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Cousin Casey remains the firm favourite for the Hollywoodbets Durban July despite the absence of Al Muthana among the entries, which is going to make the Glen Kotzen-trained three-year-old colt’s task tougher. (Picture: Candiese Lenferna).

 

The Hollywoodbets Durban July has attracted a 60-strong entry and there is plenty of intrigue.

Bookmakers have not reacted to the significant absence among the entries of Al Muthana.

They should have because his absence dampens the chances of the ante-post favourite, the Glen Kotzen-trained Cousin Casey, whose price has remained firm.

Al Muthana not being in the field means Cousin Casey will now have to give weight to his fellow three-year-olds, which he would not have had to do if Al Muthana was going to be a runner. 

Cousin Casey is to date following in the footsteps of the SA Champions Season campaign of Kotzen’s only July winner Big City Life, who, like him, finished second in the Byerley Turk in his pipe opener.

The highest rated three-year-old in the country See It Again will, as things stand, carry the same weight as Cousin Casey, 57kg, whereas he would have had to give Cousin Casey half-a-kilogram had Al Muthana been in. See It Again’s trainer Michael Roberts will be out to join a select band who have won the July as both a jockey and a trainer and he has a fine chance of doing so. The Grade 1 Splashout Cape Derby winner is a three-parts brother to Do It Again and could provide Piere Strydom with a fairytale swansong to his glittering career by winning him a record-equaling fifth July.

Twice winner Do It Again is among the entries and will be the first horse to race in six Julys if he lines up. He could become the first to win it three times too.
 
His trainer Justin Snaith is going for his 6th July win and has nine entries.
 
The ruling second favourite Pomp And Power looks to be Snaith’s chief hope, although Do It Again can never be written off.
 
The best has not been seen yet of Pacaya, who is given a good chance by the Snaiths, although he still has a lot to do to qualify.
 
One Way Traffic ran a cracker when winning last season’s July consolation race easily in a time 0,80 seconds quicker than the July itself, so he is another interesting entry for Snaith.
 
Mike de Kock also goes for a sixth July and has seven entries.
 
Dave The King is one of the most interesting of them, because he looks to be the type of horse De Kock could get the best out of.
 
Safe Passage, third last year, is a strong contender for De Kock, although he has not been seen since finishing second in the Summer Cup.
 
De Kock’s SA Derby winner Aragosta is capable of upsetting.
 
A notable absentee is De Kock’s winner last year Sparkling Water. She has been retired to stud, not surprisingly as she has disappointed in three out of five starts this season.
 
Alec Laird is the last trainer standing of the July’s winning-most extended family and Billy Bowlegs gives this family a real chance of landing a 17th July win as trainers or jockeys.
 
The sponsor Hollywoodbets also have a fine chance with the Grant Maroun-trained Anfields Rocket, who looked like he would relish this trip based on his running on third in the Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes.
 
Sean Tarry goes for a third July win and he has seven interesting entries.
 
Cape trainer Brett Crawford has seven entries in his bid to win a first July. 
 
Vaugan Marshall, also bidding for a first July, has two entries, the third favourite Rascallion and the former July runner up Linebacker.
 
KZN trainers have six entries including See It Again.
 
The competition for a place in the final field of 18 will be tight.
 

The winners of the undermentioned Grade 1 races in the current season will qualify automatically,  save that, where appropriate, Gold Circle reserves the right to request a public gallop to determine the well-being / fitness in the event that any of these winners have not raced within three months of the date of final declaration.

 
The L’Ormarins King’s Plate – won by Al Muthana
World Sports Betting Cape Town Met – won by Jet Dark
SplashOut Cape Derby – won by See It Again
World Sports Betting SA Classic – won by Anfields Rocket
Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic – won by Bless My Stars
World Sports Betting SA Derby – won by Son Of Raj
Premier’s Champions Challenge
Daily News 2000
Woolavington 2000
Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge
 
Winners of the following races in the current season will enjoy preferential consideration for inclusion in the final Hollywoodbets Durban July field:
 
Betway Gr1 Summer Cup -won by Puerto Manzano
World Sports Betting Gr2 1900
Gr3 Cup Trial
 
The Hollywoodbets Durban July timeline:
 
First declarations close at 11h00 on Monday, 8 May
First supplementary entries close at 11h00 on Tuesday, 9 May
Second declarations close at 11h00 on Monday, 29 May
Final supplementary entries close at 11h00 on Tuesday, 13 June
Weights will be published on Tuesday, 13 June
Final Declaration close at 11h00 on Monday 19 June
Final Field and Draw announcement will take place on Tuesday, 20 June

Public gallops (compulsory) will be held on Thursday, 22 June.

 
The full field can be seen in the below ante-post betting board: