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Long-standing friends and ownership partnership James Drew and Mike Fullard are no strangers to big race participation on Hollywoodbets Durban July day and have gone close in the big one a number of times before, but being associated with Lucinda Woodruff’s first ever feature race win would have been just as rewarding.
Lucinda is the daughter of five-times national champion trainer Geoff Woodruff, who won the July twice with El Picha in 1999 and 2000, and she is the grand-daughter of six-times Durban July-winning legend Terrance Millard.
Her four-year-old Var gelding Cafe Culture has had some fine formlines for over a year and it was no surprise, considering his exceptional turn of foot, that he was able to come down in trip from 1400m to win the Gr 2 Post Merchants, which usually has a furious pace and suits horses who can run on from off the pace.
He proved he has plenty of pace too, because Richard Fourie was able to get him into a handy position on the rail from pole position.
They had concertina-ed turning for home, but he was only about three lengths off the leader King Of The Gauls.
His turn of foot was so superior on this occasion that it was race over before the 200m mark as he powered down the inside rail.
He finished 1,70 lengths clear of the perennial Graded race bridesmaid At My Command with Teflon Man, Melech and Cruis Control finishing two lengths,  2,15 and 3,35 lengths back in third, fourth and fifth respectively.
The 105-rated Cafe Culture carried only 54kg and was 1kg under sufferance with At My Command, but he has always struck as a Graded winner in the making and he was backed into 11/2 second favourite behind the 28/10 shot Cruise Control.
A R50 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale purchase, Café Culture was the second leg of a feature double on the big day for Ridgemont Stud and is by the late Var (Forest Wildcat) out of the five-time winning Dynasty mare, Put The Kettle On.

Raced by Mike Fullard, and James and Lee-Ann Drew, the winner made it 7 wins from 18 starts and 6 places for stakes of R881 652..

“His liking for the Hollywoodbets Durbanville circuit prompted us to take our chances here in Durban. I’m glad we did,” said Lucinda.