Snow Pilot finds extra to pass Red Palace (Picture: Wayne Marks)
The Justin Snaith-trained Snow Pilot was probably the right horse to win the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday if logic was applied beforehand and he duly did it under a superb ride by JP van der Merwe.
Snow Pilot’s late sire Lancaster Bomber also sired the winner of the Gr 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas this season, the Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Beach Bomb.
Snow Pilot, like Beach Bomb, is owned and was bred by champion breeders Drakenstein Stud.
Beach Bomb’s Dynasty mother Beach Beauty was a winner of the Gr 1 Majorca Stakes over a mile at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth, while Snow Pilot’s Captain Al mother Snowdance, also trained by Justin Snaith, won both the Cape Fillies Guineas and the Majorca.
Drakenstein had also won last year’s Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas with a homebred, the Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Trippi colt Charles Dickens.
But it is form which is king and the form also pointed to Snow Pilot, despite his starting odds of 23/2.
He had finished second in both of his previous two starts, in the Gr 3 Cape Classic over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Durbanville and in the Gr 2 Cape Punters Cup over the course and distance of the Cape Guineas.
The Cape Classic was his first run after a layoff and he had started a bit slowly.
In the Punters Cup from a wide draw of ten he was caught wide without cover for the whole journey and yet still rallied late when caught by his stable companion Hluhluwe.
In the Cape Guineas he would be having his third run after a layoff.
If he found cover this time he was surely going to be hard to beat.
Hluhluwe was also having his third run after a layoff, but he did not have the same energy sapping trip Snow Pilot had in the Punters Cup, having sat at the back.
JP van de Merwe was duly able to find cover for Snow Pilot on Saturday from draw five, although luck did play a part.
He took Snow Pilot to the front on the inside from the off and he was then given a lead in surprise fashi0n by the favourite Tail Of The Comet, whose best runs have been when running on from off the pace.
The latter had finished a 2,75 length fifth in the Cape Punters Cup and there was no logic behind him starting favourite on Saturday from a tricky draw of eight, other than him representing the Sean Tarry/Richard Fourie combination, who won multiple Gr 1’s together last season.
Tail Of The Comet showed a fine turn of foot to win the Cape Racing Sales Ready To Run Stakes over 1400m by a wide margin despite having been caught wide.
That might have prompted Fourie to take his mount forward on Saturday from that tricky draw, hoping he would find cover but also knowing he is able to relax when facing the breeze.
However, he probably was not expecting to end up in front.
Tail Of The Comet did not over race out in front but did go quite fast.
This allowed Snow Pilot the perfect trip, in the box seat and able to use his stride.
The fancied filly Red Palace was caught wide one out and one back in her bid to give Candice Bass-Robinson a WSB Cape Fillies Guineas/Hollywodbets Cape Guines double and a second successive Cape Guineas victory.
Red Palace, a Potala Palace homebred of Terry and Annabel Andrews ridden by their son Anthony, was the first to overtake Tail Of The Comet. She made a bold bid towards the outside.
However, Snow Pilot, on the outside rail, had her in his sights.
JP extracted a late effort from the smart colt to collar her and win by 0,75 lengths.
Like in the Punters Cup, Hluhluwe and Green With Envy came from the back with strong finishing runs.
Hluhluwe was a two length third, beating Green With Envy on the headbob.
75/1 chance Hat’s pride was fifth.
The winner being on the outside rail might be a bit of a dampener considering that by the time of last season’s WSB Met, everybody was trying to get to the outside.
Gaynor Rupert said afterwards Lancaster Bomber’s loss had been heartbreaking.
However, she always lived in hope that he would leave them with something from his only two crops.
“And he has given us Snow Pilot,” she added.
The Cape Guineas is known as the best sire producing race in the country, so Snow Pilot will certainly be in a stallion barn at Drakenstein in the future.
Drakenstein have not only won two of the three Gr 1s run so far this season with homebreds, but are also making a bold bid to break their own SA record set last season of 20 individual stakes winners in a season.
Snow Pilot was their tenth individual stakes winner this season.
Jonathan Snaith had said before the race nobody should be surprised if the Cape Guineas winner runs in the Gr 1 L’Ormarins King’s Plate.
The first entries are on Wednesday, so Snow Pilot’s name might be among them.
It would be no surprise to see the progressive Hluhluwe in the line up too.