Hotter Than July! Shortens Into Joint Favourite For Met

Belgarion's sparkling Met prep

Despite running at what his trainer says was 85% fitness, and historically over a distance short of his best, Justin Snaith’s Vodacom Durban July winner Belgarion showed that he doesn’t like playing second fiddle – no matter the opposition.

The son of Dynasty got up in almost arrogantly unpretentious fashion to make it six wins on the roll, running a peach of a Met prep in the process, when winning the R200 000 World Sports Betting Gr2 Green Point Stakes in eyecatching style at Kenilworth on Saturday.

Belgarion (Richard Fourie) launches 150m from home as Cirillo (Lyle Hewitson) plugs away – Luke Ferraris and Rainbow Bridge are between the pair (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

On a  red letter day for the Snaith team, Belgarion (7-2) set up the final three race sweep – they got four on the afternoon – when he swept to the lead late to curtail the aspirations of the newly blinkered and game as Friday, Cirillo (8-1), who lost out on second place when the returning to action Rainbow Bridge (22-10) finally found his stride

Tarry’s Cirillo ran a gutsy 0,45 length third after doing the donkey work.

After trailing his field for much of the mile contest from a wide draw, Belgarion powered home unpunished by Fourie, to seemingly saunter to a marginally less than half victory in a time of 96,72 secs.

After looking dangerous down the inside rail, the only mare in the race Clouds Unfold (5-1) finished a not disgraced 2,70 length fourth.

In a disappointment for the Vaughan Marshall yard, Silver Operator was found striding short and withdrawn at the start.

While Richard Fourie didn’t share trainer Snaith’s modest pre-race bullish optimism, and thought that his mount would need the outing, he was full of praise for a top horse.

Belgarion (Richard Fourie) holds off Luke Ferraris and Rainbow Bridge in impressive style (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Justin said that the main thing in racing is that ‘we live in hope’.

“He came out of the Vodacom Durban July into this quality field. And he beat them. That takes some kind of horse. I’m so privileged to train horses like this. Well done the Fosters and John Freeman. And he has won six on the trot. The only time he got beaten was when Bernard Fayd’herbe rode him. But thankfully he is in Mauritius now”, he laughed.

Rainbow Bridge, who was ridden for the first time by SA Champion Apprentice Luke Ferraris, looked like he was sitting with a double handful at the 300m – but only found his stride late. He will come on with this effort.

A son of the deceased 2003 Durban July winner Dynasty (Fort Wood), Belgarion was bred by Alec Foster and is out of the lightly raced German two-time winner Riva (Acatenango) – a half sister to French Gr3 winner Oxava.

He has won 8 races with a place from 10 starts and stakes of R1 673 125.

Next stop is undecided. Justin didn’t discount the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate. But the 1800m Gr2 Premier Trophy on the same afternoon may be a better rounder for his Cape Met bid.

And he joins Summer Pudding at the top of the betting boards! Click below for more

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