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Last year’s winner Shangani is the topweight for this year’s World Pool Gold Cup and the weight structure is in his favour (Candiese Lenferna Photography).


The bottom weight for the Gr 3 World Pool Gold Cup was changed to 54kg last year and the weights are compressed too, which gives the highest merit rated horses a double advantage.
Based on normal handicapping, only topweight Shangani is not under sufferance in this year’s race.
The final field of 15 and one reserve was published today.
The weight order of the horses and the amount they are under sufferance with Shangani according to normal handicapping methods is shown below:
Shangani 5yo (120) 60kg
Nebraas 6yo (117) 59kg
(0,5kg under sufferance with topweighted)
Aragosta 4yo (114) 57.5kg
(1kg under sufferance)
Salvator Mundi 5yo (109) 56.5kg
(2kg under sufferance)
One Way Traffic 5yo (108) 56kg
(2kg under sufferance)
Senso Unico 4yo (108) 55.5kg
(2kg under sufferance)
Future Pearl 3yo (112) 55kg
(2.5kg under sufferance)
Black Thorn 5yo (102) 54kg
(3kg under sufferance)
Crimson King  5yo (101) 54kg
(3.5kg under sufferance)
Raiseahalleluja 5yo (99) 54kg
(4.5kg under sufferance)
Sea Master 5yo (99) 54kg
(4.5kg under sufferance)
Fight Song (5yo) (94) 54kg
(7kg under sufferance)
Arumugam 4yo (94) 54kg
(7.5kg under sufferance)
Rockie Reef (4yo) (92) 54kg
(8.5kg under sufferance)
Flying First Class (5yo) (91) 54kg
(8.5kg under sufferance).
Reserve: Electric Surge (6yo) (83) 54kg
(12.5kg under sufferance)
The race attracted a full field of 15 and there is one reserve.
Among them is the Sean Tarry-trained three-year-old Futura gelding, Future Pearl, who will be attempting to emulate the 2017 feat of Hermoso Mundo by landing the unofficial stayers triple crown. He has won both the WSB Gold Bowl over 3200m and the DSTV Gold Vase over 3000m, so can make it a third “Gold” staying race next Sunday. The big bay relishes soft ground and is the current favourite (15/10 with Hollywoodbets). He will be ridden by Richard Fourie and is well drawn in three. 
Two former winners are in the line up, Shangani and Nebraas.
Shangani’s recent run of three below par runs should not be off putting. He came into the race last year on the back of three similar performances and it didn’t stop him carrying 59kg off a 116 merit rating to victory. He is officially the best weighted runner in the field, as shown above, and has a good draw of 6, so his odds of 25/2 with Hollywoodbets could be generous.
Nebraas has not had things go his way much lately and did not have it go his way in last year’s Gold Cup. When he won it in 2021 he lay handy under Lyle Hewitson, admittedly with a low weight of 52.5kg. Last year as a five-year-old he carried topweight of 60kg but was too far back in the running. He won from draw 13 and jumps from draw seven under Hewitson, so his price with Hollywoodbets of 25/2 could also be generous.
The long-striding Senso Unico is drawn two and if he can start better than he did in the Gold Vase he could be a player. He stayed on from last for fourth in the Gold Vase over 3000m. However, he is a tad one-paced and this big staying type will likely be seen to best effect if handy behind a strong pace. Where will that pace come from though?
Black Thorn always struck as a classy stayer who never quite fulfilled his potential. It did not pan out for him too well in last year’s Gold Cup where he was strongly fancied, but he still finished fourth. It was a surprise to see him appearing for a new yard, the Mike de Kock yard, on Hollywoodbets Durban July day after a six month layoff. He fought early in the Splashout 2200 when the jockey tried to drop him out, but he then settled quite well when finding cover near the back. He ran on superbly for fourth place, considering he was returning from such a long layoff. If De Kock has him at his best in his second run after a layoff he could be a big runner.
Aragosta finished second in the Splashout 2200, staying on well from midfield under Christophe Soumillon, and he is now 5kg better off with Crimson King for a 1,70 length beating. Last year he came from last in the Gold Cup and did not make telling inroads, but if lying more handy this year the former SA Derby winner will have a say. That is especially considering that, unlike last year, he is not coming off a tough race in the July. Nebraas won from draw 13 in 2021, as it allowed him room to go handy, so Aragosta’s draw of 13 might not be bad.
Crimson King has come in for heavy betting support despite his hard task at the weights. Brett Crawford is sure to have him as fit as a fiddle. He is by Dynasty, who has produced three Gold Cup winners. He comes off that fine win in the Splashout 2200. He held his position in that race despite being squeezed in the straight, which showed how well he was going. He was beaten 18,60 lengths in last year’s Gold Cup, but didn’t come in off good form.
One Way Traffic is also by Dynasty and showed what he was capable of in last year’s July consolation race. He was unplaced behind Crimson King in that race this year, but was probably on the unfavourable side of the track in the straight. He finished just 1,80 lengths behind Sparkling Water in  the Gr 2 New Turf Carriers Western Cape Stayers over 2800m last year, despite going around them down the back straight to take it up. He also has to be considered.
Salvator Mundi is also by Dynasty. He won the Gr 2 new Turf Carriers Western Cape Stayers over 2800m in January. He was raised ten points for that win meaning he has to carry 56.5kg in the Gold Cup this year as opposed to 54kg last year when beaten 10,80 lengths. He has in fact run six times at HWB Greyville and been unplaced five times, his best performance at the tight Durban track being a well beaten fourth. However, he is capable on his day so some might want to include him.  
Arumugam can’t be ignored because he is trained by Weiho Marwing, who is a master of training staying horses. Officially he has a tough task at the weights and he comes off an eleven length beating in the Gold Vase. 
The final field is shown below:
Race-7 (Turf) R1 000 000 3200m 14:50 Ref-965
1st R625000, 2nd R200000, 3rd R100000, 4th R50000, 5th R25000
WFA: 3yrs-3.5kgs 4yrs-0.5kgs
No Apprentice / Female Sex Allowance
1 1 Raiseahallelujah 54 99 A J P v’d Merwe Candice Dawson
2 2 Senso Unico 55.5 108 A S Veale Vaughan Marshall
3 3 Future Pearl 55 112 T A R Fourie Sean Tarry
4 4 Arumugam 54 94 B A *K A Brewer Weiho Marwing
5 5 Fight Song 54 94 A *S Hlengwa Gareth van Zyl
6 6 Shangani 60 120 B A C Zackey Tony Peter
7 7 Nebraas 59 117 TB A L Hewitson Sean Tarry
8 8 Rockie Reef 54 92 A T Godden Peter Muscutt
9 9 Flying First Class 54 91 H A C Habib David Nieuwenhuizen
10 10 One Way Traffic 56 108 B A G van Niekerk Justin Snaith
11 11 Black Thorn 54 102 A K de Melo Mike de Kock
12 12 Sea Master 54 99 P A A Mgudlwa Gareth van Zyl
13 13 Aragosta 57.5 114 C A S Khumalo Mike de Kock
14 14 Crimson King 54 101 A K Matsunyane Brett Crawford
15 15 Salvator Mundi 56.5 109 A G Lerena Justin Snaith
Reserve Runners
16 0 Electric Surge 54 83 A Reserve 1 Robbie Hill