Oh Susanna, owned and bred by Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud, became the first three-year-old filly since Maid Of Honour in 1888 to win the Sun Met when she turned in a stunning performance at Kenilworth. OH Susanna‘s merit rating has since been raised to 115 after her Sun Met win on Saturday, confirmed the highest in SA history for a three-year-old filly. Third-placed Marinaresco, with a rating of 118, was used as the line horse.
Ridden by a saluting Grant van Niekerk, who had the day of his life, Oh Susanna got home by a fast diminishing half-length from a flying Last Winter, Marinaresco and a game Legal Eagle.
A three-year-old filly running in the Met under the previous weight conditions would have been unheard of but the change to weight-for-age will have tempted Oh Susanna’s connections.
The Snaith family have been a fixture in Western Cape racing for close on 50 years and finished second in the Met on seven occasions. This time they went one better. “It took our family forty something years to win this race,” confirmed winner trainer Justin Snaith.
“It was a hard race early and I thought we were in trouble … but then she kicked,” said Snaith.
“It was a rough race,” said Van Niekerk who was riding his fourth winner of the afternoon that included the $500k The CTS 1200m on Dutch Phillip. “I didn’t want to bustle her because I knew she would take a hold.”
“I probably went a little early but I had Legal Eagle in my sights and she went on with it.”
Dean Kannemeyer, also yet to win the Met, was more than happy with the showing of Last Winter although victory would have been sweeter. “I thought there was no ways that we would even run a place. But then he took off.”
Piere Strydom, who picked up the ride at the expense of regular pilot Anthony Delpech who was contracted to the owners of Cascapedia, managed to get in to one off the fence from his coffin draw of 18 but was some way back turning for home.
He was at his mount early in the straight and the pair looked beaten 400m out. “I pushed, and nothing happened. I pushed again and nothing happened. I then got into him and whoosh, he was away.” Dean has indicated that an overseas campaign for Last Winter is possibly on the cards.
Legal Eagle was game in defeat but the Met appears to be one race that will elude the twice South African Horse of the Year.
“I think the draw beat him,” said Anton Marcus who challenged early in the straight and hit the front a furlong out. “He worked too hard early.”
Marinaresco came with his customary late run but was not able to reel in the filly. “I moved up and thought I was going to get there but then the weight got to him, but then he started to come back but it was too late.”
Oh Susanna’s dam, Sharp Susan was a $1Aus million sales topper at a broodmare sale in Australia, and was bought in foal to champion stallion Street Cry, the sire of the two brilliant mares Winks and Zenyata. Sharp Susan lost the foal but Sheik Mohammed, owner of Darley Australia, kindly gave a free return service to Street Cry and the resulting foal was Oh Susanna. Sharp Susan is currently in Ireland in foal to super sire Galileo.
Earlier, Snaith, Van Niekerk and Drakenstein teamed up with Jack Mitchel and Snowdance to win the Gr1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes from the Snaith-trained Star Express.
Eyes Wide Open confirmed his Peninsula Handicap form, putting the Investec Derby to sleep inside the final 100m. Outside Steel Rose tried gamely to make all the running but came up empty when challenge by Eyes Wide Open and denied second as Do It Again rattled home late.
Sergeant Hardy started the Snaith run of three Gr1 triumphs as the super game gelding held of a determined challenge from Trip To Heaven, probably the best horse in the country not to win a Grade 1, a bit like golfer Sergio Garcia, so there is still hope.
-Andrew Harrison, Gold Circle