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Justin Snaith has given a bullish forecast that his star four-year-old, Jet Dark, is ready for another big race win when he contests Saturday’s HKJC World Pools Champions Cup at HollywoodbetsGreyville.
Interviewed at Scottsville last Sunday as to the wellbeing of the second horse home in the Durban July, Snaith said: “He’s taken the race [July] well and is one for punters to follow.” That expression of confidence in the 2022 Queen’s Plate winner may well result in Jet Dark’s early price of 17-10 shortening markedly in the next three days.
S’manga Khumalo was in the saddle for the colt’s Queen’s Plate victory and Bernard Fayd’Herbe for the July, but Snaith has engaged Richard Fourie for the ride this time. Fourie has only ridden the son of Trippi three times — the last time he rode the colt was in the Gold Challenge in June 2021.
What this writer still battles to get his head around is that Jet Dark — and Captain’s Ransom for that matter — are still in the country.
Both horses received invitations — and were offered $600,000 in travelling expenses — for the Breeders Cup meeting at Keeneland in November. If they had gone into quarantine in January, they could have been with their trainer of choice in the UK by June, allowing five months to prepare for the trip to the US.
Yes, one fully understands Snaith’s viewpoint that the journey via Mauritius is too arduous, but a number of our top horses have gone that route before and proceeded to perform well.
Surely, to see your colours sported in one of the world’s best grade 1 races — with the excitement of being there — has to trump winning a grade 1 race at Greyville with a $66,000 stake.
Waiting to tackle Jet Dark on Saturday is 2021 July hero Kommetdieding, who is priced up second favourite at 5-2. This column didn’t fancy the son of Elusive Fort for the July and that assessment proved correct. He had 60kg on his back and didn’t run badly, finishing four lengths behind Sparkling Water.
If reproducing his Cape Met run (beaten three parts of a length), “Kommet” could get back to winning ways and it’s a plus that Gavin Lerena is finishing the season with a flourish.
Vaughan Marshall must have looked on in disbelief — with many others — at Linebacker’s no-show in the July. The main factor in his favour in the Cup is that he is in safe hands.
Meanwhile, Cape-based jockey Greg Cheyne has announced he will shortly be emigrating to the UK where he and his wife, Claire, have accepted positions at the stables of William Haggas in Newmarket.
Cheyne has been in the top flight of riders for many years with his two major wins coming on Big City Life in the 2009 Durban July and Whisky Baron in the 2017 Cape Met.
This season Cheyne has ridden more than 100 winners from far fewer rides than top jockeys Warren Kennedy, Richard Fourie, Keagan De Melo, S’manga Khumalo and Muzi Yeni. He is in seventh place in the national log.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.