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Snaith- Lockdown’s Special Challenges

'Right people are being put in right positions'

With one of the largest and most powerful strings in the country to contend with, the nationwide shutdown has posed special challenges for the Justin Snaith outfit, divided over two provinces as they are.

Never short of a word or two, the ebullient Snaith was happy to talk to Tabnews about the situation from Cape Town, where he is based during the lockdown in the company of his wife and children.

Snaith Beach Outing (photo: Snaith Racing)

While of course making the trip to his Philippi training centre every morning.

“When the lockdown came I returned to Cape Town to be with my family, but I send my assistant in Durban a work programme every day, and Anton Marcus has been unbelievable riding work three times a week, which is obviously a big plus.

“In KZN the grooms all live on the premises in a hostel, which is ideal in these circumstances. They are all being well fed and looked after by Gold Circle.

“Yesterday we galloped three horses at Summerveld for the first time since the restrictions came in. Wild Coast and Captain Tatters together, and Sovereign Secret on her own. They all went well.

“There is a lot of uncertainty about the program. The NRB keep posting stuff, but we need the powers that be to sit down with government and get approval. Until then it’s all pie in the sky.

“I’m worried that we will lose the prep races for the big ones, as you don’t want the ‘wrong’ horse winning our showpiece races. But all trainers are in the same boat – big or small.”

“Our Cape Town staff have their own mainly RDP housing which we made sure they received when they became available. We are ultra cautious, with sprayers, foggers and hand sanitizers everywhere, and of course we all have masks and gloves.

“They all have permission to come to work, as Philippi is classed as a farming area and an essential service.

Snaith Beach Outing (photo: Snaith Racing)

“Under the circumstances we have managed well. Our workriders and other staff have been riding all the work in the absence of jockeys, and have done a phenomenal job.

“We are at about 70% fitness levels, but when we do return, owners will want to recoup losses. I’m frankly more concerned about the fitness levels of the jockeys who are not riding work” he says unjokingly.

“I have truckloads of juveniles to come out in Cape Town, and lots of my horses have enjoyed the break. I can’t wait to return.”

And he has a friendly warning for his fellow conditioners.

“If you think times are tough now just wait until we start racing again” he says with a laugh.

“My owners have been fantastic. All have been prepared to help, and have shown a lot of concern. One client even offered to pay two months in advance if it would help.

“That wasn’t necessary of course, but it was a lovely gesture.”

“Slowly the right people are being put in the right positions to turn this industry around. I’m very happy to see new faces in the right places, and see light at the end of the tunnel. We will figure it out.

“There is so much effort going on behind the scenes to revive SA racing, and there are changes coming. Things may have to get worse before they get better, but racing will come out stronger in the long run” concludes the natural optimist.

  • Tabnews

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4 comments on “Snaith- Lockdown’s Special Challenges

  1. Hilton witz says:

    Since the lockdown we havent heard a word from either of the operators or the nhra head honchos regarding where we stand and what is going on behind the scenes regarding the resumption pf racing…This total lack of communication is leading to much anxiety and rumours being spread amongst the industry and it shows once again a total lack of leadership when it is needed most …Waiting to see how many if any take pay cuts ..

  2. Cecil Pienaar says:

    So true Hilton, I said same thing earlier.

    I hereby apologise to my local council for comparing PGL with them once. We had a major pipe burst during the week. It was fixed within 3 hrs and today waste was taken away. I was wrong, sorry.

    More truth, when these V I P people approach Govt with hat in hand, CR and Co should ask

    ” How many of your Seniors took atleast a 1/3 rd paycut for 3 months, like I suggested on Thurs evening ? “

  3. PL.NEL says:

    What changes are showing light?
    Lovely to hear this dandy setup is doing well.
    Most trainers own a large percentage of their outfits are in serious trouble. Without competition and horses we will have a watered down version. Silence is golden,, Stille mond is n geelbek. Where is the benevolent fund ??

  4. Potie says:

    The least that the RA and Phumelela could do is to take all the stake money that should be won if there was no lockdown and distribute it to trainers to assist all owners in looking after their horses. This will reduce the burden on all.

    I know it is not any easy task but we have to start thinking quickly and out of the box to ensure the survival of owners and trainers who are the heart of the sport.

    I will start the ball rolling by suggesting that these owners and trainers yards should not benefit as they have no known financial problems and should be able to look after their horses
    1.The top 15 earning stables on the NHRA log. If anyone has a horse with the top 15 stables, they do not receive any benefit.
    2.The top 40 earning owners on the NHRA the log.

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