Justin Snaith and Richard Fourie crowned a superb dry run in the rain for Vodacom Durban July day with the defending champion Do It Again showing he is ready and set to rumble on the sixth day of next month with a polished fresh run-after-a-break display to win a dramatic R1 million Gr1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge at Greyville on Saturday.
Seasoned professionals, Snaith and Fourie were a little rattled by the parade ring antics of the high-class 4yo, who according to his trainer was just ‘getting annoyed’.
It was his first run in 19 weeks since going down to Rainbow Bridge in the Sun Met – a moment where Fourie conceded he ‘hadn’t shone’.
After 3yo Cirillo had shown the way, Fourie darted down the inside rail with the good looking Do It Again, as they came for home and took on the pacesetter – all the while, Rainbow Bridge built up momentum behind them.
With Marcus deciding to stick to his chosen path, the gap between the front two closed and the Met winner had to be switched out in a ground sapping move. Such was Do It Again’s momentum, it is pointless speculating what could have been – and Rainbow Bridge goes into the July a massive runner – with a score to settle!
The winning trainer was over the moon – even relieved.
“He is one of the most intelligent horses I have ever trained – he put his head to the side and was just getting annoyed. We had to get him to start and he went down with his pony.Thank goodness for our horse whisperer Malan du Toit. And what a comeback after almost five months off! Thanks to Gold Circle for being of such assistance to us. And to all of our owners, too. He has shown again that he is the best weight-for-age horse in South Africa!” said an elated Snaith who is enjoying his annual sojourn to the East Coast.
After a brief tussle with the game 3yo Cirillo, Fourie pushed Do It Again to the line and the handsome gelding won with something in hand to beat Cirillo by a half length in a time of 96,39 secs.
After switching in and having the gap close on him, Anton Marcus had no luck on Met winner Rainbow Bridge and after switching out for his run, he did reasonably well for third a further 1,25 lengths back.
Soqrat had some ground to make up but finished his race off well to run a nose back in fourth.
Richard Fourie (pictured above) said the pre race ‘upset’ had not bothered the star galloper, but that Do It Again then didn’t want to load.
“The pace was on and I had so much horse underneath me. He made up the four lengths easily. He is a true champion. I didn’t quite shine on him on Met day and I appreciate the team’s support – and all the owners. He is a true champion,” he added.
Part owner Nic Jonsson said afterwards that Anton Marcus, whom we speculate could possibly ride Hawwaam or Rainbow Bridge in the July, has been telling all year that Do It Again is the ‘best horse in the country’.
Marcus rode Do It Again to win the 2018 Vodacom Durban July.
A winner of 6 races with 5 places from 12 starts for stakes of R5 910 000, Do It Again was purchased by John Freeman for R1,1 million at the 2016 National Yearling Sale
Bred by Northfields, Do It Again is a gelded first crop son of Twice Over (Observatory) – interestingly, 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).
The Do It Again fan club will be feeling a lot more bullish going into the July.
Bring on Hawwaam – and the rest!
Gr1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge (SAf-Gr1)
Greyville, South Africa, June 8, R1 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.36.39
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 & Late W J C Mitchell; Breeder Northfields Stud; trainer J Snaith; jockey R Fourie
2 – Cirillo (SAF), 58.5, b c 3, Pomodoro (SAF) – Miss Wordsworth (SAF) by Lake Coniston (IRE)
3 – Rainbow Bridge (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Ideal World (USA) – Halfway To Heaven (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
Margins: 0.50, 1.25, 0.05