True Blue Susanna Snaith!

History making magic from 3yo

It took the family four decades and seven second cheques – and fifteen years on his own – but Justin Snaith probably couldn’t have scripted a greater Met icebreaking fairytale if he had written the chapter himself.

Grant van Niekerk salutes as Oh Susanna charges home (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

A first Snaith Met win, the first 3yo filly to win the Cape flagship in over a century for Justin’s top owners Drakenstein Stud – and a chance to meet one of the globe’s sporting icons in the process. It doesn’t get too much better than that!

Snaith Racing achieved their Cape summer season goal on a memorable day that incorporated a glorious Gr1 treble for the dream team.

Victory in the Gr1 Cape Flying Championship with the less than easy-breathing soldier, Sergeant Hardy, was followed by a stunning victory by Drakenstein’s newest glam galloper Snowdance (she’s good!) in the Gr1 Majorca – and then the delectable cherry on the top by the fast improving Australian-bred Oh Susanna.

Lead in smiles (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Met day dominance has become a regular activity on the Snaith marketing calendar, and they pulled off their biggest coup to date on Saturday with a smashing daughter of Street Cry.

With the race being run at weight-for-age for the first time in history, the treble L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate champion Legal Eagle was widely expected to get third time lucky. But it was not to be in a race that saw plenty of tactical jockeying for positions early on.

Top team! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Stablemate to the winner, Krambambuli led Legal Eagle at a fair gallop, with Oh Susanna tucked up in sixth, about five lengths off the leaders.

In the rush for home, Anton Marcus sent Legal Eagle down the middle as Captain America made his move slipping through the inside path.

At the 200m marker Legal Eagle was being hailed a popular winner. and had them at full stretch as Oh Susanna and Marinaresco chased hard.

The race changed complexion at the 75m marker as Oh Susanna hit the front – with Legal Eagle on the skids with the needle in the red.

This far! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

As Grant van Niekerk commenced his victory celebration four strides from the line, Piere Strydom swooped as he launched Last Winter from a hopeless looking position 10 lengths back at the 200m, to get within a half length of the winner.

The winner’s time was 123,50 secs in a race run off a muddling pace – but it wasn’t total slow motion.

The times over the past five years confirm that – Hill Fifty Four (123,93 secs), Futura (125,38 secs), Smart Call (123,17 secs), with Whisky Baron the quickest at 122,71 secs.

And despite the weight-for-age conditions, the two least experienced and progressive runners in the race finished in the top two places, showing that they are ahead of the handicapper at this stage of the game.

Last Winter, as he did in the Premier Trophy, when beaten a head by longshot Milton, took forever to get going but looks to be a major force in the KZN Champions Season. Dean Kannemeyer was also chasing a personal first Met win but would have been pleased with the smart colt’s effort – his wide gate probably the game-breaker at the end of the day.

Usain Bolt arrives (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Marinaresco improved on his fifth last year to run a gutsy third, with Legal Eagle fading late to finish fourth and 1,65 lengths off the winner.

Captain America, who was restrained just off the leaders, and only unleashed turning for home, was a quarter length behind in fifth, showing that he is not quite the powerhouse at 2000m.

Cape Winter Series champion African Night Sky loomed dangerously but never went on with it and was a neck back in sixth.

L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate runner-up Copper Force produced no kind of kick and ran 7,60 lengths back.

“It was a rough race early on and I didn’t want to bustle her. I was further back than I wanted to be but I knew she would give it to me late,” said Grant van Niekerk.

Tellytrack host Stan Elley and winning rider Grant van Niekerk (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

An elated Justin Snaith said that ‘it hasn’t sunk in yet!’

“To win it for Gaynor Rupert and Drakenstein – and to meet Usain Bolt. Oh boy! I thought we were gone in the final 400m. She had a hard race early. What a great achievement by a 3yo filly. What a great day – I’m thrilled for all of us,” he added.

The winner was bred by Drakenstein Stud and is by Street Cry out of the valuable USA six-time winner Sharp Susan (Touch Gold), who was purchased for A$1 million in foal to Street Cry in 2012.  The good news is that Sharp Susan is in foal to Galileo and will foal down in late February.

Oh Susanna has won 3 races – 2 Gr1’s – with 3 places from 8 starts for stakes of R3 773 375.

Usain Bolt couldn’t have beaten her on the day!


Gr1 Sun Met (SAf-Gr1)

Kenilworth, South Africa, January 27, R5 million, 2000m, turf, good, 2.03.05

1 – OH SUSANNA (SAF), 51.5, bl/br f 3, Street Cry (USA) – Sharp Susan (USA) by Touch Gold (USA). Owner Drakenstein Stud (Nom: Mrs G A Rupert); Breeder Drakenstein Stud; trainer J Snaith; jockey G v Niekerk
2 – Last Winter (SAF), 59.5, b c 4, Western Winter (USA) – Field Flower (SAF) by Silvano (GER)
3 – Marinaresco (SAF), 60.0, b g 5, Silvano (GER) – Gay Fortuna (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA)
Margins: 0.50, 0.75, 0.40

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