Top 10 Horse Racing Trainers In South Africa

South Africa boasts a vibrant horse racing scene with a rich history dating back to 1795, producing an array of superb trainers and globally-renowned jockeys. The dedication, skill, and passion of these remarkable individuals not only shape the racetrack but also lay the groundwork for South African equestrian prowess on the international stage.

In this blog post, we reveal our Top 10 Horse Racing Trainers in South Africa who have transformed their talents into remarkable successes.

Key Takeaways

  • South Africa has a thriving horse racing industry with numerous accomplished trainers producing winning horses.
  • The top 10 horse racing trainers in South Africa include Justin Snaith, Sean Tarry, and Mike de Kock who have achieved significant wins both locally and internationally.
  • These trainers utilise unique training methods based on each individual horse’s temperament in order to produce consistent results while maintaining their health and wellbeing.
  • Despite challenges such as limited funding resources, unpredictable weather conditions, and decreasing interest in the sport, these talented trainers continue to make strides in transforming their talents into remarkable successes.

Top 10 Horse Racing Trainers In South Africa

Here are the top 10 horse racing trainers in South Africa: Mike de Kock, Justin Snaith, Sean Tarry, Candice Bass-Robinson, Glen Kotzen, Brett Crawford, Vaughan Marshall, Duncan Howells, Paul Peter and Joey Ramsden.

Mike De Kock

Mike de Kock is a household name in South African horse racing and has firmly established himself as one of the top trainers in the country. With over 3,000 career wins under his belt, de Kock’s phenomenal record speaks for itself.

De Kock’s success is not limited to South Africa; he has also made quite an impact on the international stage. Some of his most notable accomplishments include victories at prestigious events such as the Dubai World Cup Carnival and Singapore Airlines International Cup.

His keen eye for spotting talent has led him to work with some remarkable horses like Record Edge, Evening Mist, and Patchouli Dancer.

Justin Snaith

Justin Snaith is undoubtedly the top horse racing trainer in South Africa. With 874 runs under his belt, he has achieved an impressive 111 wins and a win rate of 12.70%. He has been training thoroughbred racehorses since 2005 and over time, his stable has grown to become one of the most successful in South Africa.

Snaith’s achievements on the track speak for themselves as he has won some of the biggest races on offer in South Africa such as the Gold Challenge and Gosforth Park Classic.

His approach to horsemanship is based on building strong relationships with each individual horse and ensuring that they are well looked after both physically and mentally.

Sean Tarry

Sean Tarry is one of the most accomplished horse racing trainers in South Africa. With over 530 runs and 87 wins, he has a win rate of 16.42%. One of his most successful horses was Legal Eagle, who won multiple Grade 1 races under his guidance.

Tarry is known for his attention to detail in training and preparation of horses, allowing them to perform at their best during races. He also has a reputation for being a hands-on trainer who takes the time to get to know each horse individually and tailor their training methods accordingly.

Candice Bass-Robinson

Candice Bass-Robinson is a South African horse racing trainer who has made her mark in the industry. With 506 runs, 63 wins, and a 12.45% win rate, she ranks third among the top horse racing trainers in South Africa.

Candice’s training philosophy focuses on understanding each horse’s temperament and adjusting their training accordingly. Her attention to detail has enabled her to produce remarkable results with horses such as Number Eleven, who won the Winter Derby and the Peninsula Handicap in 2019.

Glen Kotzen

Glen Kotzen is a respected and experienced horse racing trainer in South Africa. He has trained countless winning horses, including the likes of Record Edge, Evening Mist, and Patchouli Dancer.

With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Kotzen’s approach to horsemanship is focused on creating strong bonds with his horses through patience and kindness. He also utilises training techniques that cater to each individual horse’s needs.

Kotzen has achieved great success throughout his career and continues to be a top performer among his peers. In fact, he won four Grade One races in 2020 alone – an impressive feat for any trainer.

Brett Crawford

Brett Crawford is one of South Africa’s most successful horse racing trainers, having trained over 900 winners. He began his career in Cape Town and soon gained a reputation for producing top-class horses.

Crawford has had several major successes with his horses in South Africa’s biggest races, including the Gold Challenge and Gosforth Park Classic. His training style focuses on working closely with owners to develop each horse’s individual strengths while ensuring they are always well-cared for.

Vaughan Marshall

Vaughan Marshall is one of the most successful horse racing trainers in South Africa. He has been training horses for more than three decades and has achieved great success, winning numerous major races including the Cape Derby, Queen’s Plate, and L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.

He is known for his meticulous approach to horsemanship and his ability to train top-class racehorses.

One reason behind Vaughan Marshall’s success as a trainer is his keen eye for selecting promising young horses with high potential. Over the years he has produced many stars such as River Jetez, Yard-Arm, Jet Explorer and Captain America among others.

Despite facing various challenges like other trainers in South Africa such as unstable weather conditions or limited funding resources , Vaughn Marshal continues to excel in producing champions who have continued their victorious records throughout their careers.

Duncan Howells

Duncan Howells is a highly respected horse racing trainer in South Africa, with over two decades of experience in the industry. He has trained numerous top-performing horses, including African Warrior and Doosra.

Howells is known for his hands-on approach to training and his ability to get the best out of each horse he works with. One of his notable achievements was winning the 2013 Vodacom Durban July with Heavy Metal, ridden by jockey Anthony Delpech.

In addition to training thoroughbreds, Howells also specializes in breaking and pre-training young horses, setting them up for successful careers on the racetrack.

Paul Peter

Paul Peter is a well-respected horse racing trainer in South Africa. He has been training horses since 2012 and has already made a name for himself in the industry. In 2020, he won his first Grade 1 race with Summer Pudding, who went on to win three more consecutive Group races.

Peter’s approach to horsemanship includes close attention to detail and customizing each horse’s training program according to their specific needs. This approach seems quite effective as he continues to produce top-performing horses that regularly feature among the winners at major racing events across South Africa.

Joey Ramsden

Joey Ramsden is a renowned horse racing trainer in South Africa with impressive track records. He has trained multiple winning horses such as The Conglomerate, Elusive Gold and Silver Mountain, among others.

Ramsden’s training approach revolves around patience and persistence, which he believes are essential qualities for achieving success in the horse racing industry. His philosophy involves developing strong bonds between trainers and horses to ensure a cohesive team that works together towards attaining victories on the racecourse.

Notably, his dedication to this approach earned him the SA Champion Trainer title during the 2014-2015 season.

Their Training Styles And Achievements

Discover the unique training methods and impressive accomplishments of South Africa’s top 10 horse racing trainers, including Mike de Kock, Justin Snaith, Sean Tarry and more.

Number Of Wins And Major Races Won

South Africa boasts a thriving horse racing industry with numerous accomplished trainers making their mark on the sport. The top horse racing trainers have impressive records of wins and major races under their belts. Below is a table showcasing the number of wins and significant race victories accomplished by these esteemed trainers:

Trainer Number of Wins Major Races Won
Mike de Kock 3,000+ Vodacom Durban July, J&B Met, South African Derby
Justin Snaith 111 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, Vodacom Durban July, Sun Met
Sean Tarry 87 South African Derby, Durban July, Gauteng Guineas
Candice Bass-Robinson 63 Sun Met, Gold Challenge, Paddock Stakes
Glen Kotzen 50+ South African Fillies Classic, Gold Cup, Gold Vase
Brett Crawford 45+ Champions Cup, Cape Guineas, Green Point Stakes
Vaughan Marshall 40+ Cape Derby, Cape Guineas, Winter Guineas
Duncan Howells 30+ Golden Horseshoe, Garden Province Stakes
Paul Peter 25+ Gauteng Guineas, Summer Cup, South African Classic
Joey Ramsden 20+ Queen’s Plate, Cape Guineas, Cape Derby

These exceptional trainers have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on South African horse racing, helping shape the industry and producing unforgettable moments on the racecourse.

Training Methods And Approach To Horsemanship

South Africa’s top horse racing trainers have distinct training methods and approaches to horsemanship that set them apart from each other. For example, Mike de Kock incorporates a lot of swimming and hill work into his training programs, while Sean Tarry focuses on finding the right jockey for each horse.

Glen Kotzen takes a unique approach by using natural horsemanship techniques to build trust between him and his horses. Brett Crawford is known for his attention to detail when it comes to nutrition and fitness regimes, which he tailors specifically to each individual horse.

Duncan Howells employs desensitisation techniques such as introducing horses to loud sounds like gunfire, fireworks or drums early on in their careers so they can cope with stress better later on.

Overall these South African trainers bring creative strategies designed towards giving their horses an edge in competitions, whether it’s through immersion therapies like swimming or inducing positive psychological states via mental rehearsals – all aimed at gaining an advantage over competitors come race day!

Insights Into Their Training Philosophy

One of the key aspects that sets these top horse racing trainers apart is their unique training philosophy. Mike de Kock, for instance, believes in a holistic approach to horsemanship and spends a great deal of time getting to know each individual horse’s temperament and personality.

Justin Snaith, on the other hand, emphasises the importance of building strong relationships with both his horses and jockeys so they can work together as a cohesive team.

In addition to this, many of these trainers use cutting-edge technology and scientific research to inform their training methods. For example, Sean Tarry uses heart rate monitors to track his horses’ fitness levels during training sessions and Candice Bass-Robinson partners with equine physiotherapists to ensure her horses remain in peak condition.

Ultimately what sets these trainers apart from others in the industry is not just their innate talent but also their unwavering commitment to bringing out the best in each horse under their care.

Challenges Faced By Trainers In South Africa

Trainers in South Africa face a number of challenges including limited funding and resources, unpredictable weather conditions, and decreasing interest in horse racing. However, despite these obstacles, the trainers on this list have demonstrated their ability to consistently produce winning horses and excel in their craft.

Limited Funding And Resources

The horse racing industry in South Africa faces a common challenge of limited funding and resources. The high costs involved in horse racing make it difficult for trainers to operate effectively.

Trainers often struggle with the lack of proper equipment, training facilities, and veterinary care required to keep horses healthy and fit. Despite these challenges, many trainers have found ways to overcome these obstacles through innovation and creativity.

For example, some trainers have resorted to crowdfunding and sponsorships as means of securing funds for their stables. Others have formed cooperative partnerships with other trainers or racehorse owners to share resources such as feed and healthcare services.

Unpredictable Weather Conditions

The weather is one of the factors that can greatly affect horse racing in South Africa. The country’s climate is generally warm, but it varies across different regions. During summer, temperatures can get extremely hot, while winter can bring cold and wet conditions.

In addition to this, thunderstorms are common during the summer months which could lead to race cancellations or delays. Trainers must take measures to ensure their horses are prepared for extreme weather conditions by adjusting their training schedules, monitoring hydration levels, and making sure they have adequate shelter from rain or sun exposure.

Decreasing Interest In Horse Racing

In recent years, the horse racing industry in South Africa has been facing a significant challenge – decreasing interest from the public. While there are still avid fans of this thrilling sport, many younger generations seem to prefer other forms of entertainment.

However, others argue that preserving the traditional aspects of horse racing is key to its survival. They point out that the beauty and grace of these majestic animals cannot be replicated by any other sport or activity.

Future Of Horse Racing In South Africa

The future of horse racing in South Africa is full of potential for growth and development, with opportunities to promote the sport, innovate and advance within the industry.

Potential For Growth And Development

The horse racing industry in South Africa has the potential for growth and development, despite facing challenges such as limited funding and resources. The country boasts some of the best trainers, jockeys, and racehorses in the world and with continued investment into the sport there is an opportunity to attract new fans.

Innovations such as live streaming races on social media platforms have already been implemented with success, which could lead to increased exposure worldwide. Moreover, promoting horse racing as a family-friendly experience through events like pony rides for children or hosting food festivals at racetracks can entice a broader audience base beyond traditional fans.

Importance Of Promoting The Sport

Promoting horse racing as a sport is crucial to its growth and development in South Africa. Increased publicity can help raise awareness and attract more fans and sponsors.

One promising trend is equestrian social media influencers who use their platforms to showcase their love for all things related to horses. By sharing exciting moments from races or behind-the-scenes footage from stables, they’re helping spread awareness about horse racing outside traditional channels.

As fans continue to tune in online or attend events in person, it becomes clear why promoting this sport is so important not only for its future but also for preserving its storied past.

Innovations And Advancements In The Industry

The horse racing industry in South Africa has undergone several innovations and advancements that have helped to keep it vibrant and competitive. One of the most notable developments is the use of technology, which has revolutionised horse training, breeding, and racing.

Trainers now have access to high-tech gadgets such as heart rate monitors, GPS tracking devices, smart scales, and thermal imaging cameras that provide valuable insights into a horse’s physical condition.

Another innovation that has transformed the industry is online betting platforms. Fans can now place bets on their favourite horses from anywhere in the world using their computer or mobile device.

This has made it easier for people to follow races and participate in events without having to be physically present at tracks around the country.

Other important innovations include improvements in veterinary medicine research & practices which help improve health care for horses; marketing strategies aimed at promoting South African racing globally; modern facilities designed with spectator experience being prioritised among other amenities; artificial turf racetracks created specifically for all-weather conditions resulting in increased race schedules making racing more accessible throughout summer months


In conclusion, South Africa has some of the top horse racing trainers in the world. From Mike de Kock to Joey Ramsden, these trainers have established themselves as leaders in their field through hard work and determination.

Their training styles vary but all strive for excellence when it comes to producing winning horses. Despite challenges such as limited funding and decreasing interest in the sport, there is potential for growth and development in the industry.

By promoting the sport and embracing technological advancements, we can help keep horse racing alive for generations to come.


Who is the highest paid jockey in South Africa?

According to an article from SAFACTS titled “Jockey Salary In South Africa – 2023/2024”, the median salary for jockeys in South Africa is around 12,900 ZAR and only 25% of jockeys earn less than this amount. The article does not mention who the highest-paid jockey in South Africa is. It’s worth noting that jockeys’ salaries can vary based on several factors such as their experience, reputation, and performance.

Who is the best jockey in South Africa?

There are many talented jockeys in South Africa, and it is difficult to determine who the best jockey is as it can be subjective. However, some of the top jockeys in South Africa based on their performance and achievements include Anton Marcus, Gavin Lerena, Lyle Hewitson, and Warren Kennedy. Anton Marcus has won the South African Jockey Championship title multiple times and is widely regarded as one of the best jockeys in the country. Gavin Lerena has also won the championship title and has achieved success in major races such as the Durban July and the Summer Cup. Lyle Hewitson has been named South Africa’s Champion Jockey twice and has won major races such as the Vodacom Durban July and the SA Derby. Warren Kennedy has also been named Champion Jockey and has won major races such as the Durban July and the Summer Cup.

Where can I find South African horse racing archives?

One source where you can find South African horse racing archives is the Thoroughbred Daily News website. They have a section dedicated to South African horse racing news, results, and videos. You can visit their website at to access their archives.

Another source is the Sporting Post website, which also has a section dedicated to South African horse racing news and results. You can visit their website at to access their archives.

Additionally, the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa (NHA) website may also have archives and information on South African horse racing. Their website is

Where can I find a SA Jockey Log 2023?

You can find the South African Jockey Log for 2023 on the Gold Circle Horse Racing and Betting website. The log is updated daily and provides information on the top-performing jockeys in South Africa. You can visit their website at to access the Jockey Log.

Additionally, the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa (NHA) website may also have information on the Jockey Log. Their website is

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