Some horses are so special they are worth buying twice. Just ask Sue Snaith, who went to great lengths to secure a flashy little chestnut horse on the 2008 National sales and then a few years later, bought him a second time!
The Snaith Racing team is a formidable force because they pool their talents and split the mammoth task that is running one of the top stables in the country. Mom Sue Snaith, who is an accomplished equestrienne in her own right, is one of their secret weapons as she has an eye for a horse par excellence, picking out, amongst others, Gimmethegreenlight as he jumped off a Queensland float as a weanling. The handler had no idea who the colt was and as he’d been supplemented onto the sale, it took quite a bit of sleuthing to track down his details, but track them down she did and, well the rest is history. But back to my story.
A horse (and a hat!)
Sue was pounding the beat of the 2008 National Yearling Sales when she spotted a chestnut colt on the Barton Hall draft. The horse was Royal Bounty, a son of Muhtafal out of the Sunny North mare, Queens Close. “I thought he was fantastic, but just then I saw Carol Woodruff heading towards him. Carol has a very keen eye and I knew he would catch her attention for sure, so I had to make a plan to head her off. I rushed up to intercept her and launched into a conversation about the hat she was wearing. Eventually she took it off and said ‘have the bloody thing!’ But it worked and she didn’t spot the horse. Years later I told Carol the story and said ‘we’ve still got the horse and I’ve still got your hat!’
Royal Bounty was led through the sales ring as lot 148 on the 2008 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale and knocked down to Hassen Adams for R275k. Sue says, “I must say Hassen is amazing. if I ask him for a horse, particularly if it’s sneaky purchase from a small stud, he always comes to the party.” Royal Bounty repaid Sue’s faith in him, winning two on the trot as a juvenile before narrowly missing out on Listed Summer Juvenile Stakes glory on Met day 2009, going down less then a length to Villandry. With his easy disposition and distinctive blaze, Royal Bounty is particularly good-looking. So much so, that he is the Snaith poster boy and a photo of him on the beach still graces their Facebook page.
He proved a soldier for the Snaith string, notching 6 wins and 7 places from 22 career starts, including a 1.6 length 4th to What A Winter in the 2011 Cape Flying Championship. Sue says, “He had this fantastic action, but unfortunately he had breathing problems, which probably prevented him from fulfilling his potential, but right from the word go, he had the most incredible temperament and we all just loved him.”
When he retired, Hassen gifted the horse to the Snaiths as a polo pony for Justin, and in his usual placid, workmanlike way, Royal Bounty went on to be a high goal polo pony. Justin played him for a few years and eventually sold him to a fellow player. However, it wasn’t long before Sue decided she missed him too much and bought him back.
“I had to pay the full price. Can you imagine!” she laughs. “I’ve never paid for a horse in my life! But sometimes you get these special horses that just worm their way into your heart. Run For It is one, so is Jet Explorer. And Gimmethegreenlight and Royal Bounty have always been two of my favourites, so I just had to have him back.”
“I kept Royal Bounty at Arc-en-Ciel and didn’t tell the boys for months because I thought they’d be cross with me, but now they’re pleased to have him back. He’s absolutely wonderful as a lead horse and Malan uses him at the pens to teach the young horses. He is worth his weight in gold, he really is.”
Royal Bounty is doing sterling duty both at home as well as at the track and will be on duty on Queen’s Plate day as well as at the Met to help any tricky horses down to the start. The Snaiths always turn him out to the nth degree and he’ll be dressed up in blue and white and beautifully ridden as always by Elliot Kondile. So if you see them on course over the weekend, feel free to give them a wave – horses as special as this don’t (often!) come around twice.