This morning I take my hat off to the Cape stables of Justin Snaith and Candice Bass-Robinson.
No, not because each won a feature race at Kenilworth last Saturday (with Bela-Bela and Horizon), but because they are prepared to divulge everything about their runners on the popular Tellytrack show, “Under Starters Orders.”
David Mollett writes that there can’t be an owner in either stable who knows more than viewers after Justin or Jonathan for the Snaiths or Candice for the Bass-Robinson yard have voiced their opinions.
Annually, Jonathan Snaith seems to be one of the leading players behind this particular meeting and what he said on Saturday’s show may well have cost bookies thousands of rand.
Jonathan earmarked two good bets, Lineker and Bela-Bela and also voiced the opinion that their filly, Red Light Girl, might upset the hot-pot favourite, She’s A Giver, in the final leg of the Pick 6.
Of this trio, only Lineker – not for the first time as I can vouch after followng him in Gauteng – failed to justify his confidence and this is one Aussie import who hasn’t built on a promising career start.
Of Bela-Bela, Jonathan said: “Absolute no doubt about her being a place banker and I think she’s a Pick 6 banker as well.”
Spot-on with “man-of-the-match” Anton Marcus producing the grey with her run on the outside rail to win back many fans and she her installed as the 6-1 fourth favourite for the Sun Met.
I followed Jonathan’s advice in the ninth and backed Red Light Girl and I confess to making an expletive when Anton suddenly appeared where it mattered on Supercilious.
I couldn’t understand why the TV pundits – including Justin Vermaak on “Under Starters Orders” – made She’s A Giver such a good thing considering the grey’s recent unplaced run over 1600m.
OK, she had a light weight, but along with Red Light Girl was a three year-old taking on her elders.
But where Jonathan really gave punters vital information was in the Gr2 Peninsula Handicap. “I’m expecting a big run from It’s My Turn and my advice to punters is to right away snap up the 30-1 that’s available for the Met – those odds won’t be available after today’s race.”
He got that right and full marks to Betting World who quickly put up a new Met market on their website quoting It’s My Turn at 12-1.
Although It’s My Turn was beaten by Whisky Baron (now a ridiculously short price of 3.75-1 for the Met), Jonathan said the four year-old would come on markedly in his second run after a rest. We’ll no doubt get more feedback from “Striker” in his Saturday column, but it will be a surprise if he’s not now favouring the Snaith horse rather than Durban July victor, The Conglomerate.
For her part, one of Candice’s early comments was that a certain horse “wasn’t ready to win” and she feared a wide draw might prove the big obstacle to Marinaresco upsetting Legal Eagle in the Queen’s Plate.
Young Grant van Niekerk chose to bring his mount from his outside berth to the inside rail thus forfeiting more ground, and it was clear as the field swung for home that the four year-old would need a Frankel-like finish to win the day.
Don’t write off Marinaesco for the Sun Met as the 2000m will be much more up his alley and – although some on social media are calling for a different jockey – I’m sure Candice will keep faith with young Van Niekerk.
While Tellytrack have unearthed a really knowledgable guy in former Gauteng trainer Dominic Zaki for “Under Starters Orders”, our interviews are simply so much less informative than those in the Cape.
Andrew Bon is as experienced an interviewer as we’ve got in this country, but even he must cringe with the number of times his questions are answered with “should be competitive” or “could be in the money if he doesn’t race green.”
Imagine how many cups of coffee would be spilled by viewers if they heard the following: “You know, Bonski, he’s got such a low weight I think he’s worth a really good punt.”
No sorry, the top Cape stables win hands down when it comes to information and Snaith racing is taking it’s transparency a step further with lots of information on Facebook. Justin’s recent comment: “It doesn’t matter if the horse proves you right or wrong – you can’t have punters kept in the dark.”
So – in conclusion – after Saturday’s results we’ve now got a race on our hands for the inaugural running of the Sun Met on 28 January.
It’s no longer a “two-horse” affair between Legal Eagle and Marinaresco with Whisky Baron, Bela-Bela and It’s My Turn throwing their hats in the ring.
Those punters with doubles onto Legal Eagle will feel they’re sitting pretty. After all, Anton Marcus, albeit more than 10 years older than Manchester United hero Wayne Rooney, keeps finding the net more often and – when it comes to what is the Cape’s premier race – Sean Tarry is sure to feel his charge can go one better this time.