Justin Snaith may have unwittingly thrown punters a curved ball on Tellytrack recently. He suggested in a routine interview that Port Elizabeth is the perfect base for the less capable sorts in his yard to earn their way. This may well have made backers a trifle nervous of taking the prices about his fancied runners at Fairview on 13 February.
But the young Capetonian and his regular rider Felix Coetzee made a meal of the card with a terrific hat-trick of winners that could so easily have been a big four had the promising Terminator not being scratched late from the first.
Snaith has mastered the art of optimizing returns from average horses for his owners, and he will be the first to admit that a measure of cherry picking goes a long way to harmonizing the client service ethic that the Snaiths rely so heavily on. Happy clients are readily more patient people and the winning stake credit on those monthly bills go a long way to creating future buyers and supporters. A winning recipe by all accounts. Why do some guys make it look so difficult?
And two of Justin’s three winners today hardly look entirely average sorts! The Snaith – Coetzee express rolled out of the station in the second race when the well backed Coniston Gold led most of the way in the Juvenile Plate over 1100m. One of only four winners in the field of twelve, she had run an eyecatching second to her talented stablemate The Black Rose on L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate day.
The Riverworld Stud bred daughter of Bluebird stallion Lake Coniston has importantly grossed close to R90 000 in her three run career. And she looks set to earn her way for the partnership that owns her – and which includes the timeless legend of colourful Cape owners in Eddie Powell.
The winning combination followed up in the very next race, a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares over 1000m when Coetzee adopted much the same tactics on the fancied Emerald Gem. The daughter of Captain Al was always in command and ran a cracker seen that she was returning from a close to four month break. She beat the pacy and oft backed Molly R who may enjoy the easier climes of the Eastern Cape and should not be long in winning.
The Beaumont Stud bred Emerald Gem runs in the interests of former Gold Circle Chairman Ken Truter and Justin’s Dad. Chris. She is out of the Elliodor mare Rhinestone, who raced for Mike Bass and finished her career a four time winner – running a gallant third to the brilliant Ipi Tombe in the 2002 SA Fillies Guineas when beating her more favoured stablemate Sport’s Chestnut.
The third Snaith winner closed the day in the MR 72 Handicap over 1200m. In a large field filled with pace Verbatim led early but Felix Coetzee always had Dumani in touch and she went on to win unextended from a flying Windy Whistle and the very fit Hightower.
Leading owner Sabine Plattner, who also bred the winner, has her own private trainer and training establishment out at Rondeberg on the Cape West Coast, but she supports a few outside trainers – including Justin Snaith and Dennis Drier. And her very well bred Dumani was recording her second win from ten starts. Dumani’s dam will be well known to many racegoers over the age of thirty – Joie De Grise is a name few of us who raced in the nineties will forget.
The dual (1998/9) Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint winner won a total of ten races and while she is yet to produce anything a quarter as brilliant as herself, the daughter of Kenmare was a top racehorse who won from 1000m to 1400m. Her dam Denise’s Joy’s hails from one of Australia’s premier families. Dumani should make a fantastic broodmare.
The rest of the day was largely unremarkable with Val De Ra’s less illustrious full brother Torch Singer winning the final leg of the jackpot, a lowly rated handicap over 1200m at any price for Gavin Smith and Aldo Domeyer.
We also saw another down-to-earth performance from the Pepper – Venter duo in front of the Tellytrack cameras. The pleasantly Righteous Brothers, unlike some of the self righteous sorts we are used to, are growing with confidence with each meeting and Venter’s best bet of the day won at 9-1. He tipped the Yvette Bremner gelding First To Go to win the sixth race. And the fact that he rode the Snaith horses in work earlier last week didn’t hurt either as he stuck us into them too. Thanks Stick Man!
What the hell did he do, you are probably asking? Well we can all read – but few of us can ride – and that’s real information!