South Africa’s highest-rated 3yo, Jet Dark’s scintillating victory in the weight-for-age R600 000 HKJC World Pools Gr1 Champions Cup plastered over a frustrating Marshalls World Of Sport Festival Of Racing for the Justin Snaith team, who regained their SA Champion title, but didn’t have things go their own way.
“It was a frustrating and competitive day with some sore losers and rough racing. I will just be glad to get my horses back to the Cape in one piece,” said Snaith who earlier received a clock from Gold Circle as an acknowledgement of his new champion status.
“I have been coming here for four months of every year for 29 years,” he said proudly after a SA Champions Season of mixed fortunes, that still had a happy ending with his only Gr1 success.
Only the second 3yo – after newly crowned SA Champion sire Gimmethegreenlight – to win the prestigious Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate this century, the Drakenstein bred Jet Dark was easy to back on Saturday after his solitary ring-rusty unplaced performance in the Hollywoodbets Gr1 Gold Challenge in June – and with the attention on Vodacom Durban July hardknockers, Got The Greenlight and the winner’s stablemate, Do It Again.
The handsome Jet Dark is a horse that might have generated some mixed messages about his plans, with the Cape Summer Season originally announced as his real goal.
But there was no doubt about his superiority on the season’s final day as he soared to an eyecatching victory under S’manga Khumalo to beat fellow 3yo Catch Twentytwo by just under a half length in a time of 110,18 secs.
The pace was set by Snaith’s traditional pacesetter Crown Towers, who stretched his field.
Into the final 300m, Jet Dark powered through down the inside as fellow 3yo Catch Twentytwo looked the danger.
Do It Again and favourite Got The Greenlight appeared to be labouring down the outside and it wasn’t to be their day.
Do It Again tried hard, but was beaten a further 0,40 lengths into third with Got The Greenlight 1,10 lengths back in fourth.
“One doesn’t fluke the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate. He needed his first run back. I galloped him at Hollywoodbets Scottsville and he jarred himself. I am so glad that he could come back and showcase his talents here today,” added Snaith as he thanked and congratulated his polo mates Nic Jonsson and Tommy Crowe –‘no better people to win for here in KZN.’
A R200 000 buy from the 2019 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale – apparently Jono Snaith talked Nic Jonsson into buying him – Jet Dark is by Drakenstein Stud’s longstanding champion producer Trippi (End Sweep).
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).
The lightly raced dual Gr1 winning Jet Dark took his earnings to R1 134 100 and has won 5 races with 2 places from his 9 starts.
He must be a strong contender for an Equus award.
Watch the replay here: