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Royal Victory at this year’s Hollywoodbets Durban July Gallops (Candiese Lenferna Photography)
This year KZN had three chances to end their 30 year drought in the Hollywoodbets Durban July and they put up a bold bid.
The last KZN-trained horse to win the big race was the Ricky Maingard-trained Space Walk in 1994 , although he won on objection, and the last KZN-trained horse to cross the line first was the Dennis Drier-trained Spanish Galliard in 1992.
On Saturday the Gareth van Zyl-trained Flag Man was given a magnificent ride by Serino Moodley, who was attempting to become the first jockey of Indian descent to win the July.
In fact Flag Man looked the winner going through the 200m mark as he had ranged alongside Oriental Charm. However, the courageous Oriental Charm fought back to regain the lead. Flag Man ultimately finished a gallant 1,70 length fourth.
The Michael Roberts-trained runner up from last year See It Again would have finished a close third had it not been for late intereference, which saw Piere Strydom having to snatch him up. Instead he finished a 1,80 length fifth.
However, the Nathan Kotzen-trained Royal Victory made it third, fourth and fifth for KZN-trained horses by staying on in his usual resolute style to finish a fine 1,40 length third.
Royal Victory had thus failed to break a 57 year drought on pole position drawn horses winning the July, the last being the dead-heating Jollify in 1967.
However, the Pathfork gelding remains the highest earning horse in the country this season having increased the figure to R4,625,250 with Oriental Charm now in second place on R3,484,375.