Guineas Drama – On And Off The Track

Emotions run high after last SA Gr1 of the year

Can horseracing learn from Formula 1 racing? Are we not saying the things that need to be said?

When Max Verstappen claimed his first world title in controversial circumstances at the Abu Dhabi grand prix just over a week ago, a social media firestorm was ignited.

But at least we heard a dimension of both sides and more, with Hamilton and Verstappen supporters venting their anger and opinion, with even a major brand like Mercedes throwing themselves into the melee in an objection at the risk of a public mauling.

The matter was resolved hours later – unlike in horseracing, where process tends to drag.

Jono Snaith, Nic Jonsson and Justin Snaith lead the Guineas winner as Anton Marcus raises his arms in triumph (Pic -Chase Liebenberg)

Saturday’s Cape Guineas has come and gone and the result is in the frame.

It was won by a magnificent son of Twice Over bred by stalwarts Henry and Patricia Devine.

South African champion trainer Justin Snaith saddled the winner after an eleven year hiatus. It was a first Cape Guineas success for KZN owner, Nic Jonsson.

Anton Marcus was registering his 109th Gr1 success to underscore his status as one of the greats of the saddle.

But the storm that erupted afterwards as a result of an incident in the home straight has been the subject of various inquiries to the Sporting Post today, and was also illustrated by a cartoon disseminated by the International Racing Club on their platforms on Sunday.

Our readers ask why they have read nothing of the incident and why in South Africa, hearings are not held on the day, with swift justice, the key, and whether the rules are framed in such a way as to allow experienced jockeys to take advantage?

It was in the equivalent race won by Foreign Ambassador at Milnerton some 39 years ago in a field labelled one of the strongest of the classic’s history that a young Jeff Lloyd caused an accident that left two riders, including Freddie Macaskill, falling and from which the future champion learnt a rich lesson.

Jeff Lloyd – learnt the hard way


“Most young sportsman don’t know how to deal with the lows when things go wrong. I was no different when my hot, inexperienced head got the better of me in the Cape Guineas riding Wolf Power when I brought down two horses and received a six month ban. Thankfully Ricky Maingard stuck by me and kept me focussed. He put me back on Wolf Power in a Gr1 my first meeting back, despite the owners wanting Michael Roberts. Of course the Wolf won by 5 lengths,” the Guv told the Sporting Post some years ago.

Chairman of the Cape Stipendiary Board Ernie Rodrigues responded to a general enquiry from the Sporting Post with regard to same day findings, and said that the practicalities and time limitations on a raceday prevented a matter such as that which occurred on Saturday, being given adequate space.


“Legal procedure, natural justice and ensuring that the defendant is given every fair and reasonable opportunity to properly answer the case are at the core of our processes,” he said.

When questioned regarding the fundamentals, Mr Rodrigues said that the interference in the race and the conduct inquiry relating to events after the race, would be dealt with independently as two seperate hearings.

The Sporting Post learns that owners, trainers and jockeys were involved in the incident afterwards with calls to end alleged dangerous riding made more vocal by the Sha Tin incident of just over a week ago, where four jockeys – including SA Champion Lyle Hewitson – could well have been badly maimed or killed had things turned out differently.

Equus Award-winning journalist David Thiselton writes on that, not for the first time this season a race  was marred by interference and an inquiry will be held to establish why Universal was carried outward in Saturday’s Cape Guineas, thus causing him to make contact with the favourite Trip Of Fortune and resulting in both horses becoming severely unbalanced.

Anton Marcus took Double Superlative up towards the front from a tricky draw of twelve out of 16 and on the turn managed to slot in behind his long-striding pace-making stablemate Pomp And Power, who had substitute rider Craig Bantam up.

Marcus was patient in the straight and crept up under the hands. However, he might well have landed himself in hot water with the Stipendiary Stewards.

Anton Marcus charges clear on Double Superlative (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

From the only view available – no head on was broadcast and none is available on the Tellytrack archive – from the side it looks as if Marcus has allowed his mount to drift outward at the 400m mark and this movement looks to have carried Universal out on to the favourite Trip Of Fortune.

The latter was knocked sideways on to the rail and Aldo Domeyer had to stop riding him for a few strides. The dangerous situation was only alleviated when Universal was able to switch inward off the heels of Double Superlative and that was the tell tale sign that Marcus was probably not far enough clear to have made the outward movement.

The inquiry will tell whether this was another case of ‘race-riding’ gone too far.

The two effected horses would likely never have beaten the winner but might have been able to place.

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