Come one, come all – just bring it on. That was the message given loud and clear from the star of the Justin Snaith stable, Do It Again, after he got the better of the younger challenger Cirillo to win the R1-million, Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge over 1 600m at Greyville on Saturday.
The four-year-old son of Twice Over, that won the Vodacom Durban July last year, gave notice that he is back to defend his title and his expected main opposition – the likes of Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge and the impressive winner of the Daily News 2000 Hawwaam, as well as any other potential challengers – can expect a tough fight in the closing stages of the R4.25-million clash over 2 200m at Greyville on Saturday, July 6.
“He is the best weight-for-age horse in the country,” were the proud and excited words coming from trainer Snaith, the young Cape conditioner that has taken the country by storm and earned the respect of the racing public with his talent, enthusiastic personality and transparency when discussing his horses.
Coming back after a five-month break to produce a performance as he did, marked the bay gelding as an exceptional individual attracting showers of accolades for his trainer for the standard of his preparation and presentation of Do It Again for competition.
The Mike de Kock-trained Australian-bred colt Soqrat was backed into favourite for the race but it was the other three-year-old in the field, the Sean Tarry trained son of July winner Pomodoro, Cirillo, that scooted quickly to the front from the break to set a good gallop ahead of Undercover Agent, Soqrat and Lady In Black with jockey Richard Fourie settling Do It Again just behind them and on the rail.
Into the straight they sped with Do It Again quickly nipping to the inside to put in his challenge. Rainbow Bridge moved in to the fray looking dangerous but as Cirillo fought on gamely, things became a little cramped with Lady In Black among the mix forcing Anton Marcus to move the Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge around behind Soqrat to make his final bid.
But it came down to a two-horse race over the final 100m with jockey Fourie riding a powerful finish and Do It Again proving just too good for Cirillo. Rainbow Bridge, that might have been a greater danger to Do It Again if he had not been hindered, ran a top race to fill third place ahead of Soqrat.
The race, along with the main supporting event, the Grade 3 Cup Trial, was the final opportunity in KwaZulu-Natal for July hopefuls to impress the July Selection Committee and the gutsy win by Andre Nel’s Querari gelding Kampala Kampari in the 1 800m race will have taken the shine off the chances of some of them. However, Eyes Wide Open, Doublemint and Made To Conquer ran top races to fill the placings and could well hold their places on the Log.
In the Grade 2 Tibouchina Stakes, Snaith’s star filly Oh Susanna showed her class in leading throughout to win a race a lot short of her best distance. Snaith said it was an impressive effort being as she is a 2 000m filly and she only ran in the race as there were “no options” for her.