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Oriental Charm after winning the Gr 3 Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial (Candiese Lenferna Photography)

The Brett Crawford yard could land their second successive Hollywoodbets Durban July tomorrow at Hollywoodbets Greyville and they can do it with the three-year-old Vercingetorix colt Oriental Charm.

The yard seem to prefer Winchester Mansion, but the formlines point to it being a three-year-old race.

The three-year-olds are all weighted to finish together (hats off to the handicapper), but what could be in Oriental Charm’s favour is he is a handy to front-running type and will not have to negotiate the traffic that the like of Green With Envy will likely have to do.

The first thing in the favour of the three-year-olds is a conditions change which saw the minimum weight for an older male being raised to 54kg and the minimum weight for an older female raised to 53kg, while the minimum weight for a three-year-old male and three-year-old filly remain on 53kg and 52kg respectively.

The five older horses who are not under sufferance i.e. See It Again, Royal Victory, Winchester Mansion, Double Superlative and Son Of Raj, will also benefit from that new condition.

However, the collateral formlines point to the three-year-ods being in the pound seats.

The collateral form of the Daily News coupled with some Highveld features puts Green With Envy more than five lengths ahead of Royal Victory and Winchester Mansion on weight for age terms, using either Pure Predator or Hotarubi, and he is only 1kg worse off then weight for age with Royal Victory in the July and 1,5kg worse off than weight for age with Winchester Mansion.

Another example is Oriental Charm finishing just 0,30 lengths behind Future Swing in the WSB 1900 and he is now 3kg better off. Oriental Charm also beat Shoemaker by 1,20 lengths in the Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial over 1800m and he will also be 3kg better off with that one.

The outlier to the three-year-olds being comfortably favoured at the weights is Double Superlative, who is not far off them and a case could be made for him being closer to them at the weights than what the equations on paper say (see article below).

Nevertheless, Oriental Charm is progressive and has enjoyed a preparation that is virtually identical to the preparation the winnner Winchester Mansion had last year.

Winchester Mansion finished a 0,30 length second in the WSB 1900 last year, before winning the Cup Trial by more than three lengths.

Oriental Charm finished a 0,30 length second in the WSB 1900 this year before winning the Cup Trial cosily.

Like Winchester Mansion last year, Oriental Charm has been prepared for all of his Champions Season races out of Randjesfontein. Winchester Mansion proved last year, contary to popular anecdotal evidence, that it is possible to travel down three times and still win.

Green With Envy is probably the best of the three-year-olds, but the style in which he won both the Gr 1 Splashout Cape Derby and Gr 1 Daily News 2000 i.e. sitting at the back and then picking them off in the straight, is not an advisable strategy in the Hollywoodbets Durban July because there is going to be traffic in the straight and nobody gives an inch in this race. His draw of five will enable him to get handier, but will that then blunt his finishing speed?

Barbaresco is said to have a stamina doubt, but this belief might be based on him having been headstrong in some of his races. However, he settled very well in the Daily News 2000 and ran on well despite having been hampered halfway through the race. His pedigree suggests he will stay the trip, so he could be a big runner, although as one who needs to be sat on early so he doesn’t pull, it would have been better for him to have been drawn further out than two.

Flag Man could still be anything but does have a wide draw, so it will need to pan out well.

Purple Pitcher is a galloping type who would likely prefer Turffontein Standside. He will need to get going early.

Royal Victory has never been beaten beyond 1800m and won the Premiers Champions Challenge, despite not having the best of trips and he has had a good preparation. It is a long time since a July winner has come from pole position draw though, a draw which requires a horse to do some work early on to hold position and it can be rough near the rail as horses from wider draws try and get positions.

Master Redoute has a good turn of foot and could be good value for the first six.

See It Again is top class but has not had as good a prep and has not been in as good form as he was last year. Read the article below too to see how hard a task he has against Double Superlative.

Double Superlative is full of class but is probably one run short of his best. However, he put up a fine grass gallop subsequent to his official July gallop and he is a horse who is capable of turning his form around if right on the day, as he proved in the WSB Met, where he was also a 33/1 shot.

Winchester Mansion is said to be in fine form and ready for the race despite returning from a three month layoff. No horse has come from a longer layoff to win since Sun Tor did so in 1934, 90 years ago.

Future Swing is progressive and Richard Fourie has chosen him. He will relish the 2200m trip.

Future Pearl is a staying type but has a good turn of foot and could earn.

Shoemaker has plenty of potential and from a good draw should be running on.

Cousin Casey has a lot of class but his wide draw is against him because he can take a strong hold.

Aragosta should be staying on and could earn, although on form he looks well held by the three-year-olds.

Hluhluwe is believed to need ground so theoretically should enjoy the 2200m trip, but he disappointed in the WSB Cape Derby over 2000m and it didn’t pan out well for him when he was unplaced in the Daily News 2000. He is reported by the yard to have improved since being gelded after the Cape Derby and has his peak run here.

Son Of Raj should also be staying on but does not have the form to threaten.

Meridius has to prove he stays and will need to improve too.

The selection is Oriental Charm to beat Green With Envy with Barbaresco, Flag Man and Double Superlative next best.