Once the Young Turk of South Africa’s trainers, Justin Snaith has long since graduated to the most senior ranks. One ambition still burns with the fire of youth, though – to be The Champion again.
Cape Town-based Snaith cracked the national championship in 2017/18, but has had to accept second spot to Joburg’s Sean Tarry in four of the last five seasons. This time around, he’s making a front-running bid to grab his second title, galloping along with more than R10 million in prize money accumulated – to Tarry’s R7.6 million and Paul Peter’s R7.1 million.
There’s a long way to go until the end of the term on July 31, with the rich KwaZulu-Natal season still to come, but Snaith has legions with bristling of firepower heading for his upcoast base at Summerveld and must be ruling favourite for the crown.
He has a good chance of boosting his numbers a smidgeon at Kenilworth on Wednesday, when an eight-race programme is staged on the summer course.
The Snaith team – with brother Jonathan and father Chris key players – look likely to start the meeting on a winning note in Race 1 with You Know Who. That’s the name of the colt that’s firm favourite for the Maiden Juvenile Plate.
You Know Who has placed second twice in two starts, so looks the right one of Snaith’s four contenders. But two-year-old races are always a bit of a toss-up and any of the backup could show sudden improvement and disrupt a well-laid plan. First-timer Serious Business, who has attracted a peppering of ante-post betting support, could be that lurker.
After giving other yards a chance in the following few races, the Snaiths are back with a vengeance in the final four of the day, Races 5 to 8, and could easily capture Jackpot 2.
In the fifth, a MR85 Handicap, they saddle four of the seven carded runners and it would be a surprise if they didn’t lead one of them into the winner’s box.
Likely favourite Royal Watch gets the attention of No 1 stable jockey Richard Fourie. This Dynasty colt has won one in five so far and last time out was third behind well-backed stable companion Somerset Maugham. Interestingly, Fourie was aboard Royal Watch that day, while Grant van Niekerk rode the winner.
Red-hot Van Niekerk partners Kariba Hall here and might steal the limelight. However, third stablemate Heartbreak Hotel, ridden by Craig Zackey, has arguably the best form of the quartet for this trip of 1800m.
The fourth team player, Destin under Robert Khathi, is a five-year-old with bags more experience than the three-year-olds and could make fools of them – and us – all.
Race 6 sees Fourie and Green Light Gal try to repeat a win over Adam Marcus-trained Brianna. The latter, a lightly-raced filly, was slow away in that defeat, so could get revenge and stymy the Snaith Jackpot bid.
Lilac Sensation takes up the fight in Race 7, with Brett Crawford’s Celtic Night the main obstacle. Giacomo Puccini looks tuned to hit the right closing note in Race 8, but faces another Marcus upstart in All About Al.
5 You Know Who, 7 Jet For Time, 4 Serious Business, 3 One Day Or Day One
1 Princess Santo, 2 After The Storm, 3 Erturul, 5 Ideal Image
2 West Coast Wonder, 1 Mr Frostie, 3 Life On Mars, 6 Africanroyaljewel
3 Galiek Yo Baby, 1 Boldly Go, 2 Alloway Grove, 4 Madeline
4 Heartbreak Hotel, 2 Night Song, 7 Flying Grace, 6 Kariba Hall
3 Brianna, 1 Green Light Gal, 5 Ohwhatanight, 7 Voice Notes
2 Lilac Sensation, 3 Celtic Night, 5 Wild Creature, 9 Miss Millstream
1 Giacomo Puccini, 5 All About Al, 3 Jean’s Man, 7 Path Of Choice
1,2,3 x 1,2,3 x 2,3,4,5,6,7 x 1,3 x 2,3,5 x 1,5 (R540)
1,2 x 1,2 x 3 x 2,4,7 x 3 x 2,3 x 1 (R240)