The Port Elizabeth Gold Cup, one of Eastern Cape’s premier racing trophies, has survived the Windy City’s name change. Perhaps it will continue with the same moniker for a while as a remembrance of things past.
Whatever the name, you can be sure Justin Snaith will be trying to win it. Gavin Smith
The ebullient Cape Town trainer arrives in former PE on Friday intent on claiming the historic cup race with his stayer Strathdon.
He’s bringing along three other horses and they aren’t trundling all that way up the coast in a horsebox just to keep Strathdon company. They are out to plunder as much stake money as possible for the voracious Snaiths of the West.
The Kaapenaars look likely to make their presence felt as early as the second race on the Fairview turf track programme. Keep It Secret is a juvenile gelding who has had two runs, one to get the hang of racing and the next to pulverise a field of peers at Kenilworth.
If Keep It Secret can reproduce that last effort, it’s race over. To ensure things go according to plan with this filly – and his other runners – Snaith is flying in Muzi Yeni from Durban to hold the reins.
Local hopes rest largely on the shoulders of trainer Gavin Smith, who saddles four of the seven contestants, with smart two-time winner Norton Sound spearheading the challenge.
The next assignment for Snaith and Yeni is Race 5, where their charge Sovereign Secret has everything going for her. Under the conditions of the 1400m Conditions Plate, the four-year-old filly carries just 52kg – despite revelling in a merit rating of 101. By comparison, Princess Kalisi must lug top weight of 60kg off an MR95.
Petronella does not have such an easy task for Snaith and Yeni in Race 6, an FM64 Handicap over 2000m. The three-year-old is a maiden up against winners and is lumbered with 60kg.
Her opposition is not much to write home about, but is likely to be older, wiser and tougher on the day. Purple And Gold, a two-time winner, seems to have run into a spot of form and could offer betting value.
Strathdon is the principal focus for the raiding party, in the main event, the Listed Port Elizabeth Gold Cup over 3200m.
Eastern Cape trainers are noted for their skill with stamina horses, so any visitor needs to know his oats and be brave to get the better of them. Young Snaith is nothing if not that.
Seven-time winner Strathdon has handled this marathon trip most capably a few times before and has a MR of 105 to show for all his experience.
The locals are not yet in the same class and will surely struggle to match the Silvano gelding if he shows his true ability. Alan Greeff’s duo Miss Orange and Africa’s Gold could come closest, while a new arrival in Cliffie Miller’s yard from the Azzie operation in Joburg, Nimcha, is a good handicapper but has never been beyond 2200m.
4 Sweet The Sound, 1 Karen Blixen, 2 Miss Nibbles, 3 Pot Sox
5 Keep It Secret, 2 Norton Sound, 3 Agrademarmalade, 4 Global Design
1 Tjoklit, 3 Bravestarr, 4 Pure Quality, 2 Mister Mainstay
4 Teofilio, 1 Al Falak, 7 Joint Effort, 3 Bezos
8 Sovereign Secret, 7 Step Lively, 9 Rattle Mouse, 2 Too Phat To Fly
9 Purple And Gold, 1 Run Florist Run, 3 Sacred Ibis, 2 Petronella
1 Strathdon, 3 Miss Orange, 4 Africa’s Gold, 2 Nimcha
5 Hukum, 3 Soldiers Song, 1 Magnum Fire, 4 Kings Fort
1,2,3,4 x 2,3,4,7,8,10 x 8 x 1,2,3,6,8,9 x 1,3,4 x 1,3,5 (R1296)
5 x 1 x 2,4 x 8 x 1,3,9 x 1,3,4 x 3,5 (R36)