THERE was a moment on Wednesday morning when trainer Justin Snaith probably realised with a measure of certainty that Do It Again was the best of his five excellent 2018 Vodacom Durban July contenders, and it happened out of the blue.
With the Summerveld grooms on strike, Snaith decided to ride his own work and, as it happened, he landed on Do It Again, put the gelding through his paces and commented: ”I’ve never ridden him before, only on the beach, but I tell you… what I felt today… he just oozes class and ability. I’m very fortunate to have ridden some good horses in work, I know what a good horse feels like!’’ (See interview here).
Snaith said ”oooooo…zes’’ with the kind of appreciation that would have swayed any uncertain punter the way of Do It Again, a beautiful three-year-old by Twice Over who stamped his authority on South Africa’s greatest horse race at Greyville on Saturday with a terrific win under Anton Marcus.
Snaith’s stable took the first three places – Made To Conquer was gallant in second ahead of Elusive Silva – the first trainers’ trifecta since Terrance Millard recorded one with Illustrador, Olympic Duel an Jungle Warrior 28 years ago.
”It’s about time I won the July properly,” said Snaith, who dead-heated with Dancer’s Daughter in 2008 and won the race on objection with Legislate in 2014.
The fourth place went to another three-year-old Majestic Mambo, who confirmed his Dubai prospects and the strength of his crop, ahead of African Night Sky, who rushed around runners to quicken the pace before the bend and ran out of steam in the home run.
Jockey Anton Marcus, as incredibly reliable on big days today as he was 25 years ago and riding his fifth July winner, paid tribute to part-owners Bernard Kantor, Nic Jonsson and Jack Mitchell and echoed Justin Snaith’s sentiments with, ”…this is a smart horse!’’
Marcus positioned Do It Again a few lengths behind White River, who cut the clip from Made To Conquer and Matador Man, with Elusive Silva next and African Night sky on their outside.
Marcus said: ”My horse was nice and relaxed. I saw African Night Sky over-racing but most importantly Do It Again was keeping a nice rhythm. I made no secret of the fact that I felt he wasn’t ideally course suited, by winning he showed just what a good horse he is!’’
Asked when he felt he’d win the race, Marcus said: ”In the last 200m,’’ a stretch preceded by a duel of sorts with the free-running Made To Conquer, who was given a perfect ride by Jeff Lloyd and oh-so-almost pulled it off for the popular now Australian who will be retiring at month-end, leaving all South African racing enthusiasts with fond memories and the kind of affection so naturally demanded by the great sports personalities of our world.
Do It Again, bred by Northfields Stud, was a R1,1-million purchase from the National Yearling Sale in 2016. He’s by former European champion Twice Over, who stands at Klawervlei Stud, from Sweet Virginia, a mare by Casey Tibbs who won six races including the Gr3 Winter Derby and whose previous foals include the exported Horse Of Fortune, who won over $HK2-million in Hong Kong.
Do It Again has earned over R3,3-million from just eight career runs, and looks to have a wonderful career ahead of him.
Photos by Candiese Marnewick/Chase Liebenberg.