A real crowd puller. The looks. The action. The ability. The owner. The trainer.Even the name. Gimmethegreenlight really has it all.
Stabled at Randjesfontein with Geoff Woodruff, the 2012 Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner confirmed his well-being and his readiness for Classic Day at the end of this month with a superb win tonight at Turffontein in a rather upmarket and competitive Conditions Plate run over 1400m.
Piere Strydom observed afterwards that Gimmethegreenlight had jumped uncharacteristically well here from his ten draw and was doings things easily a length behind the normally tearaway Gibraltar Blue. At the 400m the Snaith horse glided past the talented De Kock-trained mare and it was race over. Her stablemate Welwitschia was the only real challenger late after her slow start – but was receiving all of 5kgs from the Snaith superstar. Not a bad effort by the colt, as Welwitschia is a year older and rated 104.
Sadly the big handsome fellow has drawn 19 out of the 21 first stage nominations for the R2 million Gr1 SA Classic but based on his obvious well-being and the world-class skills of jockey Piere Strydom, it is unlikely that Adams and Snaith will be unduly perturbed or particularly worried. The slight niggle about his effectiveness over 1800m, would mean that he would likely have been dropped in and ridden quietly irrespective of where he was drawn for the big race anyway. The Cape form also looks decidedly stronger than the Gauteng mish mash at this stage, so we have the anomaly of Gavin Van Zyl and Mike De Kock looking over their shoulders in their own backyard.
Trainer Justin Snaith and owner Hassen Adams were understandably extremely complimentary of the entire Gauteng night racing experience at Turffontein. Snaith said a horse was only a champion when he had proven himself in the hustle and bustle of Highveld horseracing, while looking rather relieved that the big race prep had gone so well.
Adams went on to thank and congratulate the Racing Association for the ‘wonderful atmosphere’ and said it was his first experience of night racing up North, but judging on it he ‘would be doing more racing up here.’ He confirmed that there were big hopes for Gimmethegreenlight to go to the Breeders’ Cup – an all expenses paid invitation had already been tendered. He also mentioned that he had received interest from ‘all over the world’ in the colt, whom he saw as a future stallion prospect.
Very catchily named after John Legend’s popular song, the Australian –bred son of More Than Ready has now won six of his twelve starts and R1 350 000 in stakes. He is ideally suited to the kind balanced Strydom style of riding. Gold Circle will no doubt be hoping that his connections’ short-term plans include an assault on the riches of Champions Season in KwaZulu-Natal.
Strydom enjoyed a pleasantly rewarding evening at the office with his four winners – quipping that it was ‘nice to ride the plums again for a change.’ Two of his wins were on progeny of the brilliantly versatile Avontuur stallion Var – uniquely the one filly winning over 1000m and the other over 2450m.That is no mean feat for any stallion.