Snow Pilot Into The Blue

It was a bittersweet victory by Snow Pilot in the Hollywoodbets Gr1 Cape Guineas on Saturday.

As we know, his sire Lancaster Bomber is no more, and died all too soon at the tender age of seven.

His loss is all the more keenly felt since Snow Pilot completed a remarkable Guineas double, his win coming barely two weeks after paternal half-sister Beach Bomb captured the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas.

The majestic Snow Pilot – announced his arrival in the big league on Saturday (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

To our knowledge, no other stallion has sired a Gr1 Guineas double in his very first crop, a rare achievement indeed.

Interviewed after the Guineas, Drakenstein owner Gaynor Rupert lamented the young stallion’s loss to the industry when she said: “It was devastating to lose Lancaster Bomber, he was going to be the future of Drakenstein Stud. We hoped that maybe he would sire something special, and he has given us Snow Pilot.”

Lancaster Bomber’s tenure at Drakenstein Stud was all too brief, but his loss is somewhat mitigated in that he has left a worthy male descendant to carry on his legacy.

The colt is the first foal out of Snowdance and like her son, she was trained by Justin Snaith.

“She was amazing, she was absolutely beautiful,” he recalls. “Every year I chose a horse which is my ride on Muizenberg beach and Snowdance was my ride!”

Bred at Cheveley Stud, Snowdance commanded a R2-million price tag at the National Yearling Sale, an investment she would return with interest and more.

Raced by Drakenstein in partnership with the late Jack Mitchell, Snowdance opened her stakes account in dominant style when claiming the Gr2 Western Cape Fillies Championship.

Trainer Justin Snaith is interviewed by Vicky Minott (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

On the lead from the jump, she was allowed to stride out freely and ran her rivals ragged to romp home by over four lengths from the then unbeaten favourite Magical Wonderland.

She again impressed in the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas, taking the classic in sizzling style. Sent off a short-prized favourite on the strength of her front-running tour de force in the Fillies Championship, different tactics saw her covered up, but she quickened into the lead at the quarter mark and cruised home to win geared down, the winning margin of just over three lengths flattering stable companion and future Horse of the Year Oh Susannah.

On to the Gr1 Majorca Stakes and in yet another flawless performance, she defeated a stellar field of mainly older fillies and mares.

Although Snowdance failed to hit the same dizzying heights at four, she nevertheless added seconds in both the Gr1 Gold Challenge and Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint and a third in the Gr1 Garden Province Stakes, before signing off on her career when fourth behind champion Kasimir in the Gr1 Mercury Sprint.

Snowdance is off to a heady start as a broodmare with Snow Pilot, whom Drakenstein stud manager Gavin Pickford remembers as “a cracker of a foal, from birth he stood out.”

Snow Pilot’s female line needs no introduction. It is that of blue hen mare Mystic Spring.


Image: Snowdance fights out the finish with Fiorella, both by Captain Al, in the Gr2 Fillies Guineas in Durban. Image: Candiese Lenferna

By Royal Academy out of an own sister to English 2000 Guineas winner Mystiko, she produced more black type than many newspaper editors and became the dam of seven stakes winners headed by champions Rabiya (also a Cape Guineas winner) and Bela-Bela.

Snowdance is out of her Joshua Dancer daughter Spring Lilac, who won the Gr3 Kenilworth Fillies Nursery and is a full sister to the Gr2-placed stakes winning duo of Juniper Spring and Victorian Secret, the dam of recent stakes winner Golden Sickle.

If not for a fatal injury, Rabiya would likely have been the first colt to represent this most contemporary of families as a stallion. However, that honour could now fall to Snow Pilot.

He joins last year’s Cape Guineas winner Charles Dickens as a future incumbent of the star-studded Drakenstein stallion barn. But until such time, we can look forward to more fireworks on the track.

That could come sooner rather than later, as the Snaith stable has nominated both Snow Pilot and Guineas third Hhuhluwe (yet another Drakenstein-bred) for the 2024 Gr1 L’Ormarins Kings Plate.

With both Charles Dickens and See It Again (also a Drakenstein-bred) in the mix, the revered mile event promises to be a race for the ages.

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