Cape Town trainer Justin Snaith believes the Equus champion filly Bela-Bela will have “her best chance” of beating the boys at weight for age Grade 1 level in Saturday’s R1m, Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge (1600m) at Greyville.
The brilliant twice Grade 1-winning grey has taken on the boys before in last year’s Vodacom Durban July and this year’s Sun Met and was not at all disgraced, but Snaith is of the firm belief that a mile is her optimum trip. He said she had needed her last run in the Grade 1 SA fillies Sprint over 1200m at Scottsville, where “she found a little bit of trouble”.
He added, “She is very well, she is spot on, she has a definite shout.”
Bela-Bela is well drawn in barrier four and will be ridden by Anthony Delpech, who partnered her to a Grade 2 Daisy Fillies Guineas/Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 double last season.
Snaith concluded, “It is a rough race and I just hope she gets a clear run.”
Snaith also has Master Sabina in the race and this will be the dual Grade 1 Sansui Summer Cup winner’s first run for the yard. He said he was doing well, but it was on the short side and a pole position draw would not help as he did not have the necessary early pace to hold his position over this trip. Maser Sabina is likely to be running on, but Snaith concluded by saying it would be a valuable preparation outing for the July.
The Snaith yard have an important date in the R250,000, Grade 3 Cup Trial (1800m) as both Black Arthur and Elusive Silver will need big runs to earn their July berths.
Snaith believed Black Arthur was back to his best having suffered haemoconcentration problems before gelding. He was running on in the Drill Hall over 1400m in his first run as a gelding over too short a trip. Snaith said he was doing very well at home and everything had gone according to plan.
Snaith explained Elusive Silver’s disappointing run in the Grade 2 Betting World 1900 was not at all his race and was due to the rain which caused him to miss important work.
“He could only canter for eight days,” he said.
To heighten the problem the race had then been run in testing going.
“He got a double whammy,” he said.
Bela-Bela, picture Liesl King
Elusive Silver had previously been impressive when winning the Listed Sledgehammer over the Cup Trial course and distance. He showed a tremendous turn of foot in that race, which was his first outing since winning the Winter Derby ten months earlier. Snaith said he was in a better place now than he was going into the Sledgehammer.
He added, “He is a very nice horse. He will be good competition for Black Arthur at the weights and it will take a very good horse to beat our two.”
Richard Fourie has already been booked to ride Elusive Silva in the July, while Anthony Delpech “has always been a big fan of Black Arthur’s.” Delpech partnered Black Arthur to win last season’s Grade 2 Canon Guineas and they jump from a good draw of four in the nine horse field on Saturday. Elusive Silva has to jump from the extreme outside draw of nine.
Snaith runs Star Express in the Grade 2 Tibouchina over 1400 metres and said it would be a bit on the short side for her. He said she had pulled up “foot sore” in Johannesburg. However, her feet have now been sorted it out. He expected her to run well and finish in the money, despite it partly being a preparation outing for the R1m, Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes (1600m) at Greyville on the Durban July programme, July 1st . Bernard Fayd’Herbe rides from a good draw of five.
Snaith mentioned Qing as a runner to look out for on the day. She runs in the Beach Beauty Pinnacle Stakes for fillies and mares over 1600m. He had been confident of a good run from her in her SA Champions Season pipe opener, but said she had been hit by a clod and could not see for a few days.
He was also bullish about Sergeant Hardy in the R150,000, Conubia/Phoenix Sun Durban Dash (1100m) on the All Weather, although did mention his eleven barrier position as being “a bit of a wide draw.” Snaith said the big Captain Al gelding had not liked Scottsville last time in the Tsogo Sun Sprint and also had a difficult task as a three-year-old off a 110 merit rating. He is now comfortably the best in at the weights in this three-year-old event and if he runs well will be aimed at the weight for age Gr 1 Mercury Sprint. Delpech rides him for the third time.
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