They went in fully loaded with a team of five and emerged the victors in the annual racing spectacle at Greyville in Durban where they filled the first three places in the R4.25-million Vodacom Durban July.
It was mission accomplished for the powerful and very popular Justin Snaith racing team from the Cape that planned it’s July racing season in KwaZulu-Natal around Africa’s greatest racing event where jockey Anton Marcus partnered the three-year-old Twice Over gelding Do It Again that led the Snaith attack across the line ahead of Made To Conquer and Elusive Silva with race favourite African Night Sky filling fifth place.
It was a result reminiscent of the halcyon days of Terrance Millard who twice saddled the July trifecta back in the 1980’s. It was a result that confirmed the strength of the Snaith stable with Justin confirming his status as South African champion trainer elect for the current season.
It was also a result that thwarted veteran jockey Jeff Lloyd from finally adding the famous race to his portfolio. Lloyd had travelled back to South Africa from his new home in Australia for a final bid to win the race which had eluded him all his riding career. Lloyd has indicated he could be retiring at the end of the year.
But “The Guv” gave everything he had on the Dynasty gelding Made To Conquer and almost pulled it off until Marcus brought Do It Again down the outside of the field with a sustained finishing burst to snatch the glory.
Speaking after the race Marcus said he had a trouble-free run throughout and saw the favourite African Night Sky “over racing” at the head of the field which gave him confidence. Lloyd had Made To Conquer right up with the pace and the four-year-old kept going strongly to the line.
For former Highveld Triple Crown winner Abashiri, however, it could be the end of the road. He was pulled out of the race early in the home straight by jockey Piere Strydom after the five-year-old suffered a near-fore tendon injury.
The July result was an outstanding performance for the Snaith stable but the day was not without its disappointments. Their boom filly Snowdance that had been touted by the yard as virtually unbeatable in the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes, was beaten a whisker on the line, ironically by the Western Winter filly Redberry Lane from the stable of outgoing champion trainer Sean Tarry ridden by champion jockey elect, apprentice Lyle Hewitson.
The beautiful daughter of Captain Al suffered her third defeat since arriving in KwaZulu-Natal but was not disgraced and will undoubtedly prove she is the star they believe her to be in the future.
The disappointment will have slightly dampened the euphoria of the Vodacom Durban July success but they will be pleased with the quality of their racing stock and will be looking for the festival of racing on eLAN Gold Cup Day at Greyville at the end of the month.
Earlier in the day, jockey Keagan de Melo got the Querari gelding Head Honcho from the Andre Nel stable first across the line in the Grade 3 Betting World 2200, the race that traditionally hosts many runners that were not included in the premier event. The fancied Captain Al colt Crowd Pleaser had set the pace with Head Honcho in close attendance but in the final battle to the line Head Honcho just got the result.
The five-year-old Dynasty gelding It’s My Turn completed the stayers double when he stormed home under Anton Marcus to win the Grade 3 Dstv Gold Vase over 3 000m with Marcus saying afterwards that his only concern before the race was that there would not be a good pace and it would not be a true test of stamina.
Trainer Dean Kannemeyer said the five-year-old had a “touch of class” about him and had won very well.
The two Grade 2 juvenile races, the Samsung Golden Slipper for fillies and the Durban Golden Horseshoe were both won by fancied runners, the Slipper by the Sean Tarry-trained daughter of Captain Al, Celtic Sea, and the Horseshoe by the Gimmethegreenlight colt Barahin from the Mike de Kock yard.
Barahin, bred by the South African Wilgerbosdrift &Mauritzfontein operation just got the better of his more fancied stable companion Soqrat that was bred in Australia. They are both owned by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid al Maktoum and were described by De Kock as “two very good horses”. As young horses with great potential, they have bright futures and could well be sent to campaign overseas at the end of this season.
With bright sunshine and a massive crowd, Vodacom Durban July Day 2018 proved another major success with the betting turnovers on major bets reaching expected levels in spite of the current quieter economic conditions.