go to Louis Mxothwa. The Cape-based rider is in the form of his life and bagged a treble on Saturday.

One of his three Kenilworth wins came on Mike Stewart’s filly, Pretty Betty, who led from start to finish to capture the grade 3 Final Fling Stakes. Justin Snaith’s runner, Rain In Newmarket, was sent off favourite but spoiled her chance with a tardy start.

There is no doubt about the most impressive winner of the weekend — Aidan O’Brien’s filly Snowfall, who will head for the Yorkshire Oaks at York on August 19 after routing her rivals in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Snowfall’s winning distance in the Epsom Oaks was 16 lengths and this time it was eight-and-a-half lengths, the widest-margin winner of the race since 1905.

“She’s an unbelievable filly with an unbelievable pedigree,” said O’Brien after Snowfall became the first Japanese-bred thoroughbred to win an Irish classic. The filly is by Deep Impact out of the Galileo mare Best In The World.

Asked whether the filly will head for the Arc De Triomphe in October, which is also the possible target of stablemate Love, O’Brien said: “The plan is for Love to go for the King George next and I would imagine the lads would make the Arc decision late. Bookmaker Paddy Power reacted to the result by making Snowfall the 4-1 favourite for the Arc with Love on offer at 11-2.”

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