Why this is Thoroughbred racing’s man of the moment

Trainer Justin Snaith, who has rocketed from #76 to #27 in the world trainers’ rankings, pictured with his string on the beach at Cape Town. Photo: Hugh Routledge

Meet the person who had President Trump castrated: he’s very much the man of the moment in world horse racing - but for a different reason.

This is Justin Snaith, whose astonishing tally on Sun Met day at Kenilworth racecourse in Cape Town on Saturday included three wins and two seconds from the four Group 1s on the card.

That meant an astronomical 28-point week-on-week surge in the world trainers’ rankings, shooting the Cape Town conditioner up 49 places to world #27. It also makes the 42-year-old the #1 trainer in South Africa, taking over from Sean Tarry, who didn’t have too bad a weekend himself, saddling a second and a fourth in those Group 1s.

President Trump, of course, was the name of a ‘problematic’ 2-year-old Snaith felt might behave better after being gelded. And, as soon as that story appeared in the media last March, it was also decided the horse’s name should be changed - to Fake News.

Last Saturday’s Kenilworth meeting is one of the great occasions in the South African racing calendar, and a rare opportunity for successful protagonists there to impress the TRC Global Rankings algorithm. Which is what happened this time, with those four Group 1s responsible for the top nine climbers across this week’s updated standings.

Snaith’s tally included the big one - the mile-and-a-quarter Sun Met (see video below) - with the 3-year-old filly Oh Susanna, yet another high-quality daughter of the late Street Cry (like Winx and Zenyatta), who was winning her third straight G1. She accounted for, among others, two-time South African Horse of the Year Legal Eagle, who was fourth for trainer Tarry.

Oh Susanna was ridden by the week’s second biggest climber, 26-year-old Grant Van Niekirk, who also rode another of Snaith’s G1 scorers, 1/4 shot Snowdance in the one-mile Majorca Stakes. Van Niekirk is now ranked 68 in the world jockeys’ standings (and second in South Africa).

Other notable facts

  • Both Oh Susanna and Snowdance are 3-year-old fillies

  • Snowdance is by the late Captain Al - as is Snaith’s third G1 winner on Saturday, Sergeant Hardy. Captain Al, who died last year, climbs 22 places to #23 in the world sires’ rankings.

  • Snowdance and Oh Susanna are owned by Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud (now #21 in the owners’ rankings - up from 49).

Click here for a list of all last week’s biggest TRC Global Rankings points gainers.

Click here for a list of all the week’s Group and Graded winners.

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