The Star Late Edition

Ebony Flyer on a mission


EBONY Flyer (pictured) and Gimmethegr­eenlight both did good pacework on the sand at the Phillipi training centre yesterday and it is all systems go for the big L’ormarins Queen’s Plate day at Kenilworth on Saturday for the Justin Snaith yard who are treating this as a second J&B Met day and turning out many of their top horses.

Snaith said, “Ebony Flyer has had this race as her mission for a long time and there will be no excuses. She is a very good filly over a mile and she is ready. We have done everything we can.”

Regarding her wide draw of nine, he said, “She should be used to it by now and was in fact drawn wider in last year’s Queen’s Plate as a three-yearold.”

Ebony Flyer ran a cracker in that race to finish third, although it remains her only defeat around the turn.

When Snaith was reminded that the draw appeared to play a role in the recent Cape Premier Yearling Sale Cape Guineas over the same course and distance, he said, “Racing has been very fair in Cape Town recently and the fields appear to generally be smaller than in the past. In the Guineas the field was bigger than it will be for the Queen's Plate and the pace was slow.”

Asked whether Gimmethegr­eenlight would therefore try and ensure a decent pace on Saturday, he replied, “No, he’s not fast enough out of the gates.”

Snaith said that he regards the Joey Ramsden-trained Variety Club, the Guineas winner, as the horse Ebony Flyer would have to beat.

“If I had to predict the two horses that would fight it out it would be Ebony Flyer and Variety Club.”

Regarding Gimmethegr­eenlight, he said, “It will be interestin­g to see in this race whether he is equal to Variety Club. He has a nice draw this time and Variety Club will have to do the work (the latter is drawn 10 in the eleven horse field)." “Gimmethegr­eenlight was flying at the finish in the Guineas and came out of the race well.

“There was no other race for him. I could have put him in the Cape Flying Championsh­ip, but I didn’t want to have to bring him back to 1000 metres. It was a choice of leaving him in his box or running for a million rand and glory.”

Of his other runners on the day, he said, “The two fillies in the juvenile race will be very hard to beat.

“Changingof­theguard has put up impressive work at home and it will be interestin­g to see how he goes in the Politician Stakes (which will have the Breeder's Cup name attached to it).

“He has a wide draw in a big field but Bernard Fayd’herbe is aboard so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Snaith also gives Emerald Cove a chance of defending her TBA Paddock Stakes crown over 1 800m after the shock scratching of Igugu.

He said, “She is doing very well at home. I rated this race as being an excellent pointer for Igugu regarding her J&B Met chances.

“She beat Emerald Cove by 2,75 lengths before the July over 2000m in Durban at level weights and if she had been able to come to Cape Town and win this race by 2,5 lengths I would have been a believer in her J&B chances.

“Emerald Cove and Beach Beauty are no slouches so if she could have done that it would have been a helluva statement and would have strengthen­ed her favouritis­m for the Met.

“I thought talk of her scratching was pie in the sky so it was a shock to hear it was true.

“Igugu won’t have had an ideal prep, as she’s only had one run since the July, but if there is any trainer who can bring her back for the Met it is Mike de Kock.”

Reading between the lines, Snaith obviously viewed the Paddock Stakes as no walk in the park for Igugu, which speaks volumes of his confidence in Emerald Cove.

Snaith was looking forward to the day and hoped that the internatio­nal celebritie­s would accept their invitation­s and further enhance the Royal Ascot-like atmosphere that the race has now become known for.

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