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We Got The Pace – And We Got The Race!

Sensational victory as Snaith eyes Met double

The R1,5 million Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate lived up to it’s heady billing, producing a thrilling finish.

The Snaith 4yo Do It Again outpointed the gallant Cape Guineas star Soqrat to join Mike Bass gallopers Trademark and Pocket Power as one of only three horses to achieve the July – Queen’s Plate double this century.

Richard Fourie has his eye on the prize as Do It Again cruises past Randall Simons on the gallant Soqrat (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

A great leveller, horseracing has a sobering habit of bursting our starry eyed dream bubbles on any given day of the week.

But on a sunswept Saturday at a glorious blue and white coated Kenilworth, the dream came true for an enthusiastic on-course crowd and a bumper television audience.

Following on the heels of the sensational Green Point Stakes blanket finish of last month, there was unprecedented speculation and hype in the build-up to the 158th renewal of South Africa’s premier mile. And what a race we witnessed.

After Hat Puntano lost many lengths at the gate, Greg Cheyne sent the widely predicted pacesetter Amazing Strike out to ensure an honest gallop, ahead of Undercover Agent, Soqrat and Snowdance, with Legal Eagle and Infamous Fox stalking the second group.

At the 400m, Do It Again still only had two behind him as Amazing Strike had cried enough and the cavalry charge fanned out in the gallop for glory.

Randall Simons slipped Soqrat, positioned at one off the rail, into a narrow lead as Richard Fourie set Do It Again alight, with Legal Eagle grinding away down the middle.

The race developed into a match between Do It Again and Soqrat, and after being straightened out confidently by Fourie, it was the 4yo who asserted his authority to win with something in hand by 0,30 lengths in a time of 97,29 secs. The Green Point Stakes on 8 December last year was run in 98,92 secs!

The photo says it all! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Soqrat, bidding to become only the second 3yo to win the race in 45 years, put in a gallant effort and Mike de Kock has an exciting prospect on his hands as the son of Epaulette ran the race of his life.

Rainbow Bridge got the pace today but was running on when it was all over and was beaten 2,75 lengths further back in third.

The reigning champion Legal Eagle was in touch all the way but had nothing to offer when called upon and shaded Undercover Agent out of fourth. He should not be written off and could well bounce back in the Highveld season.

Snowdance is another who had every opportunity but was well beaten into sixth, with the slow starting Hat Puntano, Infamous Fox and Amazing Strike in another race.

The triumphant return! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

After 12 years riding in the Cape, the top-class Richard Fourie celebrated his first success in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, and marked a great day with a Gr1 double included in his three winners.

“I can’t see them beating this horse in the Met,” he added.

After a dismal Friday, a hoarse Justin Snaith was beaming from ear to ear after finding his best form, including a Gr1 double.

“He looks like a superstar – he was spot on today – he had come on nicely from the Green Point. But that’s easy to say. They still have to win. To all my owners and my team – thanks and congratulations,” he said.

A winner of 5 races with 4 places from 10 starts for stakes of R4 285 000, Do It Again was purchased by leading stallion manager John Freeman for R1,1 million at the 2016 National Yearling Sale

Bred by Northfields, Do It Again is a first crop son of Twice Over (Observatory), the first sire in the modern era to get a 3yo winner of the Durban July.

He is out of the six-time winning Sweet Virginia (Casey Tibbs).

Any prospects of a price for the Sun Met on Do It Again looks to have evaporated!


Gr1 L’Ormarins Queens Plate (SAf-Gr1)

Kenilworth, South Africa, January 5, R1.5 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.37.29

1 – DO IT AGAIN (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, 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 R Fourie
2 – Soqrat (AUS), 55.0, b c 3, Epaulette (AUS) – Elzeeza (AUS) by Hussonet (USA)
3 – Rainbow Bridge (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Ideal World (USA) – Halfway To Heaven (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
Margins: 0.30, 2.75, 1.00

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12 comments on “We Got The Pace – And We Got The Race!

  1. Niran says:

    Just recently I commented on a post praising the Slack family for their contributions to racing but queens plate day left a huge hole in my heart and much to be desired . Without taking any gloss out of the queens plate which was an incredible spectacle,and indeed a race for the ages I would to express my disgust at the connections of poor old Amazing Strike ,we are always enthusing about the importance of the thoroughbred and how the horse comes first yet the decision to let Amazing Strike bust a lung to be a pace maker leaves much to be desired ,a horse that served his connections well and gave off his best almost always didnt need to go out like that ,he didnt need to be broken and used in such a gruesome and shamless manor .Everybody was harping about the pace , even without amazing strike in the race , both undercover agent and snowdance are capable of setting credible fractions ,legal eagle would have had no issues setting the fractions ,yet a cruel lapse of judgment by Mr Sands and the Mauritzfontein team left amazing strike gasping for air even before they got to the straight …. enough said

  2. Steve Reid says:

    Niran I also have an issue with Amazing Strike being used as a pacemaker, but I do not share your views that the horse was abused in any way. The horse went out and set a fair pace for his companion and that was it. This was a grass gallop for the horse to give his stable companion the best chance to win the race, and I see no reason to get emotional about it unless it affected your pocket. The Sporting Post had addressed this issue in their “Taking the Royal lead” article, and made it pretty clear that it appeared the Sands yard were attempting to eliminate the “Cape Crawl” so as to ensure their entry Rainbow Bridge got a better pace than was experienced in the Green Point stakes.

    My issue is that it appears that NHA rules do not allow for the inclusion of a pacemaker in a race, and there is no mention of the use of pacemakers in any of the NHA rules. I commented on rules 62.1 and 62.2 in the Taking the Royal lead article. These rules specifically state that horses should be run and run to achieve their best possible placing. Clearly this did not happen on Saturday, Amazing Strike finished a distance behind the winner. So what are the stipes going to do about this clear contravention of the rules? Should they do something? The chief stipe believes that there is no contravention of the rules……. This is the grey area that the NHA operate under in so many instances. When it suits their agenda, action is taken. When it doesn’t nothing happens. The inconsistencies in policing and the changing of rules when caught out show the NHA to be what it is – inefficient and archaical.

    . .

  3. Niran says:

    Greetings Mr Reid. A grass gallop for a horse that has subsequently been retired I believe ? ,that was by no means a gallop, away from this a bit ,I pose the question to you about the great Frankel, would he have remained the undefeated champion and had his name up in lights had it not been for the exploits of his stable mate Bullet Train?

  4. Steve Reid says:

    Hi Niran. Let me make something very clear – I am not opposed to pace-making horses ensuring that a pace is set in a race My point, quite clearly, is that the rules do not allow for this in South Africa. In respect to Frankel, the rules of the BHA do allow for this, so there is nothing untoward in that regard.

  5. Jay August says:

    Niran, you surely cannot be putting Frankel’s career in the Bullet Train spotlight. That “dead horse” has been flogged so many times that it now longer has any relevance and is a story perpetuated by trolls Given your eloquent opening statement it has no place here.

  6. Steve Reid says:

    As an aside, i have been very reliably informed that not one horse that participated in a race around the turn, cantered past the stands at Kenilworth on Saturday. The following rule is in place:

    61.3.4 Every HORSE shall be ridden at a canter in front of the stand before going to the start, and
    when being so ridden must, unless otherwise directed by the SB, proceed along that part
    of the RACE COURSE designated by the ROR or the SB to be utilised by the HORSES for
    the purpose of proceeding to the start.

    When this breach was pointed out to the NHA, the response was that instructions from Phumelela were in force for horses to go directly to the start.

    This is the Capes second biggest meeting in terms of crowds. Why were they not given the opportunity to watch the horses go down before having a bet?

    More importantly, who is running racing – the operator or the “authority”? I can go on and on about the incompetence of this crowd.

  7. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Morning William, trust you well. So our Met fancy won the Qplt,, but that is our beatiful game of racing. Seems we have a new Star. On this topic of pacemakers, do you remember Occult with Bartie Leisher. He was suppose to set a good gallop for the Stable Jock Felix Coetzee and nr 2 Mark Sutherland. Occult won the Race, the July nogal. I also remember a race where Uncle Percy set the gallop for Turncoat to beat Bodrum for a change, and he ended up beating both..There is obviously many recent examples. The betting is normally a very good pointer and horses at 80-1 seldom wins Big races. Very brave of the owners to make it known ‘before the race’ though, right or wrong. At least we could narrow down the small field of 9 to 6 for the exotics.

    Dear Ed, great topic again,,, Iook Fwd to some interesting debates and different views on this one….

  8. Niran says:

    Mr August the question to Mr Reid was very simple and subjective and open for debate ,I am not against pace setting but I do believe its unsporting of connections to put in a pacesetter ,the queens plate is a prestigious event followed by the entire racing world,every runner must be in the race to win it or try to earn a stake. So yet again I ask ,bearing in mind that frankel is a great horse ,would he have been truly great without the aid of the “dead horse “???, would he have had his own way in other racing centres where pacesetting is against the rules ,ie dubai..etc

  9. Jay August says:

    Niran, if anything the pace setting allowed Frankel to show his very best more often than not but even without that I suspect he would have won anyway. A horse as good as that seldom needs a pace setter to make his race and there are precious few horses who could live with his turn of foot. By making the point I believe you think he would have lost several races without the pace setter. Point out those races if you have some in mind. The debate about what he could have done in another racing centre is so hypothetical it is pointless and will get us into the same endless loop as the Winx debates.

    I cannot see the unfairness in pace setting if it is made clear beforehand and also if it does not cause interference when the pace setter drops back. Any race has its challenges and if there are bracketed horses in a race there is always the chance something tactical is on the cards. We can disagree on this but I cannot see how there was any unfairness on Saturday more so because the intended recipient of the fast pace finished third.

    I had no problem with the slow crawl in the Green Point and no problem with the pacemaker in this race. When you do your bet assessment before the race you know what to expect and we got as expected in both races. I assume trainers do their own assessment of tactics beforehand as well so I cannot see how anyone is prejudiced.

  10. Kay says:

    OMW! why do we always make an issue out of everything? Most of the time people moan from the pocket. Now it’s again about a pacemaker! What Eric Sands did was great to ensure a proper pace, a thing the maestro Mr Millard was well known for in the 80s. Eish! Enjoy the sport of horse racing for once!

  11. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    When Richard fell on his arse…oops ! I ran to the window for a straight line jackpot with scratchings……gotcha ! The rides on the 3 wins are a testament to Richard’s fitness strength and timing. A pleasure to watch….the true pace in the QP showed the real quality, Soqrat was damn unlucky as well…..next year.

  12. murphy says:

    Without that pacemaker it would of been a blanket finish again like the previous meeting where Legal Eagle just held on.With this true paced run Do it again proved he’s the best and will be hard to beat in the Met.

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