Crown Towers looking good for Summer Cup at Turffontein, says Snaith
DURBAN - Justin Snaith said there was a good chance that Crown Towers, winner of Sunday's Listed Michaelmas Handicap over 1900m at Hollywoodbets Greyville, would take his place in the Grade 1 Summer Cup over 2000m at Turffontein Standside on November 28.
He spoke further about his new satellite yard at Summerveld and about the ongoing hinderance to equine travel within South Africa brought about by measures to control the spread of African Horse sickness (AHS).
Snaith said, "Crown Towers is a handicap type and being by Camelot we have never doubted he would get the Summer Cup distance. His only bad race was when going too fast in front in the Queen's Plate. He deserves his place and it does not look to be one of the stronger fields, nothing stands out although there might be a few who will improve with a couple more races."
Crown Towers is drawn 27 of the 49 entries.
On Sunday the five-year-old Australian-bred gelding had to carry 62kg and was caught wide in the early stages from a high draw. Anton Marcus thus took him up to second place where he could sit on the leader Duc D'Orange's quarter, although he made the move at a steady pace to ensure no wasted energy. At about the 1100m Marcus was able to slot in behind the leader ahead of his main market rival Sworder Street.
Crown Towers has more natural speed than the latter and in the straight he skipped a few lengths clear under the hands. He was asked the question at the 300m mark and kept going to beat Sworder Street, who made late inroads, by 1,20 lengths. Crown Towers, off a merit rating of 109, gave the 92 rated runner up 9,5kg. He has been raised six points to 115 and Sworder Street has been raised four points to 96.
Snaith, who flew in for the meeting, said, "Our only concern beforehand was the weight, 62kg is a lot to carry. I was very excited to be there for the satellite yard's first feature win. It was great for Megan Trott, who runs the Summerveld yard, especially as she is a hometown girl. She is from KZN and went through the Summerhill School of Equine Management Excellence and then did the Darley course in the UK.
She then spent a few years under my wing, so knows exactly how we think and how we like to do things. I will be flying up and down and want to see the satellite yard gain the momentum it needs to sustain itself. A big thanks to Michel Nairac, Tony Rivalland and Raf Sheik for going out of their way to help us start the satellite yard and making us feel welcome."
Meanwhile, Sworder Street runs again over 2000m at The Vaal on Thursday in a Progress Plate. This four-year-old Judpot gelding will need to get his merit rating up significantly to make the Summer Cup final field. He looks tailor made for the Summer Cup course and distance so trainer Paul Peter will likely be eyeing the Grade 3 Victory Moon Stakes over 1800m on November 14 as his ultimate qualifier.
Snaith then got on to the subject of AHS and lamented the fact that a case in Germiston and potentially more cases to follow would possibly prevent the best horses from Gauteng travelling to Cape Town for the prestigious Cape Summer Season.
He said, "I want to compete against the best guys and not having some of the top trainers race here dulls the racing a little bit. I do believe we have to get the exports right and Adrian Todd is doing the best he can under trying circumstances. I really hope all the time and effort spent will reap the rewards for breeders, owners and trainers in South Africa.
Never has it been needed more than right now. But on the other hand, if we are going to be doing this for the next ten years with the hope of getting exports right, all concerned need to sit around the table and devise a plan that will help sustain rather than hinder our own racing while at the same time not effecting the export drive. Racing in South Africa is also a priority."
Snaith provided a few examples of the above-mentioned hinderance including a recently retired mare who is not allowed to travel into the Western Cape from KZN as she had been given her AHS vaccinations. She is consequently going to miss the breeding season.
The Western Cape's training centres and stud farms fall within the AHS Controlled Area and movement in to this area is very strictly monitored, especially during the high risk AHS season, which is usually from February 1 to June 30, and also in relation to outbreaks and vaccinations.
There is a special vector protected barn at Randjesfontein where racehorses can spend 14 days instead of waiting out a 40 day travel ban, but living under these conditions and being allowed out only between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. is not conducive to a good preparation.