St John Gray of Graystone Stud, based in KZN, has made a miraculous achievement of 1000 wins this afternoon at the Vaal with his now 11-time winner Dawn Assault.
Appropriately, Gavin Lerena, who has ridden several of St John’s top horses to Gr1 success including the likes of 5-time Gr1 winner Dancewiththedevil, was in the irons at the finish line in the familiar green and white ringed colours.
St John maintains his breeding operation at Cathy and Jonathan Martin’s Hadlow Stud – and has enjoyed enormous success at the top level with what would be considered non commercial pedigrees, and his favourite being his chestnut stallion with whom he has had great success, Announce, who shares a damline with Danehill.
Amongst his current broodmare band are the likes of his star racemare Dancewiththedevil who was exported to England and destined for Ascot, but had to return after an injury to her pelvis.
St John also won the Gr1 SA Classic with Jam Alley, an Australian horse he bred by Pientre Celebre and who stood at Hadlow before his retirement. He also has the star chestnut mare Engagement, who during her time with St John defeated Gr1 stars Igugu and The Apache.
The wheel turns, and The Apache now stands at Hadlow Stud alongside her. St John also stands Bezrin at Hadlow.
St John took home the KZN Breeders Achievement Award, for his outstanding season which saw Dawn Assault and Ronnie’s Candy stamping themselves repeatedly among the nominees, and Dawn Assault taking home Champion Middle Distance Male and Champion Older Male.
Ronnie’s Candy added the recent Gr2 Ipi Tombe Challenge to her already impressive record this past November.
Graystone Stud for this season has 33.3% winners to runners, and AEPR of over R60 000.
This was the 11th win for Dawn Assault, his sire Call To Combat also bred and raced by St John. Dawn Assault has earned over R1,-6-million in stakes. St John has earned a lifetime stakes of over R79-million, and R5,182,725 alone last season.
Gavin Lerena in the post race interview today praised St John’s achievement, saying “He has supported me so much, he is a great trainer and a horseman, so well done to him and his team!”
St John commented in his interview whilst cracking open a bottle of Moet & Chandon, “it feels fantastic as you can imagine, its fantastic too for Gavin as he has ridden some of my top horses and Dancewiththedevil in particular. Im feeling quite emotional about this and fantastic that I could do this with Gavin.”
Congratulations to Graystone Stud.