The younger generation dominated the running of the prestigious R1 million Cartier Gr1 Paddock Stakes at Kenilworth on Saturday with Justin Snaith and Grant van Niekerk producing the magic for Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud.
The only trio of 3yo fillies in an illustrious line-up dominated the finish, with a dream plan come together for the feature-hungry Snaiths and their esteemed clients.
While Mike de Kock’s magnificent chestnut mare Nother Russia grabbed punter’s attention at the top of the betting boards, Justin Snaith was bullish about his trio – and it was his Street Cry daughter Oh Susanna who showed her promising ability with an eyecatching win.
“She has had no luck from the draws – go watch the replays of her last two starts and see for yourself,” said a typically upbeat Justin Snaith in the preliminaries. And the former SA Champion trainer’s assessment proved spot on.
Grant Van Niekerk had the Cape Fillies Guineas bridesmaid in a more prominent position than usual and the pair tracked Goodtime Gal and Star Express into the home straight.
Van Niekerk, who is riding with vastly improved confidence after a mostly forgettable year of ups and downs in 2017, was quick to send his mount into the lead at the 350m.
The move proved decisive and grabbed important ground on his rivals – and it was left to Dennis Drier’s Gr1 winner Lady In Black to chase them home, just 1,50 lengths in arrears.
The winner clocked 111,46 secs for the 1800m.
Piere Strydom produced Joey Ramsden’s Fresnaye with a flying late effort to nudge the fancied Gauteng challenger Nother Russia out of the Place Accumulator. The top three confirmed the Cape Guineas form as they had shared the classic quartet in December with the brilliant Snowdance – and the 3yo fairer sex crop may be better than thought at first!
“I thought I may have sent her a bit early. I let her use her action today. She quickened and I was just a passenger. She is close to my heart. I ride her every day – we are both a bit crazy. My day is now made and thanks again to the Snaith Racing Team,” said an elated Grant van Niekerk.
Justin Snaith reaffirmed the fact that his star had a good draw ‘for a change’.
“She overraced so it was a win full of merit. What a fantastic pedigree – and now what a valuable filly. Grant has a quirk but horses run for him. He is a great young rider and thanks again to Gaynor Rupert and her team for the support and the wonderful two days of racing,” added Snaith.
Owner and breeder, Drakenstein Stud’s Gaynor Rupert got ‘stuck on the side of the highway’ on her way to races and said that she knew that was ‘the last of my bad luck for the day’.
Van Niekerk has become a Drakenstein favourite and the young rider heard words that any jockey would pay money for: “I told Grant I may adopt him. He is such a wonderful jockey,” said the top owner.
Oh Susanna has won 2 races with 3 places from 7 starts and stakes of R923 375.
She was bred by Drakenstein and is by Street Cry out of the valuable USA six-time winner Sharp Susan (Touch Gold), who was purchased for A$1 million in foal to Street Cry in 2012. She is in foal to Galileo and will foal down in late February.
The winner’s sire, Darley stallion Street Cry (IRE), whose progeny included Zenyatta and classic winner Street Sense, was euthanized in 2014 after succumbing to complications relating to a neurological condition. The son of Machiavellian was bred by Sheikh Mohammed in Ireland and excelled at the very highest level on the racecourse, winning the Gr1 Dubai World Cup and at Gr1 level in the USA .He stood at Darley Jonabell near Lexington and shuttled to Australia. He has sired over 20 Gr1 winners worldwide.
Oh Susanna looks a filly to watch.
Gr1 Paddock Stakes (SAf-Gr1)
Kenilworth, South Africa, January 6, R1 million, 1800m, turf, good, 1.51.46
1 – OH SUSANNA (SAF), 54.0, bl/br f 3, Street Cry (USA) – Sharp Susan (USA) by Touch Gold (USA). Owner Drakenstein Stud (Nom: Mrs G A Rupert); Breeder Drakenstein Stud; trainer J Snaith; jockey G v Niekerk
2 – Lady In Black (SAF), 54.0, b f 3, Dynasty (SAF) – Mystery Dame (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
3 – Fresnaye (SAF), 54.5, b f 3, Western Winter (USA) – Gulf Breeze (GB) by Dubai Destination (USA)
Margins: 1.50, 1.25, 0.05