No-one can accuse trainer Justin Snaith of not being bullish ahead of Saturday’s R4,25m Vodacom July and his four-year-old Do It Again duly produced the goods to record back-to-back victories in SA’s most famous race.
Snaith’s transparency with the betting public and media is something that has to be applauded and his post-race reaction was that the four-year-old now had to be regarded as “one of SA's greats”.
Whether that is true is debatable but certainly followers of Business Day were happy as the son of Twice Over was the selection ahead of Hawwaam and runner-up, Rainbow Bridge.
There is some talk about Do It Again perhaps running in Dubai, but we will have to wait and see which direction connections take with their star performer.
Jockey Richard Fourie, who won the 2014 July on Legislate on an objection, timed his finishing run to perfection and was ecstatic after the race. “This horse is simply remarkable. He definitely has big-match temperament.”
One must also congratulate Robin Bruss — one of the sport’s experts — as he bred Do It Again at his Northfields Stud. Just a pity the four-year-old is a gelding so no stud career for him!
The scratching at the start of the favourite Hawwaam was a serious blow for many punters as well as trainer Mike de Kock. However, he took the incident in a sporting manner. He told the media that he felt the vet had made the right decision in scratching the favourite.
“We still have a horse, he’ll be back. Let’s not take the glory away from Do It Again’s terrific win.”
De Kock is likely to consider the Champion Stakes for Hawwaam, but whatever the result of that race it will be a surprise if Messrs Jonsson and Kantor (owners of Do It Again) do not receive the horse of the year trophy at August’s Equus awards.
Rainbow Bridge was simply beaten by a better horse on the day but earned the runner-up cheque of R800,000. Both third-placed Twist Of Fate and fourth-placed Eyes Wide Open rewarded each-way backers with solid performances and emergency acceptor Camphoratus came home a creditable sixth.
“No one gave us a prayer despite the fact that we’d won the Empress Club Stakes, but punters collected if they backed her for a place on the tote,” commented owner, Gerald Sadleir.
While trainer Sean Tarry’s wonderful servant Legal Eagle failed to fire in Saturday's race, it was still a successful meeting for him and his chief patron, Chris Van Niekerk.
They will be particularly pleased that Eden Roc — considered the meeting's banker bet by many pundits — produced a flying finish to maintain his unbeaten record in the grade2 Golden Horseshoe.
A son of Var bred at Varsfontein Stud, Eden Roc was a shrewd purchase by Van Niekerk who picked up the colt for just R340,000 as a yearling.
While Tarry’s three-year-old Zillzaal was well supported for the Betting World 2,200m, it was stablemate Shenanigans, also racing in Van Niekerk’s colours, who came up trumps under a fine ride by Lyle Hewitson.
It was also a red-letter day for the Tobie Spies stable. It brought a team of 12 to the Greyville track and was rewarded with victories by Basilius, Cockney Pride and Van Halen.
Cockney Pride was responsible for an early exit from the Pick6 for many punters as the filly had only won a maiden race at Scottsville and was expected to battle in this stronger company.