JUSTIN SNAITH, OH SUSANNA
Nicci Garner: Trainer Justin Snaith is having a great season so far, with 19 feature-race wins to his credit, including five Grade 1 races.
To Thursday his horses had won 100 races, earning stakes of R14,870,425, excluding restricted races which do not count on the official national trainers’ log. The trainers’ championship is decided by stakes earned rather than winners.
Snaith is more than R6 million clear of ruling champion trainer Sean Tarry, who holds the records for stakes earned and number of winners in a season – R36 million and 215 respectively.
Snaith, champion trainer in 2013-14, is not intending to slow down until midnight on 31 July, the end of the current racing season, in the hopes of setting new targets for people to chase.
Two high-class three-year-old fillies have played a major role in his big-race success this season, Oh Susanna and Snowdance, who won two Grade 1 races apiece – the former taking the honours in the Cartier Paddock Stakes and then becoming the first three-year-old filly to win the Sun Met since Black Bess in 1905, and the other the World Sports Betting Fillies Guineas and the Klawervlei Majorca Stakes. Snowdance also won the Grade 2 Western Cape Fillies Championship.
Snaith’s other Grade 1 winner was Sergeant Hardy in the Betting World Cape Flying Championship. His merit rating was raised to 117 from 112, but Snaith is “happy to have him that high because we love him – the higher he goes the more proud we are of him. His heart is a 125!”
He is ecstatic about his success so far. “I had a dream Cape season,” the popular trainer said. “Brett Crawford had this kind of season last year.”
Oh Susanna, Snowdance and Sergeant Hardy, as well as Snaith’s other Cape season campaigners, are on a three-week holiday and will be brought back into training towards the end of the month with a Durban campaign in mind.
He is taking time to map out their schedules and nothing has been finalised yet.
“Oh Susanna is a tough and aggressive horse. She doesn’t relax much and is the type of horse you want to take on the boys with because she’s got the right attitude,” he said. “She’s had a very hard campaign – she had to do the impossible, be ready.
“Of course, now, because of her high merit rating, she will only contest fixed-weight races and we’re thinking about the Woolavington 2000 for her.”
He said Snowdance had not been under the same sort of pressure. “She was in cruise control. We could play with her a bit because she didn’t have to be as tough.”
She is a lot more physically mature than her contemporaries and many experts will believe she will battle as they catch up. However, Snaith refutes that. “She has a big action and a hell of a turn of foot,” he said. “She can pull at the top of the straight – she might have hit the front a bit early in the Majorca Stakes, but I like it that way because less can go wrong. Especially racing at Greyville, where they have to turn it on quickly.
“Plus, she is still lightly raced and is still running green in the straight. She’ll only get reamed up now.”
His thoughts on Snowdance include, perhaps, a run in the Fillies Sprint on Scottsville’s Day Of Speed in May – though he does confess to being “worried about the 1200m in Pietermaritzburg” – or the Daisy Fillies Guineas on to, perhaps, the Gold Challenge and/or the Garden Province Stakes.
“But these are fillies. We’re going to be doing less rather than more with them in the Durban season.”
First, though, comes the Highveld Autumn Feature Race Season and, although those plans have also not been finalised, he confirmed, “we’ll definitely be sending a horse up. And I kept a few lovely handicapped horses back for Durban. Watch this space!” (Picture: Liesl King)