Do It Again goes into what could be a history-making season as second favourite for the World Sports Betting Green Point Stakes at Kenilworth on Saturday. But the trainer of the dual Vodacom Durban July winner would appear to rate the horse’s chance rather less than the sponsors’ 33-10.
“He has been on the grass twice, both were nice gallops and he is 80% ready but several of the others are much more ready than that,” says Justin Snaith whose only previous Green Point win was with Legislate five years ago. “What worries me is that we are going straight into a mile against the strongest horses in South Africa. Your comeback run shouldn’t be against horses like these but in Cape Town we don’t have a choice.
“On paper it’s an impossible task and no horse should be able to do it. But most horses aren’t Do It Again – and he looks amazing and I am very happy with his work at home. We will ride him to give him a chance but, realistically, I am just looking for a positive run that will bring him on for his next start.”
Snaith is responsible for almost a third of the field in the R2.5 million CTS Ready To Run Stakes but original favourite Rio Querari has gone out to 13-2 following Invidia’s way-above-rating run 17 days ago. He still reckons Rio Querari is the pick of his five but he fears that the decision to put the race back three weeks is going to cost him dear.
“I understand why they decided to delay the race – those who were entered had been guaranteed a run – but, while I still expect a good performance, I am not as bullish as I was then. A number of the Jo’burg horses have managed to get a run in the meantime whereas for us in Cape Town it has been a long time between races – and I personally galloped ours for nothing.”
The Green Point has gone to Jo’burg in each of the last three years – via Sean Tarry and Legal Eagle – and Hawwaam has been backed from 21-20 last week to 17-20 to make it four for the visitors, despite not being able to travel before today when the AHS travel ban is due to be lifted.
His half-brother Rainbow Bridge is now a 5-1 chance and he will not be as ready as he was 12 months ago when he started favourite and was fourth in that famous four-way photo.
“This time last year we were concerned that he needed to qualify for the Sun Met so we had to race him and give him two runs (in the Matchem and the Cape Mile – he won both of them) before the Green Point,” recalls Eric Sands. “Obviously he was fitter then than he is now but he is not at his peak and nor do I want him to be at this stage. However he has had two gallops, Gavin Lerena has been down to ride him, I am happy where he is and I’m expecting a top run.”
Undercover Agent finished fractionally in front of both Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge when beaten a short head 12 months ago and he goes into the race having had a run. At 14-1 he looks a big price.
“You couldn’t find a more competitive field if you tried – it’s a Queen’s Plate in December – and it looks like being a real spectacle,” says Brett Crawford who was successful with Captain America in 2015. “The others are going to be hard to beat but I can only worry about my horse and what I can tell you is that he is fit, well and in great form.”
Crawford brings back last season’s Cape Fillies Guineas winner Front And Centre in the 1 400m Pinnacle. She is opposed by her KRA Fillies Guineas conqueror Santa Clara and the Sean Tarry-trained Celtic Sea who beat them both in the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province and also won the SA Fillies Sprint.
There are some tempting prices on offer about many of the runners on Saturday – the day when the Cape Summer Season truly comes to life – but punters should bear in mind that Windguru is forecasting 5mm of rain during the afternoon. That just might make a difference with some horses.
By Michael Clower