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Snaith Machine Kicks Into Top Gear

Snaith Racing - big plans over the next four months

Former SA champion sprinter Rio Querari was Justin Snaith’s most recent assault on a Grade 1 prize on the Highveld. The speed demon emerged victorious in the Gr1 Computaform Sprint in the shadowy Covid days of 2021.

On Champions Day at Turffontein on Saturday the top team tackle the R2 million World Pool Gr1 Premiers Champions Challenge with the WSB Cape Town Met third-placer, Without Question.

Justin Snaith receives his WSB Cape Town Met trophy from Bob Yearham (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

“We raided from Summerveld with Rio Querari, but Without Question has been in Johannesburg with Alec Laird for some time,” explains stable spokesman Jonathan Snaith as he points out that ‘it is an open race’.

He says that Nic Jonsson’s 4yo son of The United States is tough and talented, but likely to need the run after a ten week break since running a gutsy1,65 lengths off Double Superlative in the Cape flagship on 27 January.

“Rachel Venniker knows him well and she really has come on leaps and bounds as a jockey with tons of promise. It’s a decent stake and it’s worthwhile giving him a chance. He should enjoy the long run-in and won’t disgrace himself,” adds Snaith, who confirms that Without Question will join their Summerveld string afterwards, with a possible eye on the Hollywoodbets Durban July.

Without Question – Justin’s first Highveld Gr1 runner in three years! (Pic – Chase Liebvenberg)

The yard is certainly in red-hot form and all set for a fifth national champion trainer title this season as they head the national stakes log by over R4 million. And they demonstrated their SA Champions Season intentions in no uncertain terms this past weekend.

The Snaith Racing machine have kicked into top gear over three recent meetings with a 50%-win strike-rate in two provinces, and it’s hardly surprising to hear top jockey Richard Fourie urging Joe Public to include all of their runners in all calculations.

After Double Grand Slam’s eyecatching victory at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday in the Gr3 Umzimkhulu Stakes, and a 100% strike treble in the KZN Capital City on Monday, the Snaith team are all set for a massive final four months of what could be a record season.

Jonathan Snaith

Speaking to the Sporting Post on Tuesday, Jonathan Snaith explained that their 22 strong raiding string had arrived early in March, in contrast to what was a low-key 2023 SA Champions Season on the East Coast.

“Our owners and their horses are the lifeblood of our business,  and we have to race where they are likely to enjoy the opportunity of gaining the optimal return on their investment. Last season Gold Circle posted an announcement about the Champions Season stakes increases on 16 March, after we had already made plans to reduce our traditional assault on the big season. This year we are determined to show our support for Hollywoodbets and Greg Bortz, who collectively have been gamechangers down in the Cape,” confirmed Snaith.

Justin is always focussed on winning the Hollywoodbets Durban July and is poised for his sixth trophy which will take him a step closer to Syd Laird’s record of 7 winners in the great race.

“We have Mucho Dinero and Future Swing pencilled in as our July horses, amongst others, and they will go the traditional 1900 and Cup Trial route into the race,” he added.

He observes that their 22 strong raiding party is a nice mix of all ages and sexes.

“Our first runner Triple Time was in need of it and found it a bit short when running on well for second at Hollywoodbets Scottsville last Wednesday. He will be targetted at the staying races, but could also turn out to be a July horse, who knows?”

He says that One Way Traffic is back, and he will also be aimed at the staying races, while Royal Aussie will go for the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge and the Champions Cup. Amongst the 3yo males,  they have the two Monday winners, Lightning Glow and Get Impressed, together with the recently gelded The Grey King,  who are Daily News candidates.

“Then there is also Hluhluwe who looks a Guineas and Daily News prospect, while Snow Pilot could be targeted at the Guineas and the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge. Double Grand Slam won really nicely on Sunday and she will go to the Guineas, while Baltic Sea and Kwinta’s Light will be aimed at the SA Fillies Sprint.  Amongst our youngsters, Impact Investor, Dark Winter, Makazole and Great Plains, are all progressive individuals. That’s just an idea of some of the firepower in our arsenal, and, as always, plans are fluid,” he added.

Justin Snaith and Cape Racing Chairman Greg Bortz (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

On the all-important topic of stakes, he said that the renaissance of Cape Racing after so many years, sees two Cape trainers at the top of the national log.

Justin Snaith’s runners have earned R14 501 613, while Milnerton resident Candice Bass-Robinson is in second position on R10 715 663, per close on Monday.

“For years the Cape was on the wrong side of the stakes queue and we can see the difference the numbers make when looking at the national log today. We understand that this is a transitional period for KZN racing ahead of the red-tape processes and Competition Commission ratification, and we really want to show our support and be a part of the Champions Season.”

Jono went on to add that the impact of the out of season stakes differential was illustrated by a feature like the Listed WSB Sledgehammer Stakes at Hollywoodbets Scottsville, which is to be run for a stake of R150 000 on 14 April, versus a maiden in Cape Town on Tuesday for R135 000.

Emblem of power (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

He said that the recent groundbreaking news of reinstatement of direct exports of registered equines from South Africa to the EU would add impetus to the momentum of all the innovation and changes for the good which are being being introduced by Hollywoodbets and Greg Bortz.

“I don’t think this news could have come at a better time and we have ideals to take Team SA to the world. As part of our plans, you will have noted that we have brought in former Zimbawe Champion trainer Gokhan Terzi to join our team. Gokhan is an experienced professional, whom we believe represents our values of integrity, a love of the horse, and customer service of the highest calibre. Gokhan has fitted in seamlessly, and the future really looks exciting!”

Richard Fourie – will get his chances (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

As regards jockeys, Jono tells that Grant van Niekerk will be travelling up to KZN, and will partner their feature runners, together with Richard Fourie, and with Sean Veale playing a valued support role.

“Richard (Fourie) played open cards with us at the beginning of this season and informed us that he would be chasing the championship. When he is available, we will be making use of him and we are in full support of assisting his chase of the 334 Anthony Delpech record. The hard-working Sean Veale has been an asset, and we are giving him opportunities as they arise in both regions.”

In closing, Jono had a suggestion that he felt would benefit the racing public and the connections of visiting horses in all provinces.

“When an out-of-province horse, for example like Lightning Glow who started at 4-10, has never run at the relevant track previously, it would be a plus that we as trainers be allowed to show the horse the track. Even by way of a 400m canter. They are creatures of habit, and it would make a big difference – especially with fancied horses, whose form and mindset could be adversely impacted by the strange surroundings. I think the punting public would take comfort in knowing that a fancied runner has at least seen the course previously.”

We put the idea to Gold Circle Racing Executive Raf Sheik, who confirmed that Hollywoodbets Scottsville was open for gallops after racemeetings and the next business day.

“The Hollywoodbets Greyville turf track has been reduced, as you are aware. From 18m of rail, we now have 6m. So, while we permit Gr1 and Gr2 race candidates, who have not seen the track, to gallop there, we are not in a position unfortunately tp open it up completely. But, at the same instance, trainers are welcome to use the polytrack, as they may require it,” added Sheik.

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2 comments on “Snaith Machine Kicks Into Top Gear

  1. Neill De Bruyn says:

    Thanks for the Snaith article mr Ed.
    Justin generally does’nt reveal much (if anything) about the stable’s runners on social media, he just posts congratulatory comments about his winners! .

  2. Barry Macgyver says:

    I disagree …Justin is always transparent about his runners

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