Such is the reputation of trainer Justin Snaith when it comes to the big race days – particularly in the Cape – that punters tend to look for his name and not look much further for the winner. In fact, in 2016, the stable churned out a world record eight winners on the Met card.
However, it has only been once, in 2018 with the lightly-weighted filly Oh Susanna, that Snaith has won the jewel in the Cape racing crown, the Cape Town Met. This year, Saturday to be exact, he again holds a strong hand and has three strong chances in the Met, to be run over 2000m at 5.10pm.
“He’s absolutely flying in his work. Jockey Richard Fourie is ridiculously confident, saying it’s a good thing he’s drawn wide or he’d win by a lot further and embarrass the others,” he said this week of the favourite, Belgarion. Of his other runners, he said: “Do It Again is in a really good place. I’ll be very surprised if he is out of the first four and African Night Sky is the dark horse. We quietly fancy him.”
Snaith is South Africa’s champion trainer and has always been a confident and competitive person – ideal qualities to have in the cut-throat world of racing. He again arrives on Met day with an imposing arsenal of big guns, from race one to race 12.
He has 27 different horses carded for the race meeting and jokes that, “If I don’t win five, I’m out of a job! My father and brother say it’s five, minimum, or the licence is changing hands!”
Running through the card and he has seven favourites – in the first, fourth, fifth, eighth, ninth, tenth and twelfth races – which means that his “target” of five winners is well within reach.
Many punters will be out to find horses to beat the favourites though, and in the main event, the Cape Town Met, Rainbow Bridge will have a lot of supporters. On previous runs there’s very little to separate Rainbow Bridge, Belgarion, Do It Again and Golden Ducat over this course and distance and these look the obvious four from the males in the race, with the two females, Queen Supreme and Princess Calla also having their supporters.
The latter is attempting to “do a Oh Susanna” and win as a three-year-old filly carrying 51.5kg. She’s an interesting runner and has to be respected off that low weight, but she’s coming up against some big, older, tested males who collectively might have a bit too much fight for her.
Speaking of trainers, Mike de Kock is one of South Africa’s best-ever and he has Queen Supreme in the race. My concerns for her are the distance, maybe a few metres too far, and the fact she has done quite a bit of travelling from Gauteng to the Cape for her to run in ony two races in the Cape.
Race by race summaries are below:
Race 1: Danilo Danilovitch is odds-on and Snaith fancies his chances. Callmemrgreenlight was backed to 1-1 favourite on debut but disappointed. Will surely improve on that run though.
Race 2: Starboard is the favourite, but the Candice Bass-Robinson stable really fancy Swazi Queen. Zeta Jones has been the money horse in the build-up.
Race 3: Very open. Superior Leader has been backed to favourite and the draws aren’t great for fancied runners Greenlightflash, Grand Escape and Wolf Man. That should allow Churchaven to get an untroubled handy spot early on.
Race 4: Pace will be on. Strong front-runners in Snow Report and Captain Of Stealth, while Hurricane Harry will be handy. Look to Fabian and Pinkerton to run on late. An open race.
Race 5: Be careful of 2yo races. Bass-Robinson likes her two colts, African Rain and Barzalona, but as winners they carry 60kg. Weight is important here. High Hosanna has 57.5kg and Kwinta’s Light 54.5kg. Vaughan Marshall has a first-timer in Ambiorix, don’t ignore him.
Race 6: If Kommetdieding was with a “bigger” trainer he’d be odds-on. He’s looked a champion in winning his first three races but there’s plenty of confidence about Rascallion. Legitimate can find a place.
Race 7: Again, highly competitive. The brilliant mare Celtic Sea is the Gauteng raider but loves the Cape and is favourite. Erik The Red might be the best of the Snaith trio while Run Fox Run and Rio Querari are upset material.
Race 8: Snaith’s 3yo Captain’s Ransom takes on the Bass-Robinson star Clouds Unfold. This looks a match race and both stables are oozing confidence. Sing Out Loud might be the pick of Brett Crawford’s trio.
Race 9: The Met! Belgarion is all the rage but Rainbow Bridge never runs a bad race. This could be the exacta, with Queen’s Supreme and Golden Ducat to complete the quartet and Do It Again next best.
Race 10: The longest race of the day (2800m) and often there’s an upset. But Snaith’s Silver Host is being spoken about as the best bet on the card and must be respected. Chrome Yellow has a big chance while Super Silvano should make his presence felt.
Race 11: Social Butterfly is favourite but carries 62kg. The top four in the racecard could fill out the first four placings.
Race 12: Money again for the Snaith runner, Tarantino. Finished 1 length behind Real Gone Kid over the course and distance last time and is 1.5kg better off here. Little to choose between the two, but preference is for the latter. Naval Secret can run into the money.