IN-form trainer Justin Snaith described Bishop’s Bounty’s win in the Gr2 Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes over 1200m as “mind-blowing” and admitted his charge had “no right to win on recent form”.

A little harsh, perhaps, because this is the way things go when stables hit a purple patch. Four-year-old Bishop’s Bounty (45-1) with his big reputation was probably the right horse to deliver Snaith’s first success in the Diadem.

Sometimes, like Sporting Post noted in their review of the race, “winning form works in waves”. The Philippi trainer and jockey Grant van Niekerk have swept away everything in their path recently and their hot run is likely to continue.

The long-striding chestnut put in a dazzling performance after two poor previous runs, speeding away from formidable old-timer Tevez, his stablemate Sergeant Hardy and a field of other quality sprinters to win by two lengths, in command and stretching away beautifully.

Snaith offered two explanations for Bishop’s Bounty’s return to form.

“He needed his penultimate run after a four-month break, staying on six lengths off the winner. Then, last time he stumbled at the start, pulled a shoe and over-raced. He was understandably hard to control and had run his race halfway through.

“This was the kind of run Bishop’s Bounty has always been capable of, and we’ll be hoping he can back it up with similar runs now.”

That said, Bishop’s Bounty’s five wins from only 14 starts and R700,000 in stakes is already looking impressive. His only halfway to his purchase price at the CTS Lanzerac Ready To Run Sale, but if Saturday’s performance is going to be the norm he’s going to pick off a few more plum prizes.

Bishop’s Bounty was the talk at Lanzerac R2R in 2015 and Johnno Snaith at the time went on record saying that this was one of the best young horses they’d ever pre-trained for a sale, if not the best!

Being a half-brother to Red Ray and Brutal Force, Bishop’s Bounty was an automatic target for Mayfair Speculators, on whose behalf Kerry Jack Bloodstock signed a R1,4-million ticket to make him the second-highest priced lot on the sale.

However, Bishop’s Bounty failed the scope and a veterinarian was worried that he’d be troubled with breathing problems.  The Snaiths had not found this a materialising problem in training, were willing to take a chance and owner Michael Leaf stepped in for the purchase when Mayfair pulled back on the vet’s advice.

“We’ve been fortunate. Bishop’s Bounty hasn’t had a moment’s trouble breathing. He’ll be going to Durban later this year and let’s see if he can win another feature,” said Justin Snaith.

Bishop’s Bounty, by Western Winter from the prolific star mare Nacarat, was raised at Lammerskraal Stud.

Sir Frenchie (far side), got up to beat Bold Respect.
Sir Frenchie (far side), got up to beat Bold Respect.

The Snaith stable’s Sir Frenchie (15-1) also came back to winning form in his return to a sprint in the Listed Sophomore Sprint over 1200m, accounting for free-running Bold Respect and Woljarine with a late flourish under Van Niekerk.

“Grant phoned me on Saturday morning to suggest we put blinkers on Sir Frenchie to sharpen him. Ordinarily I wouldn’t listen to advice like this on a race day but Grant is proving to be a revelation. He is a wonderfully talented rider, he’s in the league of a young Mark Khan. Horses just run for him. After we’d declared Sir Frenchie in blinkers, Grant doubted himself, but the horse raced as such, and he won!”

Sir Frenchie raced in the recently famous silks of Braam Van Huyssteen with partner Billy Henderson. He’s a gelding by Choisir (AUS), also bought at the CTS Lanzerac Ready To Run Sale.

Yup, things seem to work out so well when you’re on a roll like this and Snaith said:  “We didn’t have a good summer last year and as reported we changed our methods this year. We’re hoping to snowball our form into SunMet Day and then to the Prix Du Cap to end the Cape season on a high note.”

One thing we’re not likely to see again soon, however, is a 735-1 Snaith feature double!

Photos by Wayne Marks.