It is very much on the cards in the Hollywoodbets-Durban July on Saturday that 36-year-old S’manga Khumalo and 35-year-old Muzi Yeni could fight out the finish on the Mike de Kock-trained pair Sparkling Water and Safe Passage resepctively.
Sparkling Water, one of four runners from De Kock’s stable, was put forward as an early July choice back in February at 33-1 so readers who took that price are sitting pretty. Particularly if they took 5-1 a place.
Sparkling Water could give De Kock his third female winner of the race after Ipi Tombe (2002) and Igugu (2011) and Khumalo has elected to partner the filly in preference to Jet Dark.
Khumalo is one up on Yeni as he won the race on Heavy Metal in 2013, but Safe Passage looks to have had a perfect preparation and could see the 35-year-old levelling the score.
Linebacker has to be on everyone’s shortlist as a possible winner as the four-year-old bids to go one better than his second-place finish 12 months ago. It is an interesting call by Vaughan Marshall to fit the blinkers for the first time.
One horse suddenly on the radar is Aragosta and the prospects of the SA Derby winner have surely been enhanced by the booking of champion jockey-elect Warren Kennedy.
Some pundits and jockeys have voiced the opinion that stall one could be the “death knell” for the Rafeef gelding but expert James Goodman has an answer to that. “People seem to forget there probably isn’t a better jockey that rides Greyville than Kennedy.”
Richard Fourie rode Aragosta in the Derby and it would be interesting to know if — given the choice — he would now switch to the son of Rafeef. He will be on Pomp And Power, who has tons of ability, but just might boil over in front of such a large crowd.
Kommetdieding has 7kg more to carry than last year and a repeat win looks unlikely. He is not certain to beat home Do It Again, who is only a month away from his eighth birthday. It is interesting, though, that dual winner Do It Again has his fifth different jockey in his last seven outings — Aldo Domeyer will be doing the steering this time.
Jet Dark is a runner punters need to throw into their exotic bets because if the Queen’s Plate winner gets the trip one feels he will take a hand in the finish. The booking of Bernard Fayd’Herbe — chasing his third July win — is a shrewd move as there will be no dead weight.
Waterberry Lane falls into the same category and has stamina to prove, but he has a light weight and a favourable draw. Even so, one feels his sixth-place finish in the KZN Guineas was a below-par effort.
Owner Suzette Viljoen has enjoyed huge success in the sport in a short space of time and Hoedspruit could spring a surprise. His supporters can point to his being 5kg better off with Linebacker for a three–lengths beating in the Met.
Zapatillas’ dam, Moggytwoshoes, did not win further than 1,600m, which is a worry about his chances, while the best distance for Al Muthana has always looked in the 1,400m to 1,600m region.
In the final analysis, Sparkling Water gets the vote to beat Linebacker, Aragosta and Safe Passage.
Captain’s Ransom will be nearly everyone’s banker in the Brentford FC Garden Province Stakes, though last year’s winner, Zarina, might rise to the big occasion once again. Her trainer, Candice Bass-Robinson, was in hot form at Durbanville on Wednesday.
The racing grapevine is putting forward Bright Green as the right horse in the Golden Horseshoe, but Dean Kannemeyer’s youngster is drawn near the beach and swingers with better-drawn Imposing could be the best way to bet.
1 (12) SPARKLING WATER
2 (4) LINEBACKER
3 (1) ARAGOSTA
4 (10) SAFE PASSAGE
1st Race: (1) Butterfly Beauty (8) Canadian Summer (4) Clean Living (7) Miss Daisy
2nd Race: (10) Taikonaut (2) Now I Got You (12) Pure Maverick (1) Thymetoshine
3rd Race: (10) One Way Traffic (11) Airways Law (3) Flying Bull (6) Shango
4th Race: (8) Black Thorn (4) Salvator Mundi (10) Rex Union (1) Smoking Hot
12th Race: (7) Just Be Nice (5) My Cherie Amour (3) Lady Macbeth (10) Mel’s Princess
Turf Talk July Pen Pictures In Order Of Selection
Do It Again is out to become the first seven-year-old to win it for 77 years, although Pas De Quoi was an unlucky loser as a seven-year-old in 1994. Do It Again has been the best performed horse every year he has run. On paper has an easier task than last year when a desperately unlucky fourth. He was striding out superbly at the Hollywoodbets Durban July gallops. His jockey Aldo Domeyer has the the highest strike rate in the country this season. His low number two draw will guarantee him a position on the fresh four metre wide strip of virgin grass which has been prepared, but, on the other hand, might hamper his momentum into the straight, so is not ideal.
Safe Passage: He is the highest rated three-year-old and carries 54.5kg. He has only been beaten once this season, in the Grade 1 SA Classic, where he was a narrow second, and he was found to be ill a few days later. He won the Grade 1 Daily News when considered to be underdone and should have come on from it. He impressed in the gallops with his stride and look of well-being and he has a good draw of ten.
Kommetdieding: He won last year in fine style, but is now effectively five points higher in the merit ratings. He comes off a below par Highveld campaign, but in his last two public gallops looks to have bounced back now that he down by the coast again.
Sparkling Water did well to run on to only just be denied in the TAB Premier’s Champions Challenge by Astrix, who had galloped at the correct pace in the running way ahead of her.
Pomp And Power, carrying 53kg, is 5kg better off than weight for age with the top-weighted pair Kommetdieding and Jet Dark, which makes him ultra dangerous because he thrashed Double Superlative in the Cape Derby and the latter had finished just 1,7 lengths back in the Met (beaten by Kommetdieding, Jet Dark and Linebacker) on weight for age terms. If he manages to find cover and relax he will be a particularly dangerous runner.
Linebacker proved his credentials last year when a close second and has had a good prep and is only two points higher in the merit ratings. He ran well in first time blinkers in the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge. His overall form coming in was more appealing last year, but there is very little between the top dozen this year and he would be a popular winner.
Jet Dark stayed on well in the Met for second but his turn of foot that day was not as exceptional as it had been in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, which might point to him preferring a mile.
Waterberry Lane ran on well in the Daily News 2000 and looked in superb shape this week, conditioned to his peak by a three-times July-winning trainer.
Airways Law is unexposed but looks to be full of ability and is likely to relish the trip, so should be running on strongly.
Aragosta can’t be ignored as a Mike de Kock-trained SA Derby winner, but Safe Passage alongside him was more eyecatching at the gallops.
Al Muthana won the Gold Challenge well and Richard Fourie, who now rides Pomp And Power, said he would stay the July trip easily, but trainer Mike de Kock has his doubts.
Flying Carpet ups his game in big races and was unlucky in the Premier’s Champions Challenge.
Astrix has an economy of stride and is on the up, but a wide draw makes it tricky for this handy sort.
Puerto Manzano has come into his own, but would prefer a longer straight.
Hoedspruit has a chance at the weights on paper on his Met run as he gets 6,5kg from Kommetdieding for a 4,25 length beating, but his other form does not strike as being good enough.
Belgarion is a former winner who has comeback legend Piere Strydom up and at his best could be involved, but he has had isssues.
Second Base has run below par in his last two starts and even at his best does not strike as a July winner.
Red Saxon beat Safe Passage to win the Grade 1 SA Classic, but his form since then has not been inspiring.
Picture: Do It Again at the Hollywoodbets Durban July Gallops (Candiese Lenferna)
Key Hollywoodbets Durban July Trainers' Quotes
By Jon Vine (RacingInsider.com)
Mike De Kock discusses his runners:
“He’s done very, very well (since arriving in KZN). In fact, he’s grown another leg here. He’s in a good place. It’s just the distance with him. He’s not 100% going to get the distance. He’s not really bred for it. We’ll ride him for luck from the draw (stall 16).”
“I don’t mind the draw (stall one) at all. He’s a horse that can go forward if he can get there. He doesn’t always have the speed out of the gate. We had him forward last time and he ran well, so that’s roughly what we want to do with him.”
“He won (Daily News 2000) well. He accelerated very well off a reasonable gallop. I was very happy with that. He got quite a stiff penalty for that win and I don’t think the handicapper got that right. I don’t think Pomp And Power ran to form. He’s got to be good enough, and tough. Whether they (the three-year-olds) are good enough is always the debate. It’s tough to get solid lines of form into the older horses and obviously the handicapper plays his part too. He’s got to give the other three-year-olds a kilo-and-a-half, so it’s not going to be easy.”
“She must be a big runner. She’s extremely well-handicapped and this is a good distance for her as well. She’s in a really good place at the moment. She’s a completely different horse to Ipi Tombe and Igugu. She’s more of a staying, galloping type.”
Vaughan Marshall talks up the chances of Linebacker:
“The switch has flipped and he’s very, very well. He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do and he’s enjoyed it. We’re just about there. We’ll have one more good sprint up (before the Durban July) and he’ll be spot on.”
“I was over the moon (with his public gallop). The jocks did everything I asked them to do and he finished off his work well. They made a big thing about him not having blinkers on, but you don’t put blinkers on every time the horse works. We keep them as a surprise and we hope they’ll have the right effect on Saturday.”
Justin Snaith goes through his five runners
“We made the decision to train him out of the Western Cape as the tracks are a lot more forgiving. When he won the Durban July he injured a fetlock and when he ran in the race again, he injured the same fetlock. He’s had his issues, but at the moment it’s the soundest we’ve had him in a long time.”
Do It Again
“He’s in top, top form. His prep has gone flawlessly. He’s been in so many Durban July’s, by now, we seem to have got it right. I’m very happy with where he is.”
“Aldo (Domeyer) has always been known as a very quiet rider. Great balance. Great hands. He’s the right type of jockey for Do It Again’s seven-year-old season. The draw (stall two) is immaterial. Do not leave this horse out of anything. He will run his race.”
“He’s the horse who is, I would use the word, unexposed in Group One level. I thought his run in the Met was a good effort.”
“He’s in very good form. I think we’ve prepped him correctly in bringing him into the Durban July fresh. We’ve got the perfect draw in three. Couldn’t have pulled a better draw for this horse. Craig Zackey will put him to sleep somewhere in the race, forget about him and when the right time comes, pull him out and have a go.”
“I do not agree with a lot of the comments that he has been counted out. Do not count this horse out. He’s proven that he can run 2000m as we saw in the Met at Cape Town. He was the fastest-finishing horse, him and Do It Again. Do not count him out. He will run his race.”
Pomp And Power
“Sadly, here in KZN, he’s had very little luck. He had to overcome a bad draw in the Guineas and found himself in front. In the Daily News 2000, we had all the stories of no pace and, unfortunately, he was the horse who found himself in front and he fought very badly.”
“It’s not the way he likes to race. He will be tucked in in the Durban July. All our intentions are to 100% tuck him in. He can settle if he’s given half a chance and, if he does so, then everybody is in trouble.”
Michelle Rix discusses the returning champion, Kommetdieding
“His work has been going good. After watching the public gallops, I think things are rounding off and I have no doubts that this will end on a high.”
“We were going through the comparison photos from last year, and he’s a completely different horse. He’s twice the horse that he was in size. Mentally he’s gone from a boy to a man. A lot of people are doubting the 60kg but he’s a stronger horse to carry it. I’m very happy and when the penny drops with this horse (in the Durban July), you’ll see a difference.”
Dean Kannemeyer gives Waterberry Lane the thumbs up
“I was very pleased with his public gallop at Greyville. He’s a very fit horse. He doesn’t have to do much. I think he looks in good shape and he came through that gallop very well. He finished his race off well over 2000m (Daily News 2000) and I’m quite positive that he’ll get the trip.”
Sean Tarry talking about Flying Carpet
“I’ve been very happy with his prep. His last start was a little disappointing. They went very, very slowly. It was a race that we couldn’t have gone and chased the pace as he was only prepping. It’s not a draw (stall 18) that you’d pick, but it’s a draw that you could put to good use if you ride the right race and with the race lacking in pace, it’s probably where you want to be drawn.”
JA Janse Van Vuuren discusses his two runners
“Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of these Argentinian horses improve through the middle of their four-year-old years. Even when they turn five they improve more and he’s been proven to be like that. He’s in extremely good form at home. The only problem is he likes a long straight. He often gets there too late, which is my only concern about Greyville.”
“Ever since the Summer Cup, he hasn’t really found his best form at home. We are working hard on him. He’s been racing all season and we’ve freshened him up for the July. He’s a horse who does come out the stalls sluggishly but one thing we do know about Second Base is that he’ll stay the 2200m very well.”
Joey Soma speaking about Red Saxon
“He’s done very, very well in KZN. We made a bright move by leaving him here after the Daily News 2000. I was a little bit disappointed by his public gallop. Rachel (Venniker, jockey) was happy but I wasn’t as I wanted them to go a little bit harder in the early part of the gallop. He did finish off the gallop well, which was pleasing, but we might have to give him another gallop (before the Durban July).”
Paul Peter talks about the chances of Astrix
“I wasn’t surprised (by his Premier Champions Challenge win). You know what, he’s just blossoming. He ran in his first 800m race as a two-year-old and he’s just trained on, and trained on. He’s had his hiccups along the way, but they seemed to have been sorted out now as a five-year-old. He’s getting stronger and I was really impressed with his gallop. I couldn’t ask for more. I’m quietly confident of a good run.”
Andre Nel’s Summerveld-based assistant trainer Byron Forster said at the Final Field Announcement Ceremony, where Airways Law was made first reserve (but he is now in the race after the scratching of Zapatillas), “He’s not a flashy horse at home and he’s racing fit. We’re not going to do too much with him into the race now. He is very unexposed and if he does get in as first reserve he will be one of the dark horses for people to consider. His last two runs over a bit of ground have shown he is looking for this sort of trip. I don’t see the 2200m being much of a problem.”
His jockey Gareth Wright confirmed he had a fine turn of foot.
Picture: Mike de Kock (Hollywoodbets)
Airways Law's Last Minute Acceptance Reminds Of Rich Strike
Airway’s Law snuck into the Hollywoodbets Durban July with just over an hour left to the deadline time for acceptance.
His connections must have resigned themselves to running in the consolation race by then considering the last time a reserve got into the big race, Camphoratus in 2019, the scratching happened ten days before the big race.
Rich Strike got into this year’s Kentucky Derby minutes after his trainer had been told to vacate his stable on the Churchill Downs back stretch and minutes before the deadline time.
He famously went on to win the Derby.
Airways Law would become the first July winner to have both a July-winning sire (Legislate) and July-winning grandsire (Dynasty).
Furthermore, he is out of a mare by Jet Master, who sired two July winners (Pocket Power and Pomodoro).
He has the pedigree and he has the looks.
He gives the impression he will relish the 2200m trip.
He is unexposed and nobody knows truly how good he is.
Could he provide a fairytale for trainer Andre Nel and owner Sabine Plattner?
His jockey Gareth Wright was ironically aboard Camphoratus too and having predicted before hand he would run past most of the field in the straight he duly did so, to finish in the all important 6th position, beaten just three lengths by Do It Again.
Picture: Airways Law with trainer Andre Nel’s Summerveld assistant Byron Forster (4Racing twitter).
Peter Muscutt Talks About His July Day Runners
Peter Muscutt has had a fine grounding having been “foreman” to one of the best trainers in the world, Chris Waller, at the time the latter was training the great Winx, and having been assistant also to the like of Brett Crawford.
He has some strong runners at the Hollywoodbets Durban July meeting tomorrow and went through all of them.
Race 5 (Grade 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper) Bevies Delight (Vercingetorix): “She made a very promising debut in a winner’s race against colts where she was drawn 13 out of 14. She spent a lot of energy getting up and over and then still got trapped three deep. She was found wanting in the last furlong but she was not far off the winner in fifth place. She has progressed significantly since then and the step up to the 1400m will be ideal for her. She is potentially a very nice filly and although she is a maiden I don’t think she can be counted out of contention.”
Race 6 (Grade 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe) Formagear (Querari): He made a very impressive debut when heading into the race underdone. He was just too smart for the field and accelerated very smartly to win with ease. The step up to 1400m is very much in his favour as well and with Striker Strydom aboard we going to get all the assistance from the saddle. I don’t really know how good he is but he deserves to take his chance.”
Race 6 Ocean Time (Time Thief): He ran a very promising race at Pietermaritzburg, finishing third in a Group 1 (Gold Medallion). He’s always looked like he’s going to go a bit further He’s in very good order heading in to what is a very competitive race but he’s obviously up with the best of them based on his previous start and he should be competitive on Saturday.”
Race 9 (Grade 2 Post Merchants) Isivunguvungu (What A Winter): Although running third last time (over 1100m) he didn’t produce quite the run I expected, but he did race without cover. He has an awkward draw to navigate, but with Grant van Niekerk on we will ride him more conservatively and hope he gets some cover early. I expect him to be charging late. We haven’t quite established whether he’s better over 1200m or 1000m. He possesses a lot of natural gate speed. There are limited opportunities over 1000m, so we are trying to teach him to settle properly and then finish his races off, which he did do in his previous two runs. He won very impressively at Pietermaritzburg sitting off them and he relaxed very well that day. So if he does the same tomorrow and switches off completely he will be charging late.”
Race 10 (Listed Compendium Insurance Brokers Handicap) Gentleman’s Wager (Oratorio): He was a very unlucky loser of the Cup Trial where he got badly hampered with a furlong to run. He picked himself up off the deck and still managed to run third, which was an exceptional performance. He’s in great order. He’s also got an awkward draw to overcome, but we won’t go forward with him, we’ll sit back. He has to be considered one of the leading lights in the race.”
Race 10: Tread Swiftly (What A Winter): He is at the top of his game at the moment. Unfortunately, the handicapper has been penalising him for running places, so he is up three pounds from his last win. He’s a very honest horse, so I expect him to run to the best of his form, but it is a very competitive field.
Race 10 Reserve runner Mr Gonzales (What A Winter): He has won his last two starts over 1400m with consummate ease. If he does manage to get a run I think he is the horse to beat.
Race 11 (XM MR86 Handicap) Conquer The Enemy (Vercingetorix): He made a very pleasing return to the races after a break, failing narrowly to win. He hasn’t gone beyond a mile up to now, but has always given every indication that a trip is going to be to his liking. It is a very competitive race, but he acts very well on the poly whereas some of the horses in the race I don’t think have been on the poly, so he’s going to be competitive.”
Race 11 Reserve runner Arumugam (Duke Of Marmalade): He is at the top of his game at the moment. He’s a very consistent honest horse and acts very well on the poly, so we’re certainly hoping go get a run.”
Picture: Formagear (Candiese Lenferna)
Royal Mo Success At Turffontein Yesterday
Klawervlei Stud’s well performed young stallion ROYAL MO (Uncle Mo) came up with another smart looking first crop winner when his two-year-old son MO JIVE justified tote favouritism at Turffontein on Thursday.
In the process, the Stone Hill Stud-bred colt became the second winner, from just a handful of first-crop runners, for Royal Mo, with the latter also sire of the very exciting ROYAL AUSSIE.
Third and second on his first two starts respectively, MO JIVE was all the rage for Thursday’s Play Soccer 6,10 and 13 Maiden Plate (1450m) and duly lived up to expectations with a fluent win.
Under Denis Schwarz, the Fanie Bronkhurst-trained juvenile hit the front a long way from home, before powering away to score by a length and a half.
Out of the National Emblem mare ANTIGUA, Mo Jive races for owner Suzette Viljoen.
His sire Royal Mo has made a pleasing start with his first two-year-olds this season. To date, Royal Mo has been responsible for just nine runners thus far, with five having either won or finished in the money.
Winner of the G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, and third in the G1 Santa Anita Derby, Royal Mo is himself a son of outstanding sire UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie) -sire of, among others, this season’s top US three-year-old, and G1 Belmont Stakes winner MO DONEGAL.
Picture: Mo Jive wins fluently at Turffontein Yesterday (JC Photos).
Quiz Competition Winners And Answers
In 1st place with 6 ½ points out of 10 is Shivan Singh from Durban – he has been awarded 4 x entry tickets to the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
In 2nd place with 4 points is Riaan Ruiters from Robertson – he has been awarded 2 tickets.
Questions And Answers:
1. Who is the best performed horse in the history of the Durban July if the criteria used is the number of best performances at the weights.
Answer: Do It Again
2. Two horses, who are in the 18 horse final field plus two reserves, can this year become the first July winner to have a July-winning sire AND July-winning grandsire. Who are they?
Answer: Hoedspruit and Airways Law
3. Which sire has the best July record in history.
4. Which July winners holds the record for the biggest margin of victory?
5. Who holds the record time since the July was increased to 2200m in 1970.
6. Who is the only person to have ridden, trained and owned July winners.
Answer: Syd Garrett
7. Which four horses in July history have crossed the line first but not been awarded official victory?
The Ascot Stakes winner Mortimer was imported to Natal in 1857 by Charles Barter Of Karkloof.
In that same year an advertisement appeared in the Natal Mercury promoting a big race meeting to be held on July 16 and 17 in Durban, which was likely a forerunner to the July, whose inaugural running was on July 17, 1897.
Picture: The Greyville Vlei which stretched to Congella. Years later the Greyville Racecourse and Royal Durban Golf Club were built within this area of reclaimed land. (www.fad.co.za)
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