Cape Town - Dean
Kannemeyer comes from a dynasty of horsemen. His father, Peter, was one of the
leading trainers in the Western Cape for many years, until Dean took over the
stable in 1999.
had some top horses who have performed with aplomb on racetracks all over South
Africa. He has won almost every major race in country including three Vodacom
Durban Julys - Dynasty in 2002, Eyeofthetiger in 2006 and Power King in 2015 -
and numerous Classics.
But it is the Sun Met that is the showpiece of
horseracing in the Western Cape and the race every trainer, owner and jockey yearns
father won the race three times but for Dean, it is the one race that has
am hungry to win the Sun Met,” admitted 57-year-old Dean.
not that he hasn’t had capable horses. Dynasty is one of the best horses this
country has produced and is now the most valuable locally bred sires standing
in the country.
Dynasty never got to run in the Sun Met.
“He won the Cape Derby as a
three-year-old and then I took him to Durban where won the Durban July. He came
back to the Cape and easily won the Green Point Stakes and was due to run in
the Queen’s Plate and then the Sun Met before possibly going to race in Hong
he went wrong in the Queen’s Plate and the connections felt he would be more
valuable at stud,” explained Dean.
My Heart was a very good horse but after he won the Queen’s Plate Dean decided
to miss the Sun Met that year and take him to Johannesburg and Durban where he
won The Horse Chestnut Stakes, the Gold Challenge and the Champion Stakes. In
2003, carrying top weight, Free My Heart finished second in the Sun Met behind
lightly weighted Angus.
has had other top horses like Rabiya, Noordhoek Flyer and Capetown Noir who
have not been able to win him a Sun Met.
also trained Past Master as a three-year-old, who was moved from him during its
three-year-old career and then won the Sun Met with another trainer.
has not been on his side but Dean is hoping everything will change this year
when he saddles Last Winter to win the R5 million race over 2 000m at Kenilworth
racecourse on Saturday, January 27.
four-year-old son of Western Winter cost R3.7 million as a yearling, is owned
by Lady Laidlaw’s Khaya Stables, and has only raced five times. He won his first
four races and was beaten a short head in his last start.
Winter has taken a very different programme to some of the top horses my father
and I have trained. In Lady Laidlaw we have a very patient owner, thank God, because
we had a setback with him as a three-year-old,” said Dean.
he won first time out he was very backward, very immature. If the owner had
rushed me at that stage, he would never have trained on. He won as a
two-year-old at Greyville in Durban but because of his immaturity I put him
“I then brought him back to Cape Town to run in the Guineas but he kicked
the wall and had to stand in his box for 12 weeks in order to recover. He missed
the entire Cape summer as a three-year-old.”
took him back to Durban and brought him out at Scottsville as a late three-year
old. He won well again at Scottsville but that was at the end of the KZN winter
season so Dean put him away again.
“I brought him back to run again at
Durbanville and he won very well. I’ve gone softly with him, never pushed him.”
Dean then decided to run Last Winter in the Grade 2 Premiers Trophy over 1 800m.
He was well supported to go off 12/10 favourite, but the conditions were very
tough and his inexperience told. There was a strong head wind and although he flew
up late, Last Winter failed by a short head to catch front-running Milton.
was very unlucky,” said Dean.
“He really took off the last furlong, but at
least it showed me he had no problem going 1 800m.
I went easy with him and decided to pull him out of the Queen’s Plate. I didn’t
want him to have such a hard race against some tough rivals in that race.
Sun Met will be his real test but it’s only now he’s starting to look like a
man, rather than a baby. I just wish we had the old rules where he would have
come into this race carrying 53kg. They’ve now turned the tables by making it a
weight-for-age race which means he will be meeting most of his rivals at level
not ideal but if you asked yourself which horse in the Sun Met has the most
room for major improvement, it has to be Last Winter.”
had a minor setback when regular jockey Anthony Delpech had to pull out because
of commitments to his sponsors, Mauritzfontein and Wilgerbosdrift Stud.
was with him all the way but he is under contract to ride for Mary and Jessica
Slack. But I was lucky to get hold of Piere Strydom and I feel very fortunate
to find a top jockey. Piere’s been around a long time and has ridden more Group
1 winners than most.”
draw will be decided on January 17 and that is another very important factor.
hope the draw is kind to us because from a trainer’s point of view there’s a
lot involved. As we go along and get closer to the race everybody starts to get
the type of trainer who gets on with the job. The only time I do get tense is when
the horses go down to the start. Mind you, I get tense with a horse running in
a Maiden Plate. It’s because at that point I no longer have any control over
jockeys are good sportsmen, they take it in their stride. Once you give a jockey
the leg up in the parade ring he’s now the captain - he’s the man flying the
also points out that training a horse for a race like the Sun Met is not about
one man. “I have a whole team at the stables and they all have their jobs to do
for us to be successful.
Liley is my assistant trainer. People never see him but he plays a major role.
race is easy but hopefully when the big day comes, everybody will see how good
Last Winter is.”