JUSTIN Snaith ‘didn’t want to know’ this week – a racing expression for extreme confidence – as in, ‘I don’t need to consider alternatives to winning!’. Snaith was referring to the Gr1 2019 Vodacom Durban July and his outstanding champion Do It Again. His certitude was vindicated when the imposing son of Twice Over posted a sensational follow-up win in Africa’s greatest race on Saturday.
In an interview on Thursday, Snaith was asked if Do It Again had improved enough to defy a 6kg swing at the weights with his stablemate Made To Conquer, who’d run him to a length and a quarter in this race last year.
He replied: “Absolutetely, he’s improved six, even seven kg’s, we’re very careful in racing our horses, we always want to get the feeling that there is major improvement to come.”
Do It Again travelled as comfortably as ever in a slow-run race, settling ten lengths off the filly Return Flight, who made the clip ahead of Head Honcho, Made To Cinquer, Twist Of Fate and Rainbow Bridge.
Spinning around the bend, Twist Of Fate and Rainbow Bridge moved up prominently and Richard Fourie pulled Do It Again to the outside for a clear run, five lengths adrift.
At this point, with 350m to run, Rainbow Bridge looked the likely winner and owner Mike Rattray would have seen his life’s dream right within reach, but it was not to be. Fourie had Do It Again in full cry, his massive stride looking even more impressive with his distinguishing, off-fore white sock. He burst from the pack with a panther-like pounce, took the challenge to Rainbow Bridge and ran him out of it with 50m to go.
Do It Again became only the fifth horse in the history of the Durban July to win the double, following wins by Campanajo (1897/1898), Corrie Crian (1907/1908), Milesia Pride ad El Picha (1999/2000).
Fourie, who won the July in the boardroom when Legislate and Wylie Hall went head-to-head and interference occurred, commented: “I’m about to do my victory lap, I didn’t have the luxury in 2014. Do It Again is a remarkable horse, so smart and most of all he has big match temperament.”
Said Snaith: “He has proved how good he is, and he has now proven he should be considered among the greats of South African horseracing.”
There was drama at the start when the favourite Hawwaam reared up in the stalls just seconds after being loaded. He bumped himself on his off hind, was clearly lame after the incident and had to be withdrawn by Dr Roehann Sutherland, the course veterinarian. An almighty roar of disappointment went up from the crowd, but as it turned out Do It Again became the new favourite on the tote and tickets featuring Hawwaam would all qualify for the respective exotic bets.
“Hawwaam just got a “lammie” (lamey) – a bump on his quarters and was temporarily lame. He was walking fine 10 minutes after the race. Dr Sutherland did the correct thing, scratching him, and I thank him for that. Our horse is alive, he is fine and will live to fight another day. This is racing.”
Do It Again, with seven wins from 13 runs, has earned R8,4-million in stakes for owners Bernard Kantor, Nic Jonsson and the late Jack Mitchell. He was bred by Robin Bruss’ Northfields Stud.