Kenilworth racecourse played host to one of the biggest upsets of the 2018-2019 racing season thus far, when Frankel sired debut winner General Franco (a 7-20 tote favourite) ran stone last in Saturday’s first race, the Suburban Spares Juvenile Plate over 1200m.
An impressive winner on debut, when accounting for subsequent impressive winner Three Two Charlie by three and a half lengths, General Franco was regarded by the majority of punters as the best bet of the year, but failed to live up to expectations when finishing sixth of the six runners in Saturday’s race.
The R4 000 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale buy is trained by Justin Snaith, and Snaith Racing spokesperson Jonathan Snaith had the following to say after the disappoining run,” There wasn’t much pace – and the jockey found him pulling early. Greg Cheyne also said he felt like something was amiss in running and he was beaten a long way out . He seemed fine when we checked him after the race. He was given every chance and we’d rather not make excuses. He will be assessed tomorrow and if there is anything to report, we will do so. I’m sure he will bounce back to his best next time.”
The race went the way of the Vaughan Marshall trained Fearless Warrior, who made all in the 1200m race to score a three-parts of a length win over Double Alliance, with the latter putting up a good effort after proving fractious behind the starting stalls.
Now a winner of two of only three starts, Fearless Warrior was the very first winner sired by the Silvano sired Equus Champion Vercingetorix –currently South Africa’s Leading First Crop Sire by stakes.
Described by jockey MJ Byleveld as a pleasure to ride, the Klawervlei Stud bred Fearless Warrior had been said to be putting up unbelievable work before the race, and he may well be a horse to follow.
Marshall, “I was bitterly disappointed when he ran the other day, as his work had been fantastic.I think we will just wait and see, as I think the Nursery may come a bit soon.”
While Snaith suffered a setback with General Franco, South Africa’s reigning champion trainer still enjoyed a memorable day on Saturday, and was responsible for four of the winners on the eight race card.
Fittingly, one of the Snaith winners was the regally bred Nexus (a full-brother to Equus Champion Lady In Black), who, like General Franco, is owned by Nancy Hossack and her late father Jack Mitchell.