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Snaith Leaves Them In The Dark

3yo booms through late to snare the big prize

Justin Snaith saddled only the second 3yo winner of the R1 million Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate this century when the Drakenstein-bred Trippi colt Jet Dark bounded home in a KZN partnership of Nic Jonsson and Tommy Crowe to win South Africa’s premier weight-for-age mile at Kenilworth on Saturday.

Snaith, who coincidentally also saddled the previous 3yo to win the big one in present day Varsfontein sire Gimmethegreenlight in 2012, came to the LQP party with all guns loaded.

And besides his two anchor seniors in Do It Again and Belgarion, included optimistic entry pacesetter Hurricane Harry, and the Cape Guineas low-flying fourth-placer, Jet Dark.

Grant van Niekerk produces Jet Dark down the inside (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

And in an unlikely result, Jet Dark (12-1) became Justin Snaith’s third L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner, when he came forward strongly down the inside rail under the ever alert Drakenstein-sponsored Grant van Niekerk to beat the powerful galloping and luckless Rainbow Bridge (7-2), who built on two past thirds in the blue ‘n white mile, to gain a meritorious second place, and show that he is well on track for the Cape Met in three weeks’ time.

Receiving 5kgs for weight-for-age, Jet Dark beat Rainbow Bridge by 0,75 lengths in a time of 98,38 secs.

While his contemporary of the 2012/13 season, Gimmethegreenlight, won the Queen’s Plate in 97,61 secs, Jet Dark’s time on Saturday was the second slowest in the past five years, with Vardy clocking 97 secs flat last year, Do It Again 97,29 secs the previous year, while Legal Eagle’s hat-trick was recorded in 98,14 secs (2018), 97, 73 secs in 2017 – and the slowest in five years of 99,23 secs in 2016.

The Snaith tactical plan worked a dream on Saturday, as the Cape Champion outfit filled the first, third and fourth spot, and with Hurricane Harry doing the donkey work and ensuring a reasonable pace.

Backed into 9-10, recent WSB Green Point Stakes winner Belgarion was a bit flat-footed late, and ran into a 1,25 length third. The extra 400m of the Cape Met will be right up his alley.

Past winner Do It Again is still battling to regain his past fire, and ran a further 1,25 lengths back into fourth.

Sean Tarry’s consistent and game entire Cirillo was given every chance by Gavin Lerena, but had nothing to come and had to be content with a 3,25 length fifth.

In an interesting observation, Mike de Kock, who saddled 3yo Soqrat as runner-up behind Do It Again in 2019, said that overseas ‘they are queuing up to take on the older horses with their 3yo’s at weight-for-age.’

It’s easy to be wise after the event, but Justin Snaith’s move to include the 3yo is obviously to be lauded.

The Royal lead-in for team Snaith (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Looking ahead, Snaith described Jet Dark as a ‘Cape Town type who is immature and needs to be looked after’. That suggests that Jet Dark won’t be on the Snaith 2021 SA Champions Season bus to the East Coast.

A 200 000 buy from the 2019 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale, Jet Dark was the 77th stakes winner sired by Drakenstein Stud’s resident sire Trippi when he won the Langerman last term. Justin reaffirmed after the race on Saturday that he still couldn’t work out how they bought the colt for that price.

He is out of the one-time winning Jet Master mare Night Jet, a half-sister to Thukela Handicap winner Brown Penny and Gr1 Mercury Sprint runner-up Night Trip (Trippi).

Jet Dark has won 4 races with 2 places from 7 starts for stakes of R759 100.

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33 comments on “Snaith Leaves Them In The Dark

  1. Ian Trimmel says:

    Looking back at the result of the Guineas and the races leading up to it, as well as today’s Queensplate plate result I’m sure Kommetdieding’s connections must be kicking themselves as both these races were there for the taking.

  2. JC LEE CHING says:

    It is interesting that Warrior won the maiden plate in 99,07 which puts Warrior about 3,5 lengths behind Jet Dark, not very complimentary.

  3. Editor says:

    The Stipes said:
    a) BELGARION (R Fourie) had to steady when close to the heels of JET DARK (G van Niekerk) at the 1200m.
    b) Approaching the 1000m JET DARK (G van Niekerk) raced onto the heels of CIRILLO (G Lerena), steadied,
    shifted out, and carried RAINBOW BRIDGE (*L Ferraris) out marginally.
    c) JET DARK, the winner, was selected for the taking of specimens for analysis. Trainer SJ Snaith was
    advised. (BM)
    d) RAINBOW BRIDGE, the second-placed horse, was selected for the taking of specimens for analysis.
    Trainer AE Sands was advised. (MB)

  4. david mollett says:

    Speaking from Durban after Jet Dark’s win, co-owner Nic Jonsson said: “I’m looking forward to welcoming him (Jet Dark) to KZN.”
    He can’t be serious. The winner of the Queen’s Plate gets an automatic invite to the 2021 Breeders Cup which is scheduled for Del Mar (brilliant track I’ve been there) near San Diego on Nov 5-6.
    What an honour for any owner to have a runner at the world championships of racing.
    If I was Mr Jonsson or Mr Crowe, I’d have my Gr 1 winner in the quarantine station at Kenilworth by Monday.
    The colt won $15000 prizemoney on Saturday, the purses at Del Mar will be in a different league.

  5. Gavin bechan says:

    Nic does not need the money Molly.
    Well done to jet dark

  6. hilton witz says:

    With respect jet dark was 12.5kg under sufferance with the runner up so the quality of this field over 1600m must be in question as the favourite is a 10 furlong plus horse who won the july handicap off 53kg and do it again and rainbow bridge are past their best …i have followed this race for the last 40 years and the likes of wolf power empress club flaming rock dynasty and variety club would have lapped this field..On monday jet dark will be the highest rated 3yo middle distance horse in the country so his handicap days are over ..

  7. Ernst Schlechter says:

    Do it again will win the Met!

  8. Pieta says:

    David Mollet, not sure where you are going with this….
    Are you saying that you are giving him advise just because you’ve been there?
    Some of us have been to many big race days around the world…..we understand the logistics and quarantine trauma this animal has to go through.
    Not sure why you picked this one…..remember USA is big…..and the local competition will almost be unbeatable.

  9. Pranill Bookhan says:

    .. Interestingly odds of 18/1..paying only R4-90 on the tote for a win….. .??

  10. hilton witz says:

    Surely those trainers with 3yos that have derby aspirations will nominate these 3yos for the met after yesterdays queens plate result ..So far only malmoos and silvanos timer have been entered ..

  11. John L says:

    There was a comment recently about tote payouts. As they jumped I noticed that this horse was paying R 7.10 – ridiculously short. So how did it end up paying R 4.90? Less than 4/1 when there were 4 other horses strongly fancied above it in the betting? Impossible to believe all above board.

  12. George McDonald says:

    So for every R 100 you bet on this horse Jet Dark on the Tote you lost R 738
    Great Ad for swelling the Stakes Pool by betting on the Tote instead of your friendly Bookie.

  13. Andy says:

    @ John L. This is exactly why I try and avoid betting on the tote and prefer known fixed odds via a bookmaker. Too many Tote payouts “shrink” from about 1 minute before the “OFF” until publication of the payouts. Maybe it’s because the Tote shows potential payouts/dividends before they remove the 25% rake? The solution is to FREEZE all tote betting 5 minutes before the OFF of every race also showing clearly the NET POOL versus the GROSS POOL and FREEZING NET dividends so that there are NO SURPRISES. At that point, if a punter then sees that his Tote WIN bet is only half what he can get from a bookie, then he has the opportunity of backing the horse again, with the bookie, to get better averaged odds. If the converse is true, then he does not need to do anything.


  14. Martin le Roux says:

    The tote payouts on the LQP are ridiculous. How on earth does a 12/1 shot pay R 4,90 for a win. The tote can surely inform us of any large wagers on Jet Dark and even at what time the bets were placed. Check the swingers and all other bets. Dismal payouts.
    Good luck to the connections of Jet Dark. On reflection it is now obvious why the owner was so willing to put his runner Hurricane Harry in as a pacemaker. The way Jet Dark won he must have shown something at home and strangely was the one horse on the day that was never mentioned by the stable who are usually so transparent.
    When first seeing this horse entered my feeling was that Justin Snaith was sussing him out against the known best in the country in line for a KZN trip. Well now he knows.

  15. Kevin G says:

    Well done to Grant on another top ride.

  16. david mollett says:

    Pieta – it has zip to do with me having been to the track “where the surf meets the turf.”
    If you were a top SA athlete would you rather be the star at Germiston or Welkom or take your chance in the Olympics?

  17. Anthony says:

    Please explain how Jet Dark paid R4.50 a win its amaiziing how they shorten on the tote after the result or when you can see its race over , they tell you its late money from Australia its amaizing they only back winners .(Smell a RAT)

  18. hilton witz says:

    The win pool for the queens plate was a paltry 217281 rand ..The paddock stakes win pool was the biggest win pool on the day reaching 318564 ..the 8th race had a win pool of 210866 ..One bookie will hold more money on win bets in a race than the entire tote win pool ..Simple you serious about betting dont have win bets on the tote as the pools are a joke…

  19. Pieta says:

    David Mollett,

    I’m not sure what year you took part in the Olympics…..95% that quality have no chance and they know it…like some they have always been blessed with sponsorship.
    I thought Germiston racing was before you came here from the UK/Thailand?
    Welkom , As a local can only tell you that it is a great town with wonderful people.

    IMVHO our champions should stay here and will draw the support of our punters and the industry as a whole …..I can count on one hand the nbr of our champions that made it overseas over the years.

    Even FRANKEL and WINX stayed at home for their 100’s and 1000’s of supporters………that’s racing!……

    We need it.

  20. Garrick Bergh says:

    Hilton – with respect it’s not so much the size of the pool in the case of win bets but rather how much of that pool was wagered on the winner. If we are to believe the dividend (which I don’t) then somewhere in the order of 25% of the win bets on the tote were wagered on the winner. As the horse started at 12/1 that suggests that win bets on the tote should have been about 8% if they had truly reflected the state of the market. In this case a hard-to-believe 289% nett difference existed between the tote and fixed odds.
    Conversely – had the horse been priced at 4/1 and the tote had paid out R13 one might have been prepared to believe that, as the stable third choice, there was little or no expectation of that horse actually winning.
    The operator seems hell bent on remaining evasive regarding the almost endless stream of bizarre/unfathomable payouts that characterise the tote. In doing so they make a fairly unambiguous statement as to how they view their rank and file customers. To date I have seen not one development since MOD arrived which might be construed as a better deal/better service for the punter. How they continue to generate any support through this medium is beyond me.
    I am quite happy to take a ‘That’s racing!’ result on the chin. But when it is linked to a suspicious dividend (sic) the conspiracy theorist in me is very quickly awakened.

  21. ALAN KING says:

    Great race well done to the Snaiths good people. Always the same. Can greet a person after not seeing them for years. They have avery good horse on there hands and seems that he will be the stable champion of the future. The older horse ran there races and finishing where they should have. Great race. The only downside is the presenters not sticking to the covid rules. Mr Cohen and co should be BANNED from attending these meetings no masks when discussing the race. Is this the image that must be potrayed by presenters on national tv during covid. They are not above the law and i hope they are punished by the powers that be. I feel so strongly about this that i am thinking of sending Mr Bheke Cele a copy of the video. The owners could not be on the course as well as the lady that sponsored the event but Mr Cohen and co flaunt the rules. They should not have had the privilege to attend let alone not wearing masks. Very poor show

  22. Geoff Logan says:

    Two things the Tote payout is a mystery. Maybe because of the small total pool and one or two big amounts bet on Jet Dark and the other is all Molly is saying because the Queen’s Plate winner receives an automatic entry into the Breeders Cup it is worth a look at.
    By the way I wish capital letters were still used where they should be as in, for example horses names.

  23. John L says:

    I would like to agree with Garrick. There is a clearly suspicious and unusual win payout. Why can the tote not supply a list of win bets placed in the final 30 seconds of betting in order to explain this payout? It’s pretty easy for us to see something fishy with the win bets – but what about other tote dividends?

  24. albertrossi says:

    I find it hard to believe Grant Van Niekerk’s statement quote “At first I gave myself not much of a chance in this field, We just wanted to see how good he was. We did think he’s a really nice horse but not quite ready to take on the big boys yet, but he proved us wrong today.” unquote. How come then did the odds for Jet Dark on the tote reduce so quickly and just minutes before the off? It’s obvious that the connections knew exactly that Jet dark was the better of the stables four horses. i find this very distasteful and unfair to the punters who keep this game going. The connections obviously didn’t want to take advantage of the big odds offered by the ‘Bookies’ which I find very noble of them but, they should have placed their tote bets much earlier to at least give the punters a chance to see which of Snaith’s horses was the true favourite. There’s big money in racing but I suppose the prize money for being 1st wasn’t enough for them.

    1. Editor says:

      Albert it’s hardly fair or reasonable to blame the winning Gr1 connections for the price that the horse eventually paid on the tote

  25. Glenn Kourie says:

    It looks like when there are huge payouts then there are no winners , especially on quartets .

  26. albertrossi says:

    Dear Editor, why not? It could only have been through the connections knowledge that so much money poured into the tote in such a short space of time and just a few minutes before the race started. The fact that those that put their bets on the tote and not with the bookies, who were offering big prices for the horse, tells me that they didn’t want to fall foul with them by breaking their banks, especially when they were offering up to 18/1 at one stage which would have been a massive difference to them only getting a return of +-R4.50 (9/2). like I said before….very noble of them and I can only imagine the bookmakers were very grateful for that. You must also accept that the LQP looked like it was a four horse race so many would have been thrown out of their exotic bets at the expense of the few that were in the know. This is just my opinion and I have to say that it’s hard enough for the punters to be on the winning side but, if a horses connections are very confident of their horse winning, why do some keep it such a secret until the last minute before pouring on the money. It certainly doesn’t do us, the faithful punter, any favours. Just saying 🙂

  27. John says:

    Jet Dark’s win confirms the decline in quality of SA Horses over the years. Horses such as Flaming Rock, Wolf Power, Pocket Power and Dynasty would have trounched this years LQP field. Also steep decline in standards of the jockeys in the last 5 to 10 years, except for a couple. The results since resumption of racing in 2020 suggest that SA Racing has become a lottery( i.e. Russian Rock win in the Guineas and many more). Rather bet on UK racing or other international centres, even Kalgoorlie. 😂

  28. Michael Jacobs says:

    Mr Ian Trimmel raises a valid point. Kommetdieding would surely have featured prominently in both the Guinneas and Queens Plate if he had run, based on his beating of the winners of both those races.. Is there any reason why that horse did not run? Mr Editor, any chance of getting a comment from the connections?

    1. Editor says:

      Kommetdieding steps up to a mile at Kenilworth on Saturday in an MR 96 Handicap

  29. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    How do we know that ?….it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book to load your “dark” horse at the death for the price but you could see it happening before. The thing is who else put money on the horse ? a lot of it, someone knew it was way better than we were told, I feel for the other owners, they didnt see that coming but someone did…my mates in the UK had good laugh, they’re waking for the “SA racing games” to kick in, they nailed it…….R4.90 ?….nothing has changed,…Are you listening “industry” you got no clothes on…….The LQP result is a classic example of how the punters are treated in SA…..dont forget the little feature the next day at Turf ? same thing…….and I see StJn Grey used that word again today…….SURPRISE !!!

  30. Donald Bradshaw says:

    Albertrossi , I agree that the flood of money for Jet Dark shortly before the start could only have come from people with close links to the stable as this horse was not only rated and weighted to finish last / second last but I do not understand your reasoning for those insiders not to have spread some of that money with the bookmakers who offered double figure odds right up to the start.

    You mention that they did not want to ” break the bookmakers bank ” which cannot be done as the essence of their business is volume , risk spread and takeout all based on percentages of their book.

    Even a big bet taken and accepted by a bookmaker just before the start on this horse which prevented any risk spread being completed would still have given any bookmaker a profit as the volume of money held with completed risk spreads would still have been on the top two or three !

    What would be interesting to know is how many bookmakers lost on that day at which many short priced favorites won and apparently they took no money on the only real shock of the day ?

  31. Tim says:

    Trainers aren’t training horses for Punters…. Lol

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