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Picture: Cousin Casey Cruises to victory on Saturday (Candiese Lenferna).

The Glen Kotzen-trained Cousin Casey’s win of the Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes under Grant van Niekerk rolled back the years to some of KZN’s big race days and both his class and pedigree make him an ideal Hollywoodbets Durban July candidate.
Cousin Casey is out of a full-sister to the Kotzen-trained 2009 Durban July winner Big City Life.
He was bred by stalwart horse woman from the East Cape, Gill Thompson of Riyo Stud.
Gill owned the 2010 Durban July winner Bold Silvano.
She sold a share in Bold Silvano to Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum during the Champions Season of that year and he won the big race in the Sheik’s colours.
Fittingly, Bold Silvano’s breeder Ashley Parker of Ascot Stud represented Gill on Saturday when receiving the breeder’s trophy.
Cousin Casey has a fascinating pedigree and has July winner written all over him.
He is by the new boom sire Vercingetorix, the son of the now six times national champion sire, Silvano.
Silvano was the only sire to have produced four July winners, Bold Silvano, Heavy Metal, Power King and Marinaresco, going into this year’s Hollywoodbets sponsored event and  he made it five with Sparkling Water. His son Safe Passage finished third too, which did not match his feat of 2015 when he sired the first three past the post.
Cousin Casey, as mentioned, is out of a full sister to July winner Big City Life.
However, the July credentials of the female line do not end there.
Cousin Casey’s third dam is the Argentinian-bred Gran Moza, a full sister to Grade 1 winner Hard Up, who was exported to stand as a stallion in South Africa. He had fine success as a stallion too, including producing dual Grade 1 winner Drum Star and Grade 1 winner Young Harvest, among 22 individual stakes winners of 38 races. 
One of his stakes performers was the Grade 1 Allan Robertson runner up Tight Drums, who was the full sister to Drum Star.
Tight Drums was the granddam of Silvano’s second July winner, Heavy Metal.
So it is not just the relatives of July winners in Cousin Casey’s pedigree that make him such a cast-in-iron July candidate, but he also has the right cross-breeding.
Cousin Casey oozes class and was in the opinion of many pundits the most impressive winner on Saturday.
Van Niekerk managed to slot him into a midfield position with cover after jumping from a tricky draw of nine.
He travelled comfortably and then showed an exhilarating turn of foot in the straight to win going away by 2,10 lengths.
Glen’s brother Nathan saddled the runner up Royal Victory (Pathfork), who had also finished second to Cousin Casey in the Grade 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m.
Cousin Casey runs in the colours of Ravi Naidoo, who was fortunate to acquire a Vercingetorix before his price range went through the roof.
Glen Kotzen bought him for R375,000 at the BSA National Yearling Sales.
Cousin Casey’s stallion value must be high already and the offers are sure to be forthcoming.