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Picture: Owners Andrew Brand (right) and Jonathan Snaith (left) give Rule Of Thumb congratulatory pats after the Royal Mo gelding’s win under Craig Bantam at Hollywoodbets Durbanville on Saturday (Photo: Wayne Marks).

The Justin Snaith-trained Klawervlei Stud-bred Royal Mo gelding Rule Of Thumb injured himself so severely when kicking something last year that the recommendation was to euthanize him.

The horse is owned by Jonathan Snaith in partnership with Andrew Brand.

Justin spoke of how special a win it was after he had been brought home in the sixth race over 1600m under Turf Talk-sponsored jockey Craig Bantam at Hollywoodbets Durbanville on Saturday.

Justin thanked Andrew Brand for allowing them to go ahead with the effort to save him.

The operation was performed by veterinarian Dr. Andrew Gray.

In the winning interview on Saturday Justin used his cell phone to show an x-ray picture of Rule Of Thumb’s leg as it is today (see below).


Those are four pins inserted into the lower leg.

Justin confirmed that usually in these type of operations, where pins are holding the horse’s leg together, the size and weight of a horse causes the leg to “go” as soon as the horse tries to get up.

Fortunately, in this case that did not happen.

Justin had reiterated in the interview the love for their horses Snaith Racing had. This sheer love for horses is shared by Andrew Brand, who apparently becomes so attached to the ones he owns he persists for longer than normal with those who are clearly not going to Hollywood. 

His patience was displayed here again.

The four-year-old gelding was purchased at the 2021 Cape Premier Yearling Sale for R125,000.

He showed early promise, finishing third on debut over 1200m and then second to subsequent Gr 3-winning stablemate Itsrainingwilliam also over 1200m, before winning comfortably when stepped up to 1400m on July 4 last year.

The untimely injury then occurred.

After the highly successful operation, the connections decided to persevere with Rule Of Thumb and he miraculously reappeared on the racecourse on 22 December. In his comeback he finished only 2,25 lengths behind Itsrainingwilliam, who finished third in the event, and although he was receiving 4kg it showed that he was still a capable racehorse.

He finished unplaced in his next two starts and this included a further setback when he felt amiss after an awkward stride and JP van der Merwe eased him out of the race.

He came back from that to finish unplaced over 1400m. 

However, he ran an encouraging fifth over 1600m next time out.

Nevertheless the handicappers dropped him a further five points for that race, meaning he had come down from an 87 to a 72 for Saturday’s Class 4 Handicap over 1600m.

He was ignored in the betting and started 25/1.

Bantam dropped him out from draw seven in the nine horse field and found a good position on the rail. There were just two horses on the rail in front of him and Rule Of Thumb, who has plenty of substance, traveled beautifully under Bantam’s good hands.

Rule Of Thumb ran on resolutely down the inside rail and got up by 0,30 lengths from 11/2 shot Gentleman Joe.

Andrew Brand thanked the Snaith team and made special mention of the fine ride by Craig Bantam, saying, “They are so diligent in looking after him and making sure he is all fine and they did an amazing job … I couldn’t be prouder, he is such a lovely horse. There is a quality about him and he’s not going to stop here, I think there is a couple more left in there. He’s a beautiful horse and I really want to call out the ride today. Craig doesn’t get a a lot of rides but he showed today he’s got quality as a jockey, he positioned him beautifully and he’s got good hands, he saw it through really nicely, so well done to him.”