When You’re Hot, You’re Hot!

Fourie and Snaith lead the way on great afternoon

While they have had theirs ups and downs like all champions, there is no question that Richard Fourie and Justin Snaith will go down in history as one of SA racing’s most effective trainer-jockey combinations of the 21st century.

The duo look set for a big bid at winning their fifth Cape Fillies Guineas title after the royally-bred Varsfontein flagbearer Ciao Bella made short work of her opposition to win Saturday’s R400 000 Gr2 Western Cape Fillies Championship.

Captain’s Ransom (2020), In The Fast Lane (2013), Sparkling Gem (2008)and Captain’s Lover (2007) span 15 illustrious years for the combination, and the Varsfontein team will fancy that Ciao Bella could make it five.

Richard Fourie and Ciao Bella storm to victory in the Gr2 feature at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

The Winning Form-sponsored Fourie scoffed at suggestions from on-course presenter Fiona Ramsden earlier on in the beautiful afternoon that he was ‘on fire’. But ‘Dutchy’ isn’t a fishing for compliments kind of professional on an average day and he left Hollywoodbets Kenilworth with five well taken winners, that included a composed effort on the exciting grey.

With the luck of the barrier gates playing against some of the leading contenders, there would have been a few hard-luck stories, but none that could detract from Ciao Bella running a dream Fillies Guineas prep.

She was unleashed from some way off the gallop by Fourie, and as she gained momentum into the final stages the top jockey’s body language spoke of something special under him. Fourie conceded afterwards that he may be listening to Justin Snaith with more regularity, as he personally had thought of Ciao Bela as a sprinter.

“I obviously got that wrong!” he laughed.

At the line, Ciao Bella (2-1), who clocked 85,75 secs for the 1400m, was three quarters of a length ahead of a game Time Fo Orchids (20-1), who was having her first run for the Vaughan Marshall yard. The daughter of Time Thief would have done her Gold Rush aspirations no harm firth a gutsy run from her 12 gate.

Gimme’s Lassie (8-1) moved up dangerously, albeit a bit early, and was not disgraced in third, ahead of a flying Golden Hostess (7-1). The daughter of Gold Standard made up plenty of ground late after being dropped right out from her terrible draw, to grab fourth and only 1,35 lengths off the winner.

A memorable day – and Richard Fourie’s face says it all! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

A daughter of champion Gimmethegreenlight, Ciao Bella is out of Equus Champion Bela-Bela (Dynasty), a daughter of one of 2016/17 Equus Champion Broodmare of the Year and one of the greatest mares in the South African stud book in Mystic Spring.

A beautiful grey flyer, Bela-Bela only managed a fifth place in the 2015 Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas behind Silver Mountain but certainly lived up to her pedigree as a racehorse and was voted Equus Champion 3YO Filly in 2015/16 with 7 wins (including 3 Gr1’s) and R2 636 875 in stakes.

Ciao Bella has now 3 races with 1 place from her 5 starts for stakes of R359 375.

She now heads for the R1 million WSB Cape Fillies Guineas at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on 3 December. It’s set to be a vintage renewal judging by what we saw of the best of the Cape on Saturday. Then there are a few up-country prospects in the wings too. Mouthwatering stuff for Cape Racing and their growing legion of fans.

Entries for the classic close at 11h00 on Monday 21 November. Supplementary entries close at 11h00 on Friday 25 November. Declarations are due by no later than 11h00 on Monday 28 November.

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