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Jet Dark and Belgarion Highest Rated Entries (130)
Durban, 20 April 2022:
Defending champion KOMMETDIEDING heads the list of 68 entries for the R5-million Hollywoodbets Durban July (HDJ) on Saturday 2 July 2022. Following his superb victory in last year’s HDJ, Kommetdieding scored a sensational victory in the WSB Cape Town Met (Gr1) at the end of January and is widely expected to win the Gr 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge over 2000m at Turffontein on 30 April. Hollywoodbets have priced up the 4yo son of Elusive Fort as the early favourite for South Africa’s most famous horse racing event.
Gold Circle’s Racing Executive Raf Sheik has expressed his delight with the quality of entries received for the R5-million Hollywoodbets Durban July, “The response from owners and trainers across the country has been phenomenal. The 68 entries received include 13 individual Grade 1 winners as well as 3 former winners of this great race. The depth of talent amongst the early entries is most pleasing and it will be exciting to follow their progress over the next two months.”
Seeking his sixth victory in the “July”, popular Cape trainer Justin Snaith holds an entry for no fewer than 12 horses. These include Do It Again and Belgarion, both former winners of the HDJ. Belgarion, who powered home victorious in 2020 has not been seen since finishing midfield in last year’s event and his progress through Champions Season will be followed with keen interest.
Do It Again has an impressive record in the race. Following his back-to-back victories in 2018 and 2019, the 7yo son of Twice Over finished third in 2020 and a most unlucky fourth last year when severely interfered with in the home stretch. But history is against Do It Again! The last time a 7yo won the Hollywoodbets Durban July was way back in 1945 when St Seiriol landed top honours.
Snaith has two Classic winners amongst his 3yo team of entries. Guineas winner, Double Superlative, and Cape Derby winner, Pomp And Power, will be amongst the fan favourites for the 2022 renewal of the HDJ. In particular, Pomp And Power was most impressive when racing clear to land the Cape Derby at his first start beyond 1600m.
Snaith has also entered South Africa’s joint top rated horse and multiple Gr 1 winner Jet Dark. He has twice won the L’Ormarins Queens Plate as well as reigning supreme in the Champions Cup at Hollywoodbets Greyville at the end of last season.
Given the massive prize money on offer this year, the outcome of the HDJ could go a long way to deciding the Trainers’ Championship.
Currently trailing Highveld-based Paul Peter by quite some margin, Snaith will be looking to secure the lion’s share of the R5-million purse to overhaul his in-form rival.
Victory for Justin Snaith would also bring him within one winner of the great Syd Laird who holds the record with 7 “July” victories.
Paul Peter has entered 9 horses for the HDJ but it’s fair to say that most of these have much to prove if they are to make the cut for the final field of 18 runners. His highest rated runner, MK’s Pride, recently won the Gr 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m but it remains to be seen whether the talented son of Willow Magic will stretch that level of form to the HDJ distance of 2200m.
Mike de Kock last tasted HDJ success in 2011 with the 3yo filly Igugu. But that dry spell could well come to an end this year. While Al Muthana may prefer less ground, the same cannot be said for the talented staying filly Sparkling Water or his WSB SA Derby winner Aragosta. De Kock has also entered his Guineas winner, Safe Passage, and the under-the-radar 3yo Motown Magic.
Triple Tiara heroine, Rain In Holland, represents the powerful Sean Tarry and she is backed up by his Summer Cup winners Zillzaal and Flying Carpet. Tarry last won the HDJ with Heavy Metal in 2013.
In 2017 Candice Bass Robinson became the first lady trainer to win the “July” when Marinaresco carried top weight to a resounding victory. Interestingly Candice has entered Marinaresco’s full sister, Marina. Her form is solid and the course and distance should be right up her alley. Currently at 40/1 in the ante post market, Marina certainly offers some appealing value.
While Kommetdieding is the early ante post favourite, his arch rival Linebacker is the 2nd choice at 10/1. Linebacker was narrowly beaten in last year’s HDJ but on current ratings, the Vaughan Marshall-trained runner could easily turn the tables on Kommetdieding.
“It’s a great honour and privilege to have the Hollywoodbets brand associated with an iconic horseracing event that is recognised across the globe. We have already seen major interest in the ante-post betting market, and there will be some value to be found amongst the first entries. The real fun commences in a matter of weeks as Champions Season gets underway,” enthused Hollywoodbets Brand & Communications Manager, Devin Heffer.
Picture: The Harold Crawford and Michelle Rix-trained Kommetdieding welcomed home to Cape Town after winning last year’s Durban July for Ashwin Reynolds and his family.