Sean Veale, who rides Billy Bowlegs, and his wife Maxine at the Hollywoodbets Durban July Final Field and Draw Ceremony (Candiese Lenferna Photography).
The Alec Laird-trained Billy Bowlegs looks to be good value for the Hollywoodbets Durban July at 33/1 with the sponsor.
The The United States three-year-old colt ran on well for third after being dropped out from a wide draw in the Gr 1 WSB SA Classic.
He then ran on well again for second in the Gr 1 WSB SA Derby over 2400m.
Then in the Gr 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge he did not settle perfectly in the early stages, so did well to stay on for a 1,10 length fourth.
The Champions Challenge is a a weight for age race and Billy Bowlegs will now face the winner Puerto Manzano on terms 3kg better than weight for age and he will be 1,5kg better off than weight for age with both the runner up Second Base And third-placed Rain In Holland.
Rain in Holland on 25/2, Puerto Manzano on 17/1 are shorter than him in the betting, despite the weight turnaround favouring him.
Billy Bowlegs also looks to have plenty of scope for further improvement.
Sean Veale gets his third ride in the Hollywoodbets Durban July on Billy Bowlegs, who landed a good draw of five.
Sean said, “I’m very happy with the draw and he’s doing well so I’m very excited. I’ve been up to Jo’Burg twice to gallop him and will go up on Thursday and his final workout will be on Friday. At the weights I think he has a chance. He’s still a young horse but he’s doing very well. He’s a very progressive horse.”
Going back to the draw Sean said he would be able to settle Billy Bowlegs from the off from draw five, which was perfect for a horse who lacked early pace. He also believed he would be able to hold his position on this horse, who is a nice size.
Sean’s best July finish was in 2021 when fifth on Rascallion and he added, “And I couldn’t get a run.”
Alec Laird will be out to land a 17th July for probably the race’s most prolific extended family.
His father Syd won a record seven July’s as a trainer, his grandfather Alec won one July as a jockey, his great Uncle Syd Garrett won two Julys as a jockey and three as a trainer, his cousins Dennis Drier and Charles Laird each won one July and he himself has won one July.
It is 27 years since Alec won the July and 16 since Charles landed the last of the 16 Julys for the racing dynasty, so they are overdue for another.