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Hluhluwe winning the Gr 2 Cape Punters Cup (Picture: Wayne Marks) 

The Justin Snaith yard are now bullish about all three of their Hollywoodbets Durban July runners after the scraching of Without Question this afternoon

Rachel Venniker’s dream of becoming the first woman to ride in the iconic Hollywoodbets Durban July has proved elusive with an injury just days before the race scuppering her chances two years ago and her horse being made a reserve last year.

Her fans’ hearts would have sunk today (Thursday) when learning of the scratching of her mount, the Justin Snaith-trained Nick Jonsson-owned Without Question, but they would have leapt back when learning she will not lose out because she has been given the ride on the first reserve who comes in, Hluhluwe.

Thankfully Hluhuluwe is also trained by the Snaith yard and owned by Jonsson, whose company Jonsson Workwear sponsor Rachel, and Jonathan Snaith said, “Nick was adamant that while there were many lightweight riders available, that no one deserved the ride more than Rachel. She earned the opportunity and she has many fans who would love to see her ride in the race, who will be shouting both Rachel and Hluhluwe home. What a story it would be if she won!”

Justin Snaith said in the official HDJ panel discussion that Hluhluwe’s run in the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 had been intended to “prep him” into the July. So he was not at all pleased when the pacemaker decided to put the brakes on in astonishing fashion at about the 1400m mark. This caused Hluhluwe, who was near the back, to become lit up and Grant Van Niekerk was unable to hold him. Hluhluwe barged the horse on his outside aside and went to the front, but duly faded in the straight.

The hard work that had been put into Hluhluwe had thus been wasted as he ended up not making the HDJ final field.

However, he was fortunately made first reserve and he now gets a second bite at the cherry.

It has always been believed that the Trippi gelding, who is out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, needed ground.

However, his two runs over 2000m have not yielded a place yet, the other having been a disappointing 5,25 length fifth in the Gr 1 Splashout Cape Derby.

So he has something to prove.

However, Jonathan Snaith sounded bullish.

He said, “Hluhluwe is under the radar and coming back to his best after gelding. He’s extremely well weighted and he most certainly shouldn’t be ignored. ”

He said about the yard’s other two runners, “Double Superlative put in a superb gallop and had he had the benefit  of another prep-run, he’d be the horse to beat. This son of Twice Over is one run short of his best, but class does often prevail. He produced an eye-catching grass gallop this week. Don’t leave him out of any bets!”