Rascallion is one of the Hollywoodbets Durban July entries who is running in Saturday’s Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge (Candiese Lenferna Photography).
Racing enthusiasts will watch contenders Cousin Casey, Rascallion, Safe Passage and Zapatillas
David Mollett (Business Day)
While Charles Dickens can take a step towards horse-of-the-year honours in Saturday’s Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge at Greyville, racing fans will be focusing on Durban July contenders Cousin Casey, Rascallion, Safe Passage and Zapatillas.
Bookies took a hammering at last weekend’s Scottsville meeting, and will be hoping to beat Charles Dickens but it seems an unlikely scenario.
The Trippi colt looked at the top of his game when beating July favourite See It Again in the Gr 2 WSB Guineas.
The change of jockeys for Cousin Casey and Rascallion are particularly interesting ahead of the final July field being announced on June 20.
S’manga Khumalo gets the call to partner Cousin Casey for the first time with the colt’s regular rider, Grant van Niekerk, saying in the Sporting Post that there’s “nothing sinister” in him not riding Glen Kotzen’s horse as he didn’t think he would run.
Van Niekerk had accepted the ride on Al Muthana who will strip in tip-top shape in the care of outstanding horseman Ricky Maingard.
A win — or more likely a well placed effort — from Cousin Casey might put the Kotzen camp in something of a dilemma as Khumalo has proved he knows his way home in the July. Owner Ravi Naidoo is overdue for a happy ending.
The booking of Corné Orffer for Rascallion suggests he has been pencilled in as the likely rider for the July. The five-year-old has been this column’s idea of the big race winner since his nightmare run in the Cape Met.
Orffer had a few years with master trainer Dennis Drier before signing up for Brett Crawford’s yard in the Cape. He has partnered some top performers including Captain America.
He has ridden Rascallion in four of his last five starts and will know he’s aboard a top horse as — despite the interference — he finished just two lengths behind Jet Dark in the Met.
After his flop in the Greyville 1900, Safe Passage’s supporters — and trainer Mike de Kock — seemed happy enough with his next outing at Turffontein. We will learn a lot more on Saturday for which 2022’s July third is a 16-1 chance.
Turf Talk this week put forward 40-1 long-shot, Royal Aussie, as an outsider to consider in the Gold Challenge and perhaps he has a quartet chance as only 10 runners will face the starter.
Charles Dickens’ stablemate, Trip Of Fortune, has enjoyed an excellent season and Gareth Wright will partner the horse who heads the horse-of-the-year log. A ninth win for the Horse Chestnut Stakes victor looks a tough ask.
Rock pool has been priced up 2-1 favourite for the grade 3 Cup Trial, but the each-way value may lie with 12-1 chance, Cape Eagle. The five-year-old — winner of five of his last seven starts — will be sharper for his run in last month’s Greyville 1900.
Both Shoemaker and Winchester Mansion arrive with sound claims while Quasiforsure needs to bounce back after a disappointing performance when favourite for the 1900.
Punters will need to include at least half a dozen runners in their perms for the grade 2 Tibouchina Stakes for which Marigold Hotel heads the market at 7-2.
There was lots to like about Tipsy Tarragon’s recent win in the Syringa Handicap and Tony Peter’s raider can go well in the hands of regular pilot Denis Schwarz.
Earlier in the meeting, Sean Tarry’s filly, Kingdom Of Gold, will appreciate the step up to 1,400m in the Devon Air Stakes and looks worth a punt.
1st Race: (4) Rainbow Reward (1) Plaza Accord (7) El Draque (5) Helsinki
second Race: (9) Explosive Speed (5) Aberdeen (12) Petteia (8) Kyomai
third Race: (7) Kingdom Of Gold (13) Soldier’s Eye (10) Oriental Bouquet (2) African Folklore
fourth Race: (1) Gimmeanotherchance (6) Romance In Rome (2) Far Horizon (8) Kupholiwe
fifth Race: (4) Cape Eagle (1) Rockpool (10) Shoemaker (5) Winchester Mansion
sixth Race: (7) Tipsy Tarragon (11) Marigold Hotel (6) Shantastic (12) Going Up
seventh Race: (4) Charles Dickens (1) Cousin Casey (5) Al Muthana (2) Rascallion
eighth Race: (7) Southern Skies (3) Smith And Wesson (10) Ensuing (12) Captain Casey
ninth Race: (3) Reefway (10) Shipholia (2) Our Emily (9) Meteoric
10th Race: (6) Mister Lincoln (1) Master Josh (8) Give Us A Smile (9) Majestic Reign