Duke first in line for Beauty
PUBLISHED: August 20, 2014
Beach Beauty will be covered early in September by Duke Of Marmalade and so will her former Dennis Drier-trained stable companion and now paddock companion Schiffer.
The former pair are two of Drakenstein Stud’s most prized recent purchases and look to be the perfect match.
Beach Beauty, known sometimes as the Pocket Rocket, was evergreen and won three Gr 1s last season as a six-year-old to increase her career tally to five.
Her suitor, who is by Danehill and is now ten-years-old, earned worldwide fame as a four-year-old in 2008 when winning five Gr 1s on the trot in France, Ireland and England.
These included the prestigious Prince Of Wales Stakes over ten furlongs and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes over twelve furlongs, both at Ascot, as well as the Juddmonte International Stakes over ten furlongs which was run at Newmarket that year.
One of his wins was on firm ground and two on good to firm, so he should be ideal for South Africa’s general fast conditions.
Furthermore, the progeny of Danehill’s offspring, bought mainly from Australia, have done very well in South Africa. This year for example two daughters of his son Rock Of Gibraltar, Alboran Sea and Rich Girl, finished first and second in the Gr 1 Allan Robertson Championship and less than an hour later Guiness, who is by Rock of Gibraltar’s son Seventh Rock, won the Gr 1 Tsogo Sun Medallion.
Beach Beauty is by the top local sire Dynasty, who received the “Outstanding Stallion” prize at the recent Equus Awards, having also produced the Horse Of The Year, Legislate, as well as Gr 1 winner Futura. His progeny won seven Gr 1s between them this season.
John Bescoby, a member of the Shanks syndicate that raced Beach Beauty, paid tribute to the great mare recently, saying, “What I will remember most about her is that whenever she lost, she never lost by far and she also must be the only horse in history to have defended her crowns in all of the Gr 1 Paddock Stakes, the Gr 2 Drill Hall Stakes and Gr 1 Garden Province Stakes. She just never let her supporters down and whenever she had “meeting banker” status she delivered.”
Drier said that the build up to her last event, the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes on Vodacom Durban July day this year, had been nerve-wracking and will always be the race he most remembers. He revealed, “I was told that Hammie’s Hooker was unbeatable.” Drier had obviously wanted her to go out on a high note and victory had also been particularly important because the decision had been made by the connections to avoid the July. Furthermore, whether it was due to Drier’s nervousness being mis-interpreted or just one of those inexplicable racing phenomenons, a rumour had spread like wildfire on the Friday before the race that not all was well with Beach Beauty.
Drier recalled, “Gill (his wife) and I were both at the Sales and within a few minutes of each other we received phonecalls enquiring whether Beach had a problem. The rumours were completely false. She had never been better, but it added to the pressure, especially when she began drifting in the betting and Hammie’s Hooker began shortening.” She proved the rumours wrong by putting in one of the performances of her career, finding another gear to repel Hammie’s Hooker’s threatening challenge and jockey Sean Cormack could afford to wave to the crow before the line.
She won by 0,75 lengths with two Guineas winners beaten 5,75 and 8 lengths respectively. Drier’s post-race words in her final season usually included the phrase, “She was just too good”, because by the end of her career there were no more superlatives left to describe her. She had a perfect racing temperament, as gentle as a lamb in her stable, but one that always relished her work and her races. She was bred by the late Trevor Armitage and his practice of letting them loose on the farm no doubt contributed to her always being tough and as sound as a bell. However, she will most be remembered for her early speed, her devastating turn of foot and her ability to fine another gear when challenged.
Another phenomenon has been occurring at Drakenstein in the paddocks as Schiffer has for some reason become fiercely protective of the tiny Beach Beauty. They never stabled together at Drier’s Summerveld yard, but Drakenstein’s stud manager Ross Fuller put them in a paddock together when they arrived at the farm. When they were later moved into a more populated paddock, Schiffer would chase any other mare that came close to Beach Beauty off before returning to her side.”
Schiffer, who has just turned five, is by another outstanding stallion in Var and was retired for the reason that Drier said he felt he would not be able to keep her sound for yet another season. She was at one stage thought to be the successor to her great stablemate and paternal half-sister Val De Ra, but chipped a knee as an early three-year-old, which put her out for nearly a year. She ended up being a five-time winner from just ten starts and achieved deserved bold black type in her last race when winning a Listed event over 1000m at Greyville on Gold Cup day.
Snaith praises championship winning team
PUBLISHED: August 18, 2014
(4 August 2014)
Trainer Justin Snaith achieved a lifetime ambition in the season just past by landing the National Trainer’s Championships.
He became the first Western Cape trainer since Terrance Millard in 1990 to land the title and it comes fourteen years after the now 39-year-old took over the reins from his stalwart father Chris.
Justin never fails to point out that his success relies on a team effort.
In fact, the setup of the Snaith yard is a model that all ambitious trainers could learn from an aspire to.
Justin’s mother Sue explained how it works.
“Justin does the manual work, the training, the horse care and the stable management. He was virtually born in the stable and has had a rapport with animals his whole life. He loves them and has naturally become an outstanding horseman. He went over to Australia as a youngster where he was assistant to the top trainer David Hayes. That gave him a very good grounding and reference. However, the backbone of the yard is really Jonathon (Justin’s older brother). He is the brains behind it and it takes a lot of brains to put it all together. He has a degree in accountancy, so does all the books and the paper work for the Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban yards. His other field of expertise is marketing, so he does all of that, such as the Facebook page, and also takes care of client relations. He always gives 110% and also helps Gaynor Rupert market the L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate. Chris and myself fill in the gaps in the yard. We also offer advice and they sometimes take it or sometimes don’t. For the sales, Jonathon, Chris, myself and John Freeman sit down together and select our top 20. We then have them vetted and are hopefully able to buy them. Horses don’t know their cost and the ones we select come at all different prices. In fact Legislate only cost R100,000. Jonathon passed his trainer’s exam exceptionally well, so could be a good trainer in his own right. He has filled in for Justin on occasion. However, the pair of them work together very well as brothers, which is unusual. They get on together like best friends. They have really taken the yard to a new level.”
The Snaiths fell six winners short of the magic 200 mark this past season and four short of their own record of 198 set the previous season.
They will once again be lamenting the harshness of the Cape’s winter weather, for in the previous season a Durbanville meeting was abandoned in the final week and this year the Kenilworth meeting on the last Saturday, for which they had assembled a big team, went the same way.
However, they will no doubt relish the challenge of trying to pass that elusive mark this season and like all champions of their respective professions would not have dwelled on the success of last season for more than a celebratory day or two.
Before the Daily News 2000 meeting at Greyville, Snaith was just over 560,000 clear of his nearest protagonist Geoff Woodruff, and Sean Tarry was hot on their heels.
However, Snaith then won both the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 with Legislate, the Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 with In The Fast Lane and then five weeks later the big one, the Vodacom Durban July, with Legislate.
He ended the season on earnings of R19,490,725, close to R5 million clear of Woodruff.
The yard’s earnings were well short of Mike de Kock’s 2009/2010 season record of R22,191,845.
However, it has traditionally become difficult for non-Highveld based trainers to win the title, as the difficulty of raiding high altitudes means that trainers with Highveld bases tend to have their big money races in the Autumn to themselves.
Justin was recently praised by a colleague in the training ranks for his tremendous capacity for work.
His demeanour at Clairwood during this year’s Champions Season was one of unstinting focus. He was clearly determined to keep the title firmly in his grasp.
Consistently this season he has blamed himself for the disappointing runs of some of his leading horses, and without exception they have bounced back to their best within a run or two.
Like all champions in the sporting world he learns from his mistakes rather than denies them and prefers to accept responsibility rather than make excuses.
Snaith is also able to bounce back from setbacks.
He didn’t dwell for long on the shockingly bad luck his fancied runner Jet Explorer suffered when brought down in the Rising Sun Gold Challenge.
This horse was strongly fancied that day and what made it a lot worse was that it put Snaith’s stable jockey Richard Fourie out for most of the rest of the season, just when it looked possible that he could make a bid for the Jockey’s Championship.
Fourie was a vital party of the Snaith success and, like many South African jockeys before him, matured into the complete rider after a stint in Hong Kong.
He is now truly world class and a sign of his high level of professionalism was that his finely conditioned physique likely prevented any serious long term injury after that shocking fall at Clairwood.
The Snaith’s professional approach could see them gain a grip on the Championship that Mike de Kock, who is concentrating his efforts abroad these days, had over the previous few years and they will be the yard to beat again this season.
Big day for Lafferty and Son
PUBLISHED: August 10, 2014
27 July 2014
Summerveld trainer Paul Lafferty landed the second Gr1 of his career at the Super Saturday meeting at Greyville this weekend when the richly deserving Harry’s Son won the Gr1Premier Champions Stakes over 1600m under Piere Strydom and the Australian-bred looks likely to land the Equus Award for Champion two-year-old male.
Lafferty’s words during the week that having Piere Strydom was always “a big plus” were proved accurate in more ways than one.
Before reaching the start the colt pulled a shoe so awkwardly that it spread outwards and the nails were exposed.
However, the danger of injuring himself was averted by Strydom’s quick thinking.
Upon looking down and seeing the potential calamity, Strydom immediately jumped off his mount and stood on the shoe, which caused it be pulled off completely.
Before that hiccup the Australian-bred colt had been the outstanding individual in the canter past, as he was unmistakeably in the mint of condition and strode out beautifully with his gliding like action.
Harry’s Son had been most unlucky in both of his previous two starts in the Gr1 Tsogo Sun Medallion over 1200m and the Gr1 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m and his connections might have been excused for thinking history was about to repeat itself.
Horses often don’t return as well after being reshod, but this horse clearly has a superb temperament and he took it in his stride.
Part-owner Phil Georgiou quipped later, “Even Hussain Bolt needs re-spiking!”
KZN’s on course farrier Sean Leslie has a high pressure job, as the re-shodding needs to be done as quickly as possible and he obviously did a fine job in this case.
Harry’s Son settled beautifully in the running in midfield and then showed his usual fantastic turn of foot in the straight.
He kept going strongly after hitting the front and kept challengers on the inside and outside at bay.
The Mike de Kock-trained Jayyed was widely drawn and came from last to run a fine second, beaten just a neck, while his stablemate Anjaal and an unlucky Vaughan Marshall-trained MLJet finished a head further back in joint third. The Glen Kotzen-trained Light The Lights ran a cracker to be just a length back in fifth.
Harry’s Son’s will compete with the other Gr1 male winners, the Dennis Drier-trained Guiness and the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Afrikaburn, for the Equus Champion two-year-old colt/gelding award.
Guiness and Afrikaburn both beat Harry’s Son when winning their respective Gr1s in the Medallion and Golden Horseshoe, but they were both unplaced in their only subsequent Gr1 outings, with Harry’s Son ahead of them. Therefore, Harry’s Son’s two Gr1 thirds will likely swing the scale in his favour.
Afrikaburn went into Saturday’s race unbeaten in three starts, but ran below par and could only manage eighth.
Harry’s Son’s sire Haradasun was a three-time Gr1 winner and among them was a victory in the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot.
Bloodstock agent James Bester chose him at a Magic Millions Sale in Australia and Lafferty put the syndicate together.
The owners are Roy Moodley, Phil Georgiou, Mr and Mrs Doug Steyn, DA Maisenbacher, MM Bilro and A Bilro.
Harry’s Son is improving continuously as he strengthens and apparently went into Saturday’s race 15kg heavier than his previous outing.
He looks unlikely to just end up as a precocious two-year-old so a lot more will be heard of him.
Picture: Nkosi Hlophe
Jet Master back on top
PUBLISHED: August 4, 2014
(4 August 2014)
Ada van der Bent
At Greyville on Saturday, Justin Snaith and S’Manga Khumalo were officially crowned the season’s champion trainer and jockey, while Klawervlei Stud finally ended Summerhill’s stranglehold on the champion breeders’ title. As for the champion stallion, add to that the name of Jet Master.
Despite his untimely passing in 2011, the ill-fated champion regained the crown he relinquished to Silvano in 2012-13 and such has been his dominance at the top of the sires log, he had wrapped up his seventh sires title in eight years half-way through the season. Acknowledged as the most successful South African-bred stallion of all time, he will finish the season with earnings close on R20-million, more than R4-million clear of runner-up Dynasty. He would arguably have broken the existing stakes record of just under R21-million set by Silvano were it not for the misfortune of losing top prospects Yorker (exported), Master Of My Fate and Jet Explorer (both injured) during the second half of the season.
On Saturday, Jet Master capped a memorable season when two daughters Jet Belle and Jet Aglow fought out the finish to the Gr 2 Golden Bracelet at Greyville. The pair features amongst a splendid haul of 16 individual stakes winners this past season for their late sire, the standouts amongst which are Gr 1 winners Yorker, In The Fast Lane and Fly By Night, who between them, accounted for six top level victories.
Yorker stamped himself a genuine candidate for Horse of the Year honours with a Gr 1 treble in the Sansui Summer Cup, Champions Challenge and H F Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes, in addition to which he was runner-up in the Gr 1 J&B Met and in his final South African start, ran third in the Gr 1 Gold Challenge.
In The Fast Lane looks a shoo in for the champion three-year-old filly of the Year award, having garnered a Gr 1 double in the Gr 1 Cape Fillies Guineas and Woolavington 2000, prior to finishing a creditable fifth in the Vodacom Durban July.
The year-older Fly By Night improved dramatically in the latter part of the season when she put up two stellar performances during the KZN winter season. The Mike Bass-trained miss came within a shorthead of handing likely sprint champion Via Africa a rare defeat in the Gr 1 SA Fillies Sprint at Scottsville and proved that was no fluke when she flew to victory in the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint at Clairwood. On that occasion, she defeated veteran Copper Parade, who had previously lowered the colours of Via Africa in Turffontein’s Gr 1 Computaform Sprint.
Judging by Saturdays’ Gold Cup meeting, Jet Master should continue to cast a long shadow over the South African racing industry.
Juvenile sons Jayyed and Mljet did their sire proud when involved in a blanket finish to the Gr 1 Premiers Champion Stakes. The former, still a maiden, went down by a shorthead, while a wide draw arguably cost the hitherto unbeaten MLJet a chance at victory, having to come from virtually last at the top of the straight to deadheat for third, just a head behind the first two. Both colts look set to make their presence felt at three.
Likewise, the filly Jet Set Go, also a member of her sire’s final crop, rates a fine classic prospect after showing her male rivals a clean pair of heels in the recent Gr 3 Champion Juvenile Cup in just her second start.
Amongst the older brigade, Jet Belle is rumoured to stay in training, as will this season’s Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 third Touching Sky. Add to that Gr 2 winner Master Sabina, stakes winning miler Lockheed Jetstar, the stayer Storm Warning and exciting sand prospect Jet Jamboree, all of whom will continue to keep their late sire’s name in the limelight.
Khumalo a true champion
PUBLISHED: August 1, 2014
(1 August 2014)
S’Manga Khumalo will be officially crowned Champion Jockey just after 5pm today and it will be an achievement celebrated by all in the racing fraternity and many outside of it as he is not only the first black person to do it, but has also shown the hallmarks of a true champion.
Gary Player’s famous quote; “The harder I practice the luckier I get,” is really all about work ethic and Khumalo’s capacity for the latter is not only illustrated by his full book of rides this week, long after he had the championship sown up, but also by his frequent flyer miles. Willingness to travel is a prerequisite to winning the championship and Khumalo has kept up an exhausting schedule throughout the season. He is based on the Highveld but is virtually as regular a rider as any in all of KZN, Port Elizabeth and Kimberly and has also made the odd foray to Cape Town. The public probably do not appreciate how taxing the travel is, as they are likely unaware that on many days of Khumalo’s season he was riding work early in the morning in one province and race riding the same afternoon in another. His agent Justin Vermaak also deserves credit for making almost all of those journey’s worthwhile. Khumalo’s light weight has also helped as he has been able to ride in close to 1400 races this season.
Another quote that applies to him is the one from General George S Patton, who said; “Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.”
Khumalo has done a lot of bouncing in the past few seasons from injury and in that regard this season was no different.
However, he has never before had to contend with the low of being handed a 60-day suspension by the stipendiary stewards, a ban that threatened to derail his championship bid after an appeal against it failed halfway through the season.
The stipendiary stewards can be commended for the harder line they have taken this season, but appear to have chosen the wrong case to emphasise it as there appeared to be many mitigating factors.
Khumalo was reportedly devastated when the appeal against the suspension was dismissed.
A further appeal to the High Court effectively bought him time to win the championship, but was not made for that reason. Rather, Khumalo is adamant of his innocence and the High Court process will come at an enormous monetary cost if the appeal is once again dismissed.
Despite all of that hanging over his head, Khumalo came back admirably and was soon at his best. He had the support of most of the country behind him.
This season he did not reach the high moments of last, when winning all of the Sansui Summer Cup, the Presidents’ Champions Challenge and the Vodacom Durban July.
His confidence was so sky high after becoming the first black person to ride a July winner that he proceeded to ride the Jackpot in a Turffontein meeting two weeks later and he just needed to win the last race that day to make it the Pick 6 too. That meeting was really the one that set up the championship bid as it showed that he was not just a big race rider but also had the consistency, like an Anton Marcus, to ride winner after winner at any meeting where he had the necessary fire power.
He proved it again early in the new season when riding a four-timer at Turffontein on August 8 and another five-timer just four days later at Flamingo Park. He took an early lead in the title race and has never let go of his grip.
Richard Fourie threatened to catch him at one stage. The latter is not only a jockey of world class ability, but his level of professionalism matches any. His fall in the Rising Sun Gold Challenge effectively ended the exciting tussle with Khumalo that was brewing, but at least had a consolatory side as Fourie’s finely conditioned physique allowed him to pull through without serious long term effects and he went on to land his first Vodacom Durban July, albeit via the boardroom.
Khumalo won two Gr 1s this season, the Laurie Jaffee Empress Club Stakes on the Gavin van Zyl-trained Along Came Polly and the SA Nursery aboard the Sean Tarry-trained filly Carry On Alice. There were also five Gr 3s, one Gr 2 and a Listed event among the 185 winners he had ridden at time of going to press.
Khumalo’s nickname “Bling”, given to him by commentator Alistair Cohen due to the gold jewelry he likes to wear, has stuck and the name will hopefully be heard in the main media news over the next few days or weeks. His winning of the title is a great day for South African racing.