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Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP
Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP

Justin Snaith staged his own version of the “July gallops” at Kenilworth last week and it raises the question: was he sending a message to bookmakers and trainer Paul Peter? 

Snaith, the ruling champion trainer, will not have enjoyed the media coverage Peter received when he recently moved into the lead in the championship race.

The discussion of his large number of Durban July hopefuls — aired on Racing 240 — will have been welcomed by those racing fans who like an early dip in the ante-post market.

If one checks the market on the Durban July — now sponsored by Hollywoodbets — it shows six Snaith horses quoted at 25-1 or less.

The sextet are Double Superlative, Jet Dark, Pomp And Power, Hoedspruit, Warrior and dual winner Do It Again.

Listening to Snaith’s comments on horses put through their paces by several top jockeys including Anton Marcus and S'manga Khumalo, three horses who look probable July starters are Double Superlative, Pomp And Power and Hoedspruit.

Double Superlative: After winning the Cape Guineas, Snaith admitted the Twice Over colt ran “flat” in the Met but Marcus appeared pleased with his workout.

Jet Dark: There was a hint the Queen’s Plate victor might miss the July with Snaith saying his intended programme was the Drill Hall Stakes and Gold Challenge. Of course, this writer is not alone in believing the horse should be in the US preparing for the Breeders Cup in November.

Hoedspruit: Snaith said punters would be advised to take some of the 20-1 available for the Durban July. Reaction from bookmaker Lance Michael: “He’s 25-1 with us — and not for me. Hoedspruit will be well weighted in the older horse category, but lacks the class of the past winners in the same category — Belgarion, Power King, The Conglomerate and Grey’s Inn. It’s not cut and dried for any trainer, but Snaith has the pick of the bunch. Hoedspruit could be the weakest of that bunch.” 

Do It Again: The stable stalwart with two July wins to his credit but rather like some of the older players in the Masters, time is catching up and — if he does run — he looks unlikely to do a Noble Yeats (50-1 winner of Saturday’s Grand National).

Pomp And Power: Snaith says the Cape Derby winner is likely to go the KZN Guineas, Daily News 2000 and Durban July route. This column gives him a serious each-way chance after good runs in the Cape Guineas (second to Double Superlative) and fifth place (beaten three lengths) in the Queen's Plate.

Warrior: This Futura gelding has rewarded his mainly Irish owners with a number of gutsy wins, but a possible July winner, sorry no. Beaten 11 lengths by stablemate Jet Dark in the Queen’s Plate and not certain to get the trip.

With this year’s Durban July carrying a gross purse of R5m, Peter, who doesn’t have a major hope in the race, will know Snaith is likely to win the famous race for the sixth time if one of his team emerges victorious.

Even so, Peter is churning out winners on the highveld like the Rowntree factory churns out Quality Street chocolates in York. The Turffontein trainer will probably have watched the Racing 240 insert on the Snaith gallops and might say: “Like Liverpool in the Premier League, we are still in the race.”

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