The Snaith Racing machine kicked into overdrive at Kenilworth on Saturday with the progressive Dynasty 4yo Belgarion announcing his SA Champions Season aspirations with an emphatic victory in the Glorious Goodwood Gr2 Peninsula Handicap.
A handsome gelding, the lightly raced Foster family galloper showed his class after a 15 week break and overcame a few tests in running and a less than ideal muddling pace, to assert his authority with a powerful run down the middle.
With the longshot Majestic Mozart (22-1) and Herodotus (20-1) both given first-class rides and every chance by Keagan de Melo and Louis Mxothwa respectively, an upset was on the cards until Belgarion found top gear and soared clear to beat Herodotus -who clearly prefers the shorter trip – by 1,25 lengths in a time of 110,78 secs.
Majestic Mozart may yet fulfil his early promise – he was always in touch from an unfavourable draw but stayed on smartly a half length back in third.
His stablemate, Sun Met entry More Magic, carried 2kgs less and ran on steadily a length further back in fourth. He will have to improve plenty to consider taking his place in the big race on 1 February.
Charles (11-2) and Nexus (8-1) were slightly disappointing, finishing alongside each other and just under 5 lengths off the winner.
Richard Fourie was full of praise for the winner and said that he had enjoyed some luck as things fell into place and he was not forced too wide.
Trainer Justin Snaith was not thrilled with the NHRA handicappers raising Belgarion’s merit mark earlier and he has thus picked his races.
This was Belgarion’s fourth win from four tries in handicaps.
Alec and the Honourable Gillian Foster bred and race the son of Dynasty. They were on hand to lead their winner in and thanked the Snaith team and their longstanding bloodstock consultant John Freeman.
The Foster’s registered a double in the race with Snaith having saddled their 2019 winner, Doublemint – also ridden by Richard Fourie.
Belgarion is out of the lightly raced German two-time winner Riva (Acatenango) – a half sister to French Gr3 winner Oxava.
A winner of 5 of his 7 starts with 1 place, Belgarion has banked R506 250.
The Snaith team won three of the first five races on Day two of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Festival.
Gr2 Peninsula Handicap (SAf-Gr2)
Kenilworth, South Africa, January 11, R350k, 1800m, turf, good, 1.50.78
1 – BELGARION (SAF), 55.0, b g 4, Dynasty (SAF) – Riva (GER) by Acatenango (GER). Owner Mr A N & The Hon Mrs G R Foster; Breeder AN Foster; trainer J Snaith; jockey R Fourie
2 – Herodotus (SAF), 55.5, gr g 4, Trippi (USA) – Pinkyandthebrain (AUS) by Hawk Wing (USA)
3 – Majestic Mozart (SAF), 54.0, b g 4, Dynasty (SAF) – Sound The Flute (USA) by Theatrical (IRE)
Margins: 1.25, 0.30, 1.00