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Oriental Charm gets the better of Cousin Casey to win the 2024 Hollywoodbets Durban July. Photo: Candiese Lenferna/Gold Circle/Gameplan Media
Brett Crawford recorded back-to-back wins in the R5 Million Hollywoodbets Durban July when three-year-old Oriental Charm made most of the running to record a famous victory in the 128th running of Africa’s greatest horse race. The colt is owned by Greg Bortz, Leon Ellman and Gina Goldsmith.
Rider JP van der Merwe put it all on the line by taking his mount to the front shortly after the start and the colt held on gamely from outsider Cousin Casey, Royal Victory and Flag Man.
Top weight See It Again was a touch unlucky after being involved in some scrimmaging around the 1400m mark and Piere Strydom was then forced to check off the heels of the winner, who cut across his bows shortly before that line.
Favourite Green With Envy had every chance and although running on stoutly, he did not make up the ground fast enough and finished some two lengths off the winner.
Oriental Charm enjoyed the exact same preparation for the race as stable companion Winchester Mansion last year, running second in the Gr2 WSB 1900 and following up by winning the G3 Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial as Crawford plotted a meticulous passage into the big race.
The race was enjoyed by a crowd of over 40 000 who were entertained by South African super group Mango Groove, who also sang the National Emblem.
Piere Strydom took some rough medicine in the Hollywoodbets Durban July but made up for it with a brilliant front-running ride in the Gr1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes as he kept just enough in reserve to hold off Happy Chance to deny Crawford a Gr1 double. Third was the heavily supported Double Grand Slam who unfortunately took a blow across the nose as Richard Fourie tried for a closing gap, but she did run on stoutly for third.
Trained by Mike de Kock, Humdinger has performed well at the highest level without managing a Gr 1 win but does have an affinity with Hollywoodbets Greyville.
Earlier Quido Pro Quo built on her win in the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship with an emphatic victory in the Gr2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer and confirmed herself as the best juvenile filly racing at present. Trained by Barend Botes and ridden by S’Manga Khumalo, Quid Pro Quo came from well off the pace at the top of the straight to scythe through the opposition to put over two lengths over outsiders Fatal Flaw and VJ’S Angel. Favourite Gimme’s Countess had every chance but failed to fire.
Proceed and Cosmic Speed finished one-two in the Gr1 Gold Medallion at Hollywoodbets Scottsville for Sean Tarry and the positions were reversed in the Gr2 Durban Golden Horseshoe as Cosmic Speed took advantage of a pole position draw under Craig Zackey and sprinted clear of his field. Proceed, who jumped from the extreme outside draw, looked dangerous for a few strides but had no answers to his stable companion’s finishing burst with the judges unable to separate Cat’s Pajamas and The Specialist in a dead-heat for third.
The Pick 6 pool reached a record R15 million with the Place Accumulator reaching R1.98 million.