Danie Toerien: Belgarion is the horse to beat at Kenilworth on Saturday in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate over 1600m.
That’s the word from none other than trainer Justin Snaith, who will also be saddling Do It Again, Hurricane Harry and Jet Dark – exactly half the field.
“All the guys who have been doing work in our yard agree that Belgarion is the one to beat,” said Snaith.
This five-year old is unbeaten in seven runs since being gelded, and also boasts a perfect three-from-three record over course and distance, including last time out in the Green Point Stakes, when he edged out Rainbow Bridge and Cirillo, both of which will renew the rivalry on Saturday.
“He couldn’t be in a better place,” said Snaith of Belgarion.
Asked if there are any concerns heading into the race, Snaith said “absolutely not”.
“On the contrary, all our runners are in excellent shape.
“Do It Again is back to his best. He will most definitely be involved in the finish. He is a class act and at his best can overcome any field.”
While most pundits would consider Hurricane Harry and Jet Dark two very optimistic entries, Snaith has given the assurance that they will both play a fundamental role in his quest to win the country’s premier 1600m event.
“I’ve put a horse in to ensure that the pace is true. That horse is Hurricane Harry,” said Snaith when questioned about the tactics in running on the day.
“We really don’t want a slow pace, because it won’t suit our best runners.
“If, for some reason, the pace is slow, then Jet Dark will come into play,” said Snaith “He is in my opinion the fastest horse by far in the field.”
Jet Dark proved his pace in the Cape Guineas recently when he took off like a jet over the last 400m.
Considering Nick Jonsson owns Hurricane Harry, and co-owns Do It Again and Jet Dark, it probably wasn’t too difficult to convince him to run Hurricane Harry as a pacemaker.
And who knows, should his legs hold, he won’t be the first pacemaker in history to record a shock-victory.
With four runners in the field and a detailed game plan, it’s obvious Snaith has the Queen’s Plate square in his sights.
“Yes, we’ve tried to cover all our bases,” said the charismatic trainer.
And finally: “Box the three Snaith runners for the Exacta,” was his betting advice for the race.