There is nothing more heart-warming seeing a class horse come back successfully from injury, and it was very much a case of patience rewarded when Double Superlative scored a splendid win in the Gr1 World Sports Betting Cape Town Met.
Owner Nick Jonsson and the Snaith team deserve all the plaudits for persevering with the striking bay, who had proven himself one of the leading three-year-olds of the 2021-22 season by winning the Gr1 Cape Guineas and reaching the frame in both the Gr1 Cape Met and Gr1 Cape Derby.
Sadly, it all went pear-shaped when he suffered a tendon injury after his sole Durban start, a close-up fifth behind Zapatillas in the Gr2 KZN Guineas at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
That injury could have ended the talented colt’s career, not to mention a near fatal bout of colic, but thanks to the expertise of world-renowned vet Dr John McVeigh, Double Superlative eventually returned to training.
Finally, after a 16-month layoff, he made his comeback in September, having missed his entire four-year-old season.
The now five-year-old added considerable spice to an otherwise low-key Hollywoodbets Durbanville midweek meeting and acquitted himself with aplomb to finish second in his pipe opener over 1250m, a distance patently too short.
Following unplaced efforts in the Gr3 Cape Mile, Gr2 Cape Merchants and Gr1 L’Ormarins King’s Plate, it came as no surprise that he was relatively friendless in the Met market.
However, trainer Justin Snaith has always maintained that this was Double Superlative’s main mission for the summer season and the patience and belief in the horse was fully vindicated when he bounced back with a vengeance.
As he is still an entire, somewhat of a rarity these days, Double Superlative looks an attractive stallion prospect for the simple reason that he is a dual Gr1 winner and has the looks to go with it, being a big, bold individual.
Granted, his sire Twice Over is not everyone’s cup of tea, but as the sire of a Met winner, a Horse of the Year and dual Durban July winner (Do It Again), not to mention a Gr1 Cape Derby winner (See It Again) and a champion juvenile (Sand And Sea), he surely deserves more respect.
On the female side, Double Superlative is a fourth-generation Devine bred, as his first three dams were all bred by Patricia and the late Henry Devine, who acquired his fourth dam, the Drum Beat mare Heaven Help Us.
More to the point, they raced both his dam and broodmare sire Jet Master, for whom this race was a coup, as he also sired the dam of this year’s runner-up Rascallion.
The Devine’s beloved champion continues to add to the history of this hallowed race. Not only did he sire the Met winners Pocket Power (3 times), River Jetez and Past Master, he is the broodmare sire of dual victor Rainbow Bridge as well as Double Superlative and last year’s winner Jet Dark, both of whom carried the Jonsson silks.
Incidentally, Nick has an interesting connection to Jet Master: he was bred by Hugh Jonsson, a twin brother of Nick’s late father Ben!
No wonder a clearly elated breeder Patricia Devine remarked in the post-race interviews: “What a wonderful horse and a training feat of note. And do you know what I do believe made it possible? Because his grandad Jet Master was watching with Ben Jonsson and my late husband Henry, all in heaven, shouting him home.”
Double Superlative’s dam Come Fly With Me won five races and reached the frame twice in both the Gr3 Diana Stakes and Champagne Stakes.
Whereas she won up to a mile, her own sister Fly By Night proved her metier as a top-notch sprinter, scoring a career high when defeating male rivals in the final running of the Gr1 Mercury Sprint at the now defunct Clairwood racetrack, a race her sire had won in the millennium year.
She also came within a shorthead of handing the brilliant Via Africa a rare defeat in the Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint at Scottsville.
The full sisters are out of the Model Man mare Fly The Wind whilst grandam Brave The Wind is an own sister to Newmarket Guineas winner and Gr2 Dingaans third Cardinal Sin.
The female line traces to English import Mistress Gwynn, a daughter of the Hyperion horse His Highness.
A three-time winner in Britain, Mistress Gwynn added another nine sprint wins to her tally in South Africa before retiring to Noreen Stud where she produced six winners from as many foals.
Double Superlative descends from her daughter Naughty Nell and it is fascinating to note that she was by the Middle Park winner Masham, whose half-brother, the Coronation Cup winner Beau Sabreur, was sired by His Highness.
The final word goes to Justin Snaith though: “He’s the most beautiful looking horse. This is what we can breed. We might not have the biggest stud farms or the best stallions and mares, but this is what we produce, which is just so typical of South Africa.”