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Snaith’s Glorious July 1-2-3!

Marcus grabs recordbreaking fifth July win

Justin Snaith crowned a first Sun Met win in January and a storming final month burst to his second SA Champion Trainer title when he saddled the top three home in Saturday’s R4 250 000 Gr1 Vodacom Durban July at Greyville on Saturday.

Anton Marcus has Do It Again in full flight (Pic – Candiese Marnewick/Gold Circle)

The 3yo Twice Over gelding Do It Again produced a sustained finishing effort to write jockey Anton Marcus’ name into the SA racing history books as he became the leading July jockey of all time, grabbing a fifth trophy in the great race  – having won his first July on Dancing Duel a quarter of a century ago.

South African horseracing’s great day hosted the premier 2200m feature  in front of over 40 000 people, and with five runners in the eighteen horse line-up, including the long-time favourite African Night Sky, the Cape-based Snaith Racing Team always looked to hold the edge.

On a memorable and incident-filled afternoon, the dream came true for the brothers Snaith, with their third July winner and a top three finish that spoke volumes of their dominance of the event from entry time in April.

After a disappointingly stuttering jockey introduction in the parade ring (why use a non racing MC?), the runners had to sweat out a fifteen minute delay at the starting gates arising from what appeared to be an unforeseen electrical fault.

The field got away on terms and there was no pace on early – despite our assurances to the contrary from two top jockeys earlier last week!

After White River had led for the first 500m, Jeff Lloyd started making a move to take up the running. But the Australian-based rider, bidding to win his first July at his 26th and final attempt, was overtaken by Grant van Niekerk, who took the favourite African Night Sky up to lead.

The son of Dynasty turned for home ahead of Made To Conquer, as Anton Marcus urged Do It Again to run from six lengths off.

Made To Conquer hit the front and looked to be going well enough into the final stages.

But all the jets were powering on the 9-1 Guineas winner Do It Again and Anton Marcus swept into the lead as he charged away to beat Made To Conquer by 1,25 lengths in a time of 135,20 secs – the slowest time in the last four runnings.

The winning team (Pic – Candiese Marnewick/Gold Circle)

Snaith rounded off a rare trifecta with comeback hero Elusive Silva showing that his heart is far bigger than two tendon injuries, as he battled on for third a further 4,25 lengths back, to confirm his recent Betting World 1900 victory.

Dubai-bound Majestic Mambo (6,75 lengths) made up lengths in the straight to bank fourth.This is not his ideal course and we will follow his overseas progress with interest.

African Night Sky’s exertions told in the final 300m and he hung on for fifth (7,25 lengths). Van Niekerk may have a few questions to answer for a strange decision on a horse who has won over a mile.

Selangor Cup winner Rocket Countdown, representing 2017 champion Candice Bass-Robinson was not disgraced in sixth (7,25 lengths).

The rest – including the questionable inclusions – were well beaten.

Sadly SA Triple Crown winner Abashiri appeared to go wrong at the 300m marker and was pulled up by Piere Strydom. He did a near-fore tendon and was assisted from the track, according to an official on duty.

Anton Marcus said that he had enjoyed a trouble-free passage and that he felt that he had the race in the bag at the 200m. He said that when he saw African Night Sky overracing in front, he knew he had a major chance.

Anton Marcus – fifth July win

“Ït’s always a special race and kudos to Vodacom,” he said.

Part owner Bernard Kantor, who has raced in the top flight overseas, said that there were no words to describe his first July win.” Änybody who thinks SA racing is in trouble only needs to attend this day,”he added.

Part owner Nic Jonsson also owns a share in the runner-up Made To Conquer. He hails from an old horseracing family and said it was an honour to achieve something that had not been done in 150 years before him.

Do It Again has won 4 races with 3 places from 8 starts for stakes of R3 307 500.

He was knocked down to John Freeman for R1,1 million at the 2016 National Yearling Sale

Bred by Northfields, Do It Again is a son of Twice Over (Observatory) out of the six-time winning Sweet Virginia (Casey Tibbs).

The tough but slightly built Sweet Virginia is out of the Royal Prerogative Millie Bovana. She was victorious in the 2005 Gr3 Final Fling Stakes, and walloped the boys in the Gr3 Winter Classic and Winter Derby – a feat not matched by her own sex since.


Gr1 Vodacom Durban July (SAf-Gr1)

Greyville, South Africa, July 7, R4.25 million, 2200m, turf, good, 2.15.02

1 – DO IT AGAIN (SAF), 54.0, b g 3, Twice Over (GB) – Sweet Virginia (SAF) by Casey Tibbs (IRE). Owner Messrs N Jonsson, B Kantor & W J C Mitchell; Breeder Northfields Stud; trainer J Snaith; jockey A Marcus
2 – Made To Conquer (SAF), 53.0, b g 4, Dynasty (SAF) – Festive Occasion (SAF) by Casey Tibbs (IRE)
3 – Elusive Silva (SAF), 56.5, ch g 5, Silvano (GER) – Esprit (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA)
Margins: 1.25, 4.25, 1.25

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17 comments on “Snaith’s Glorious July 1-2-3!

  1. Judith says:

    Please explain – is Abashiri ok?

    1. Editor says:

      Not yet confirmed – we will advise once known

    2. Editor says:

      Hi Judith , he did a near-fore tendon apparently – he was assisted from the track

  2. ERIC RED says:

    What a shocker unprofessional ride from Grant Van Niekerk he has costs the punters millions in all the exotics , not the first time he has done it,Hong Kong authorities need to have a look

  3. Judith says:

    Please don’t hide anything behind a screen of of platitudes – Abashiri broke down? what does that mean? was he euthanized – taken away to rehab? please explain. I watched and wept.

    1. Editor says:

      We saw what you saw Judith.
      A Gold Circle official informed us on enquiry of the nature of the injury and that Abashiri was not euthanised, but removed with assistance.
      That is the entire story as known to us at this point

  4. Judith says:

    Thank you. Please keep us informed. Very little comes out into the Universe from the industry. How is is Gunter, for example? So many horses seem to disappear quietly, and jockeys so often seem to be swept under the carpet.

    1. Editor says:

      Will do Judith
      We had a comment from a reader the other day that indicated that Gunter was coming along fine

  5. "Dom" says:

    Grant van Niekerk rode an absolute shocker! I watched the race in dismay .. For a much-vaunted favourite with so much talk leading up to the big race, he really did his supporters (myself included) no favours by taking up the running, knowing the horse usually comes from off the pace . Real shocker of a ride!

    Hats off to Anton though – 2 feature winners out of 3 rides

  6. Gavin Langeveldt says:

    I bumped into Gunter in Sunninghill and he is a survivor and tough mentally.
    He’ll obviously need rehabilitation time..
    But if I may say he’s very strong minded and I can assure you that he’s working incredibly hard..
    I wish him and the other injured jocks a speedy recovery..

  7. Ernest says:

    I would like to congratulate the whole team from Supersport, for their outstanding coverage on Supersport Channel 210. It was fantastic. The whole expieriance was absolute class. Watching the camera work, clear HD on the screen, presenters, who know what they are talking about, and the atmosphere they brought to the day, I must say thank you Guys!! What a difference to have such professionals doing the racing. To Neil Andrews,Deez Dayanand and Anthony Delpech what a team.

    We need more of this please Supersport.Give us more racing, but advertise that you will be doing the coverage, as a lot of people never knew you were doing it. Can,t wait to watch the replay at 10.00am today(Sunday} Ch 210.
    Well done Guys

  8. Dick Adcock says:

    Congratulations to the Snaith’s on a fantastic achievement despite the efforts of Grant van Niekerk, but yet again SA racing demonstrates to the world it’s total incompetence. Can anybody recall when last the English Derby or Melbourne Cup were delayed for fifteen minutes, with the horses parading behind the stalls, because of a ‘technical difficulty’. What really frustrates is that commentary teams and on course or studio Tellytrack representatives never express concern, offer apology or in many instances even offer proper clarity, All we ever get is the regulatory ‘this will give you more time to get your bets on’. Do these subservient minions not understand that, whether it be the Durban July or a Maiden at Flamingo Park, punters place their bets by the advertised time, that’s what the game is supposed to be about. In an age when you can bet on almost anything it would probably be quite innovative to be able to bet on what time a meeting will actually finish, or what the average starting delay will be over the course of a meeting.

  9. LG says:

    I was totally disappointed with this edition of the July. I expected much more from the jockeys.
    The finish was a basically a two horse affair.
    The fear that African Night Sky performed badly in grade 1 races resurfaced.
    Its My Turn proved how wrong the panel were.
    Gold Standard’s inclusion was a joke.

    This was the worst July field for many years.
    I hope we get a better quality field next year.

    Later Dutch Phillip was favourite and appeared to hate the poly.

    Eyes wide open ran like his eyes was completely shut.

    I lost a lot over the course of the day.

    Also my friend got pack pocketed.
    What a terrible end to the day.


  10. Ian says:

    I was amused by Bernard Kantor’s reported comment that ” Anyone who thinks South African racing is in trouble only needs to attend this day” – this said when racing was delayed on the same day at Turffontein due to protests, this said when a week or two ago trainers were being held hostage by protesting grooms, this said after a race meeting had to proceed without horses from Randjesfontein when they were prevented from leaving the complex ………..Need one one say more?
    I am not sure which planet Mr Kantor lives on. There are problems Mr Kantor !
    Perhaps some of these issues should be put on the next Phumelela board meeting agenda as opposed to discussing dividend pay outs, renumeration packages etc

  11. Wayne says:

    What I find amazing is that the main race got delayed by 20 minutes due to a electrical issue.. Why didn’t this happen in the other races? The conspiracy theorist in me leans towards the Quartet pool which was 1 million under at the actual race time.. It just doesn’t make any sense..

  12. Michael Jacobs says:

    Obviously the July is a showpiece racemeeting, how can Kantor even compare a July meeting to the normal 365 days of racing in SA? The man is living in dreamland and is clearly talking up the game for his own benefit. These big owners only come to the showpiece meetings (July, Met, Queens Plate) and think everything is hunky dory in racing, have they ever been to a dingy, dirty tote or a deserted midweek meeting? SAs big owners really need to catch a wake-up and put pressure on the operators to “up their game”!

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