Picture: Hluhluwe gets the better of his stable companion Snow Pilot (far side) and Green With Envy stays on well for third (Picture: Wayne Marks)
All of Trainer Justin Snaith, owner Nick Jonsson, breeders Drakenstein Stud and stallion Trippi have a lively chance of landing South Africa’s probable most prestiguos three-year-old race, the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas, for the second time in three years after the Drakenstein Stud-bred Trippi colt Hluhluwe came from last under Grant van Niekerk to win the Gr 2 Cape Punters Cup over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth under Grant van Niekerk on Sunday.
Jonsson and Snaith won the Cape Guineas together with Twice Over colt Double Superlative two years ago and last year’s winner was a Drakenstein Stud-bred Trippi colt, the Candice Bass-Robinson-trained superstar Charles Dickens.
Snaith got the exacta in the Punters Cup on Sunday with the two widest drawn horses, Hluhluwe and Snow Pilot, and the latter, a colt by Lancaster Bomber, is yet another Drakenstein Stud-bred homebred.
Jonathan Snaith had said about Hluhluwe’s and Snow Pilot’s chances last week, “Hluhluwe is drawn widest and will be ridden cold early on. He will finish powerfully which will set him up for a huge run in the Gr1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas on 16 December. He’s improved considerably and could rival the Joburg contenders this season. Snow Pilot was still a little heavy last time out and will improve from that effort. JP Van Der Merwe will take up the ride. He’s drawn 9 but the race is on the summer course and he’ll have plenty of time and space to make his run. He is worth considering and could turn the tables on Questioning.””
The comments were remarkably accurate.
Grant van Niekerk’s and Justin Snaith’s post-race comments showed just how highly they regard Hluhluwe.
Grant van Niekerk: “There are certain things about certain horses, that when they give you a type of feel, you know how good they can be. But I’ve ridden so many horses that have given me that feel, but have disappointed, but he’s given me a phenomenal feel from day one. I wanted to ride this horse completely differently today, as he literally pulled me last time and still won. I wanted him to switch off and run on, and he did that with flying colours. I was a little bit out of my ground, and we didn’t go that fast as well. So I was a little bit worried, but it’s testament to just how good he can be, so really looking forward to the Guineas”.
Justin Snaith: “He’s the most gorgeous looking horse. He’s a finer version of Jet Dark . The work into today, was just mind-blowing. Grant was bullish. We were going to drop him out to the back of the field, as he was a little keen in his last start. We just want to bring him on for the Guineas and if he’s good enough he will come through. The whole race, Grant was just nursing him, nursing him. Obviously, there are 2 more big races for him this season, so we just need to be careful, because he’s still a very young, immature horse, but all the gears are there. We’ve been very excited about this horse for a long time, and we’ve just been trying to calm ourselves down. You just can’t beat the Trippi’s … they are just next level … found another one maybe!”
Mark van Deventer wrote the below report on the meeting for Cape Racing:
The betting market suggested that Tail of the Comet (7/10) and Questioning (3/1) would dominate the G2 Punters Cup at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Sunday but as it turned out neither hit the first three in the 1600m showdown for ambitious three-year-olds coveting a tilt at the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas.
Instead, Justin Snaith saddled a stable 1-2 as Hluhluwe at 14/1 came from dead last to nab 25/1 longshot, Snow Pilot. Another 20/1 outsider, Green With Envy also made a strong stretch run to be close by in third.
Sometimes too much can be read into a single race but this result changes the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas picture considerably. Tail of the Comet (5th by 2.75 lengths) and Questioning (4th, 2.75 lengths behind) appeared beaten with every chance in a race run at a muddling pace where the overall time was relatively tardy. Hluhluwe nevertheless belied his double-digit starting price to rush through the final 600m in 34.2 seconds and is now one of the principal contenders.
“We’ve been very excited about this horse for a long time, “declared a vindicated, Snaith afterwards. Indeed, Jockey Grant van Niekerk executed the intended “ride him cold and storm home’” tactics to perfection. Snow Pilot was very game a neck short in second, just unable to resist the surging finish of the son of Trippi who has now won four of eight starts.
Dean Kannemeyer, trainer of third horse, Green with Envy, was enthused by his charge’s back-to-best performance after a couple of lesser efforts at Hollywoodbets Durbanville. The Gimmethegreenlight youngster is still getting the hang of things but when he belatedly got the message, showed good determination and finishing zest.
Kannemeyer, who wasn’t convinced that Green with Envy was quite up to being a legit Guineas candidate going into the Cape Punters Cup, is now more buoyant about his prospects. The added racing experience and a galloping Hollywoodbets Kenilworth track duly portrayed Green with Envy in a favourable light.
The Bantry Bay Stakes over 1100m yielded a more punter-friendly outcome. Thunderstruck (backed from 4’s into 2/1 favourite) got the job done, despite drifting outwards in the drive to the line. The Sean Tarry trained/Richard Fourie-ridden colt was chased home by Surjay and both sprinters, as proven Grade 1 class competitors, are bound to enjoy productive summer campaigns in important races over the short cuts.
2023 Diadem Stakes victor Bereave stayed on to complete the trifecta with veteran, Rio Querari, not the force he once was but still running gamely, one- pacing it into fourth spot 2.65 lengths in arrears.
Enemy Territory also makes it onto Sunday’s highlight’s reel. The Canford Cliffs filly may have been carrying just 52.5kg’s but the visually impressive manner and 22.9 second 400-finish sectional in her victory in the Schweppes
Summer Bowl was notable. Enemy Territory is trained by Brett Crawford and was adeptly ridden by Gareth Wright.
Given her rate of progress, she is one to follow over the next few months, as is runner up Saartjie who stayed on well down the inner at a heartening comeback, four months after also finishing second to Bless My Stars in the Gold Bracelet in Durban.
10/1 shot, Future Variety took out the City Of Cape Town Sophomore Sprint (Listed) over 1200m – stalking the pace then pouncing to win under Morne Winnaar. 11/10 favourite Ready To Charge duffed the start which cost him, leaving an opening for Candice Bass Robinson’s entry to exploit.
The Milnerton based trainer saddled a stable exacta in this contest for three year olds, with closely matched companion, Captain Arrow running into 2nd, only half a length back.