At a sizzling hot Kenilworth racecourse, Jet Dark stormed down the inside rail to win the Grade 1 L'Ormarins Queens Plate, for the second year in succession. Described by trainer Justin Snaith as,” a beautiful animal – such a stunning individual” the son of Trippi, bred at Drakenstein Stud, reprised his feat in 2021 to again win the most coveted 1600m race in South Africa.
After the Rain, Pomp and Power and Seeking the Stars ensured the pace was brisk with Jet Dark lagging behind in a stretched-out field, under S’Manga Khumalo. The ace jockey had everything under control though on his champion steed, who started a 10/1 chance. ”Jet Dark was so relaxed and with the pace being on, I chose to wait on him. I slapped him down the shoulder and then he really kicked.”
Jet Dark was doing some serious low flying the last 200m and drew off to beat Kommetdieding, who also made a bold rally from far back. Seven-year-old, Rainbow Bridge had loomed up on the outside with a powerful move, but he could not resist his younger rivals finishing kick.
Seeking the Stars kept on resolutely for fourth, best of those who raced handy. Pomp and Power could not survive the rigours of the early speed duel yet was very gutsy in keeping on for fifth – first home of the three-year-olds, and only a credible three lengths off turbo-charged, Jet Dark.
Multiple G1 victor, Jet Dark has now won six of 11 starts, including two Queen’s Plates and the Gold Challenge at Greyville. Whilst he has thrown in the occasional duff effort at his first run back from a layoff or when too fierce in his races; overall, he is consistent at a high level and, when peaking, a brilliant miler.
Second placed Kommetdieding emerged with credit and the 2021 Durban July winner looks teed up to run huge in the Met. He clocked in 2.25 lengths behind Jet Dark. Likewise, Rainbow Bridge, who has twice scored in the Met, is on target for another spirited defence of the historic prize in a months’ time.
The Cartier Paddock Stakes over 1800m (G1) got the heart rates raised as Captains Ransom just lasted from outstanding three-year-old filly, Chansonette, Marina and Princess Calla with under a length separating the first four home in a thrilling finish. The winner was also trained by the irrepressible, Snaith.
Successful jockey, Richard Fourie was effusive in his praise for this multiple G1 winning daughter of Captain Al – now victorious in nine of 11 outings. “She was difficult today and I needed to get sideways in the saddle to straighten her out, but she is a star and very close to my heart.”
Captain’s Ransom was life and death to hold on as the 15/10 public favourite. Snaith’s assessment - “She does not really get 1800m it’s just that she is so good – it’s as if she has a sports car engine!”
Andre Nel’s Fillies Guineas heroine, Chansonette, a big market mover backed in to 4/1, got mighty close as her challenge fell marginally short when she too hit her stamina limit, whilst Marina launched a belated surge from way back to get within a head at the wire.
Marina took time to fully unwind – 1800m even at a solid tempo is the bottom range of her distance suitability. Candice Bass Robinson indicated that she will now be aimed at the Met over 2000m.
The Glorious Goodwood Premier Trophy (G2) over 1800m was won by Hoedspruit – another that will take his place in a potent Met field. This son of Legislate, trained by LQP festival maestro, Snaith and ridden by Fourie who tactically guided him down the fast-running inside strip to mug Super Silvano, pace-presser Firealley and Sovereign Spirit in yet another exhilarating finish.
Fourie gave kudos to Snaith for his deft handling of Hoedspruit. The horse required a freshening after a dull last start and duly bounced back with another big effort to improve his career box score to 15 starts – six wins and five additional places. Snaith, described 6/1 shot Hoedspruit as having “huge ability,’ hence the decision to next have a go at the Met - which is shaping up to be a humdinger.
It was bullseye for the same combo in the Okapi Chairman’s Cup (G3) over 2500m. One Way Traffic was heavily backed to win the night cap and so nearly went all the way, only to be mowed down in a dramatic final lunge by stable-mate, Double Mint. The seven-year-old has been bought back from serious injury to racing fitness and Snaith Racing can be proud of their handiwork with the fickle Twice Over gelding.
Indeed, after remarkably taking out all five Graded races over the festival (Gimme Dat came up trumps in the G2 Sceptre Stakes on Friday) the Snaith family outfit could justifiably celebrate a job extremely well done over refreshing glasses of bubbly with their team and ebullient stable patrons.