While Vaughan Marshall’s exciting Gold Medallion winner Always In Charge was a notable absentee from the R600 000 Gr2 Golden Horseshoe line-up, Justin Snaith grabbed the limelight and hailed what looks to be a member of the new generation Snaith Racing attack.
A classy son of sire sensation Zoffany, Zodiac Ruler was super impressive in disposing of a decent bunch of his contemporaries.
Many will be wondering where the Snaith team pulled this bullet from.
The Australian-bred made a low-key winning poly debut just a fortnight earlier at 14-1 and on Saturday was easy to back again.
After a slow start and lagging at the tail, Richard Fourie set the son of Zoffany alight at the 300m and in a matter of strides he cut them down.
To add insult to the defeated, Snaith confirmed that he had not even had the well-related youngster on the grass!
“I know some of my colleagues would have tuned their charges for this race, but we have hardly done anything with Zodiac Ruler – and that is what makes him so exciting,” said the former SA champion trainer, who enjoyed a bit of a rough day overall – like so many of us!
“It is really so competitive on a big day like this,” he quipped.
And Zodiac Ruler provided the unexpected bright light on a programme that promised so much – beyond It’s My Turn (also in the Fred Crabbia silks) running a gallant fourth in the Vodacom Durban July.
Zodiac Ruler won like a colt headed in the right direction and came home effortlessly under a kind ride to beat Misty Birnam by 1,50 lengths in a time of 82,23 secs.
Paul Gadsby’s longshot Gunner was a further 0,25 lengths away in third, with Buffalo Soldier a well beaten fourth.
The previously unbeaten Palladium was in the back seat with Zodiac Ruler for much of the race, and made up lengths to grab fifth. He looks a colt with classic aspirations and is likely to be most effective at a mile plus.
A disappointing effort was that of former PE runner Oomph who was purchased as a three time unbeaten 2yo out of the Alan Greeff yard. The son of Tiger Ridge ran stone last.
It was good to see Richard Fourie winning a big one. He obviously enjoyed what he felt.
“To lose ground and still win at this level – you have to mark them down as something special. Well done to the whole team,” he said.
Justin Snaith said that owner Fred Crabbia loves coming to Durban and that he was thrilled to give the top international owner a feature winner.
Zodiac Ruler was purchased by Paul Lafferty for A$17 000 off the Magic Millions 2014 Gold Coast National Weanling Sale and is a half-brother to this season’s brilliant Australian Gr3 winning filly Almighty Girl.
He is the seventh winner for Last Tycoon (IRE) mare Sybarite, a sibling to SA champion filly and five time Gr1 winner Laisserfaire, as well as stakes-winners A Time for Julia, Time Thief, Foreplay and Personify.
He is the sixth Southern Hemisphere-bred winner for Dansili’s Gr1 winning son Zoffany, who is not returning to Coolmore this year.
He was offered by Far End on the 2015 CTS Ready To Run Sale where he was sold to John Freeman for R450 000.
Zodiac Ruler has now won 2 races from 2 starts and his stakes tally stands at R425 000.
Put this one on the ‘to-follow’ list!
Gr2 Golden Horseshoe (SAf-Gr2)
Greyville, South Africa, July 2, R600k, 1400m, turf, good, 1.22.23
1 – ZODIAC RULER (AUS), 60.0, b c 2, Zoffany (IRE) – Sybarite (AUS) by Last Tycoon (IRE). Owner Mr A L A Crabbia; Breeder bred in Australia; trainer J Snaith; jockey R Fourie
2 – Misty Birnam (SAF), 60.0, gr c 2, Toreador (IRE) – In The Mist (SNL) by Verglas (IRE)
3 – Gunner (SAF), 60.0, b g 2, Gimmethegreenlight (AUS) – Play Nice (SAF) by Captain Al (SAF)
Margins: 1.50, 0.25, 2.00