Grant van Niekerk’s name appears next to Warrior in the Hollywoodbets Durban July declarations but Vaughan Marshall countered by saying, “He is engaged to ride Linebacker, there is no question about it.”
Warrior is unlikely to make the final field anyway. He didn’t appear anywhere on the final log, so needed a big race in the Grade 3 Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial on Saturday and his 3,35 length fourth would not have been enough.
Marshall was very pleased with Linebacker’s run in the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge on Saturday.
He burst through after displaying his fine turn of foot and was only caught late by Al Muthana.
Marshall said he had come out of the race well and it should put him spot on for the big one.
Van Niekerk has ridden the Captain Of All gelding in eight of his last nine starts which included two Grade 1 victories and a narrow second in last year’s July.
Picture: Grant van Niekerk celebrates after winning the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Cape Derby on Linebacker last year (Wayne Marks).