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Oriental Charm wins the Cup Trial in emphatic fashion under JP van der Merwe (Candiese Lenferna Photography)
The Hollywoodbets Durban July weights have been given another shake up after the weekend racing.
The second favourite and topweight See It Again has been given a significant one point drop to 131 after his 2,45 length third in the Gr 1 weight for age Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge.
He was raised one point to 132 after his impressive win in the Gr 2 Green Point Stakes over 1600m earlier this season.
However, he has failed to confirm he is up to that rating in three subsequent runs, in the Gr 1 wfa L’Ormarins King’s Plate, the Gr 1 wfa WSB Met and in Saturday’s Gold Challenge.
See It Again’s drop to 131 was good news for Saturday’s Gr 3 Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial winner, the Brett Crawford-trained Oriental Charm, who off his new merit rating of 121 sneaks into the handicap in the July with the minimum weight for a three-year-old male of 53kg.
The Vercingetorix colt, owned by Greg Bortz, Gina Goldsmith and Leon Ellman, is now July third favourite at 6/1 after an emphatic victory in Saturday’s Gr 3 Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial over 1800m.
This three-year-old colt was coming off a second place finish in the WSB 1900.
Last year’s July winner, the Crawford-trained Winchester Mansion, went in to the big race off a second in the WSB 1900 and a win in the Cup Trial, so history might repeat itself.
Oriental Charm’s win in the Cup Trial vindicated the handicappers decision to raise the July favourite Green With Envy four points to 127 for his Gr 1 Daily News 2000 win. Green With Envy won the Gr 1 Splashout Cape Derby in a canter, beating  Oriental Charm by 3,25 lengths.
Oriental Charm’s three point raise for Saturday’s win to 121 means that as things stand Oriental Charm will get 3kg from Green With Envy in the July.
The others, besides Green With Envy, who would not have liked See It Again’s drop are Winchester Mansion and Royal Aussie, who will now both have to carry 56.5kg off their 124 ratings, Royal Victory, who will have to carry 57kg off his 125 rating, Cousin Casey, who remains on 123 after his Gold Challenge 2,20 length second and will carry 56kg, Barbaresco, who was on the previously perfect 122 mark but that mark now has him carrying 53,5kg, Flag Man, who will have to carry 55,5kg off his 126, and Without Question, who will carry 54,5kg off his 120.
This year a new ruling means four-year-old and older males have to carry a minimum of 54kg, 1kg more than previous years, and four-year-old and older females have to carry 53kg, also 1kg more than previous years. so that gives the three-year-olds a 1kg advantage.
So all of the other entres not mentioned above, as things stand, will carry the miimum weight for their age and gender i.e. males of four years and older 54kg, females of four year and older 53kg, male 3yos 53kg, female 3yos 52kg.
Oriental Charm will thus have a fine chance of following in Winchester Mansion’s footsteps.
An example of the advantage he enjoys is that he gave Future Swing 2kg when losing to the latter by 0,30 lengths in the WSB 1900, but in the July he will receive 1kg from Future Swing … plus Oriental Charm will have had another two months of weight for age improvement since they last met, considering he is only a three-year-old.
Richard Fourie, incidentally, has been announced as July rider for Future Swing.
Dave The King was an impressive winner of the Gold Challenge on Saturday.
However, he copped just a one point raise, with 123-rated pair Cousin Casey (beaten 2,20 lengths) and Sandringham Summit (beaten 2,65 lengths) being possible line horses.
That will see him carrying 58kg in the July, although the connections are still not convinced he will see out the 2200m trip.
Cup Trial runner up, the 111-rated Shoemaker, put up his hand for a place in the final July field. However, he is 4kg under sufferance in the July weights and is still a borderline July final field case.
Cup Trial third-placed Narina Trogon is now 9,5kg under sufferance, so is unlikely to get in.
Meanwhile, the Tony Peter-trained Meridius has been supplemented for the July after winning the traditional pointer the Gr 3 Jubilee Stakes over 1800m at Turffontein Standside on Saturday under Muzi Yeni, who had a good weekend as he also rode Dave The King. The win made up for the disappointing run of  the Peter-trained Main Defender in the Gold Challenge, which he might have needed, having not run since his Gr 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes win on March 2.
Meridius has been raised to 113, so will be 3kg under sufferance in the July as things stand.
Atticus Finch was runner up in the Jubilee, but had aleady been scratched from the July.
July entry Son Of Raj is a borderline case for the final field and ran a good prep in the Jubilee to finish a one length third, 0,75 lengths ahead of Perfect Witness, who is a July scratching.
The Jubilee favourite Purple Pitcher ran a disappointing 4,75 length eighth, but it is not the first time he has run below par in a comeback preparation run. Off his 120 merit rating this dual Gr 1 winner will be just half-a-kilogram under sufferance in the July.
Son Of Raj is merit rated 119, the perfect rating for an older male as it puts him in the handicap with the minimum weight for an older male of 54kg.
Lucky Lad was one of the July scratchings today (Monday). The Gold Challenge either came too soon for the Golden Horse Sprint hero or he otherwise did not stay the trip, but he found nothing in the straight.
The three-year-olds were put in their place in the Gold Challenge with Sandringham Summit never looking threatening in fourth, beaten 2,65 lengths, Gimmeanotherchance finshing fifth, beaten 3,85 lengths, Main Defender beaten 5,40 lengths into seventh, Lucky Lad beaten 11,65 lengths into eleventh and Snow Pilot’s early exertions to get to the front proving costly and he finished last.
The best middle distance three-year-olds, Green With Envy, Flag Man, Barbaresco, Oriental Charm and Purple Pitcher, are still looking good though and will have a fine chance of landing the Hollywoodbets Durban July between them.