J&B Met Day 2016 was “Snaith Day”

J&B Met Day 2016 was “Snaith Day”

January 31, 2016 / 3 years ago

J&B Met Day 2016 was “Snaith Day” cover image

Snaith Racing enjoyed an unbelievable J&B Met Day 2016 on Saturday - eight wins in 12 races – including the first six in a row!

Trainer Justin Snaith’s elation at his phenomenal achievement was tempered just a little by not winning either of the two big Grade 1 races on the day, the Met itself and the Cape Flying Championship. His high-class charges Legislate and Futura were no match for Alec Laird’s “wonder filly” Smart Call, who cruised to a very impressive victory in the R2.5-million marquee event. Legislate finished sixth and Futura trailed in in 11th position.

Pundits at Kenilworth Racecourse could not call to mind any stable having eight winners at one meeting, or the first six on a programme – and certainly no-one has done it at such a prestigious race day. In fact, racing fundis couldn’t recall such a feat anywhere in the world and Tellytrack presenters started talking about a world record.

Four of the eight were ridden by multiple South African champion jockey Piere “Striker” Strydom and two by Bernard Fayd’Herbe.

Snaith led in Fire Master (9-2, Strydom) after the running of the curtain-raiser – and even the ebullient, confident young man could not have imagined he’d come to “own” the winner’s circle by the time the two Grade 1 contests rolled around several hours later.

The second race went to Star Express, the 7-10 favourite under Strydom; the third to Acacia Wood (14-1, Fayd’Herbe; the fourth to Sergeant Hardy (13-2, S’Manga Khumalo); the fifth to Qing (2-1, Strydom) and the sixth to Captain Swarovski (4-1, Strydom).

Snaith, who saddled 34 competitors on the day – “If they’ve got four legs and can run, they’re running,” he’d said earlier in the week – appeared at a loss for words as the winners piled up. “It’s just great,” he said, before showering praise on his staff, who worked tirelessly through the festive season to get the string into top form.

After the last race, Snaith said he’d swap the “Amazing 8” for a win in the Met, which his family has never achieved.

“I’ve got to get it right and win the Met!” he exclaimed. “But I’ll take this as a good second prize.”

Snaith had two candidates in Race 7, the Grade 1 Betting World Cape Flying Championship, but neither managed to make the frame.

But he was back in the No 1 enclosure after Race 9 when Fayd’Herbe steered Ovidio (8-1) home in the Grade 2 J&B Stayers – despite experiencing an awkward start and dropping his crop at the 2800m jump.

It was appropriate that the man who’d dominated proceedings so comprehensively should cap his momentous day with a win in the final race of the day. Apprentive Heavelon van der Hoven picked up the chance ride on hot-pot favourite Baritone – having also lucked out last week with a chance ride on the winner of the Million Dollar. The youngster handled the pressure well and produced his charge at the right time to claim an easy win and make it No 8.

As they partied into the evening, racegoers were saying Met Day should be renamed “Snaith Day”.