Sports photographers dream all life long of that career defining shot.
While only 24 years old, Sporting Post photographer Chase Liebenberg did his professional reputation no harm with a top-class capture of the Gr2 Green Point Stakes finish – see the shot below.
Michael Clower reported in the Racegoer in the Independent Newpaper titles on Thursday that Chase’s magnificent life-size close-up of the now famous Green Point finish has been given a permanent place in Kenilworth’s Paddock Room restaurant and, intriguingly, it reveals the hitherto unreported fact that the winner Legal Eagle wore a patch on his nose.
He was the only one of the four principals to do so.
People are now asking whether Sean Tarry put one over on the local opposition and whether the Cape Town trainers missed a trick.
Such patches were all the rage with athletes a few years back but they have become less popular recently. Joey Ramsden was one of the first trainers in South Africa to use them on his runners, and he still does with some horses.
“The patches are basically elastoplast and they pull the nostrils outwards so helping the breathing,” says Ramsden. “But they are expensive – around R350 each – and I got fed up explaining to owners.”
He has an open mind about just how effective they are.
However Justin Snaith has no doubts, saying: “I tried them on a horse who I thought needed them but let nobody tell me that they work with the other 99.9.%. They are not natural and they are not for me, just as some trainers use horse-walkers and I won’t.”
The huge photo, which attracted a lot of interest at last Saturday’s meeting, also reveals that Snaith’s Do It Again was the only one wearing a sheepskin noseband. “This is something I do believe in,” says the champion trainer. “Horses like to see their feet when they are galloping and the sheepskin noseband makes them lift them that little bit higher so lengthening their stride. It also helps to protect their eyes in the event of any kick-back.”
Liebenberg,24, is the Sporting Post’s Cape Town photographer and is steeped in racing on the dam’s side of his pedigree.
His mother Wendy Michel was assistant to both Peter and Dean Kannemeyer while his half-sister Genevieve Michel was the first of her sex to be admitted to the SA Jockey Academy and on King Shore in 1999 she became the first female jockey to ride in the Met .
Liebenberg is determined to build his own reputation to at least the level of his sister’s.
When the restaurant management asked him how much he wanted for the photo, he said that they could have it for nothing if they included his name in the caption.
It will be there for decades to come.