Skip to main content

Andrew Harrison (Gold Circle)

Dave The King was crowned at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday as he finally got it all together. Always threatening in feature races early in his career, he never quite got there as he stretched a few of his riders arms a couple of centimeters longer before running out of puff. But yesterday he sauntered to victory ahead of a high class field in the Gr1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge.

Given Dave The King’s headstrong character, training maestro Mike de Kock finally convinced his owners to call in the vet and once gelded, Dave The King finally started to settle in his races. A big horse with a massive stride he showed his true ability at Hollywoodbets Scottsville last time out and the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge was a sublime performance.

“The biggest horse with the smallest jockey,” were fitting words in the canter down from commentator Alistair Cohen and Muzi Yeni is a master at picking up smart feature race rides and cashing in.

In the past it was always Dave The King up front and pulling like a train, this time Yeni was able to let Snow Pilot and then Itsrainingwilliam do the donkey work with Cousin Casey in close attendance. Just how well Dave The King has learnt to race; Yeni was sitting just off the pace with reins like fishing lines. Coming up the hill the big-striding gelding slipped through on the turn like he was on greased rails and sailed past the pacemakers.

Cousin Casey is showing signs of his better form but was not making any impression on Dave The King but on the other side of the track, See It Again was making good late progress. Second in last year’s Hollywoodbets Durban July, See It Again was caught wide for much of the early stages but was making good progress in the run for the wire and should strip at his peak for the big race for Michael Roberts and surely Piere Strydom’s final hurrah before he hangs up his boots.

Disappointments were the three year olds who were at the top of the betting boards. Lucky Lad was never in it , Main Defender challenged briefly and Sandringham Summit had every chance.

Dave The King is an entry in the Hollywoodbets Durban July but on each occasion that he has tried further than a mile he has not seen out the trip. However, the way he settled in the running yesterday, another crack at the big race must surely be on the cards.

Oriental Charm ran a brilliant warm-up for the Hollywoodbets Durban July with an end-to-end victory in the Gr3 Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial. Drawn wide, JP van der Merwe committed early in the 1800m event, taking up the lead. A little head-strong as Van der Merwe took a hold approaching the 1400m mark, Oriental Charm finally settled up the hill and was not for the catching in the straight. “He took his last run well and was at least five or six lengths better this time,” commented James Crawford, assistant to his father Brett. Favourite Mucho Dinero ran no sort of race and his chances of making the July field now look slim.

With over a month to the end of the season, Richard Fourie is well on his way to setting an almost unbeatable record number of wins. He broke Anthony Delpech’s long standing record of 334 with a polished ride on odds-on favourite Double Grand Slam in the East Coast Radio Gr2 Tibouchina Stakes.