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Well done, Chris

Heartwarming story as Lorenzo Marques returns to the track
Updated October 29, 2014 
Chris Snaith
Chris Snaith
When Chris Snaith started his fledgling training career and put together a string, there wasn’t a lot of spare cash lying around for fashionable bloodstock. What he did have though, was an eye for a horse and a quiet knack for mending those that needed help. The healing cold water therapy of Muizenberg beach and lots of patience saw him fashion unexpected gems from riding school hacks and other people’s chuck outs, going that extra mile to unearth potential that others had overlooked.
Although life at Snaith Racing looks a little different these days, the old tried and tested ingredients are still there. And old habits die hard.
Lorenzo Marques is by Silvano out of the Oaks-winning Coastal mare, Victoria Bay. He was bred by Adv Altus Joubert and was a R90k purchase by Basil Marcus Racing at the 2009 National Yearling Sales. The colt had 2 starts for Michael de Beer, carrying the lime green and blue silks of Paul Loomes, Etienne Braun, George Nichas and Newbury Racing before making his way across to the Snaith yard in Philippi. He flourished in their care, breaking his maiden under Bernard Fayd’herbe on 27 November 2010 and earning a fistful of place cheques, including a 2nd in the EC Derby and a minor placing in the Cape’s Winter Derby. He travelled to KZN for the Durban season and took his place in the 2011 Gold Cup.
The day’s going is officially recorded as ‘very soft’ and Jono recalls that it was very wet and muddy. 300m from home Lorenzo Marques’ tendon went in his near fore and jockey Greg Cheyne eased him out of the race. After a year’s break he was back and despite struggling with his soundness, Lorenzo Marques ran a few more nice races, earning 4 more place cheques before vet, Dr Dave Timpson warned that the tendon wasn’t going to stand much more racing. The connections called it a day and placed him with the REHORP programme for rehoming in June 2013.

Lorenzo MarquesCracks his Maiden
Lorenzo Marques cracks his maiden
Jono resumes the story “We didn’t hear back and presumed he’d found a good home. About four months ago, we got a call from the SPCA to say that they’d an issue with one of the horses they rehomed for us and asked whether we could help. We drove out to the farm to take a look and the horse looked shocking – condition, feet and coat. My father basically got into physical fight with the owners as we were loading him. The SPCA system fortunately ensures that there’s a contract in place, so we could get him out of there. We couldn’t do anything with him in that state, so that plan was to bring him home, feed him up and get him looking and feeling good, before finding him another home. He’d been out in a paddock with some friends for a while and was obviously starting to feel better about life, because he broke out one day and went galloping down the road and all over the farm. That afternoon we brought him in for Dave Timpson to look at in case he’d got hurt. Dave checked him over and said the horse was sound as a bell. When we told him who it was, he was completely shocked and said he couldn’t believe it was the same horse. He suggested the time was definitely right to start looking for that new home. My dad had been standing quietly by listening all this and decided to put him back in work – you know my dad!”
Chris started riding the horse. They progressed to trotting and cantering and everything held up OK. Justin started taking him down to the beach, he started looking better and his coat came good. “Then he started beating some of the horses at home and we thought ‘hold on a second.’ We gave him a gallop and that went well, so we put him back in work.” And in fact he did so well that Lorenzo Marques will have his first start in 16 months in race 7 at Kenilworth on Wednesday, 29 October.

Lorenzo Marques
Lorenzo Marques
“We’ve basically been training him for free as it’s been a bit of a joke really, but we’ll see how things go. Obviously he’ll just be having a gallop and we’re just hoping he comes home safe and sound and we’ll take it from there. It’s going to be interesting and maybe he surprises us.”
No matter what the results board says on Wednesday, just being out on that track will be a win for Lorenzo Marques and his team.