OWNER Nic Jonsson used the word ‘incredible’ several times after his part-owned powerhouse Do It Again won the Gr1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge over 1600m at Greyville on Saturday, and he had every right to do so.

Northfields-bred Do It Again is an incredible horse. He is incredible to watch. Justin Snaith is an incredible trainer, and he showed incredible patience with the beautiful son of Twice Over, who returned from a four-and-a-half month layoff to beat some of the best horses we’ve seen in South Africa for some time.

With the exception of three-year-old star Hawwaam, who will get his chance to meet Do It Again in the Durban July, the big guns were all here, and they all had a fair chance to win.

We expected less than 1.8-lengths to separate the first four past the post, but it could’ve been a margin more because Do It Again won as he liked. Judged by Richard Fourie’s posture, they had the race sewn up with 75m to run. If he is going to improve a length or two into the July, he will be seriously hard to beat.

Snaith said earlier in the week: “He is a top, top horse, a champion” and echoed that with something extra, noted twice: “Do It Again is the best weight-for-age horse in the country.”

Do It Again was a little reluctant in loading, but thanks to the help of equine behaviour therapist Malan du Toit he stepped into the stalls and looked all relaxed once the race was on, settling five lengths off the pace set by Cirillo and with his old rival Rainbow Bridge looking the exact opposite next to him, the latter’s head up and pulling hard.

Turning for home Cirillo held a length lead from Undercover Agent, with Soqrat drifting towards the outside for his run. Do It Again had a beautiful passage on the rail. The touch of white on his off-fore made his big galloping action seem even more imposing as he came to grab the free-striding Cirillo.

With 200m to run, Rainbow Bridge had also reached top gear, but the luckless gelding went for a gap that closed between Do It Again and Cirillo, had to ease and switch out, and that was his race, done.  He hung on for third place and whether he would’ve beaten Do It Again given a clear run home, is up for debate.

Jockey Richard Fourie, as stylish as ever on the winner, confirmed what we saw, saying: “Do It Again is a phenomenal miler. I had so much horse underneath me I, so I had to look for parking!”

Fourie added: “He didn’t need a lot of gallops, he’s just that good. I think he will give a lot of people more confidence now going into the July.”

A jubilant Snaith said: “Thanks to Gold Circle for his public gallop where the public could see him in action. The more we can help punters to win, the better. Do It Again is fantastic, and he’s very intelligent. I know him, the signs were there that he was getting annoyed in the parade ring and thank goodness we had Malan du Toit to deal with his issues.”

Sean Tarry will be delighted with Cirillo’s second place. He said on Friday that he was expecting a massive run, despite his charge having it all to do at the weights, and he was spot-on. Cirillo is a cracking three-year-old.

Despite the mishap in the race for the line, Eric Sands will probably go into the July confident of a massive run from Rainbow Bridge over the longer trip. He ran a solid race, overall, on the eye looked to be carrying just a little pudding on parade and that is fine, because it will be gone come July Day and those who write him off now may regret it.

Mike de Kock felt that Soqrat was given an “ordinary ride” and said: “Cirillo is the line horse who has never finished in front of Soqrat, but did so today.”

In conclusion, we approach one of the most exciting Durban July’s of the last decade with last year’s winner Do It Again having now signalled all intentions to live up to his name. The rest will have to stop him.

Photo: Candiese Marnewick.