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Rachel Venniker will become the first woman to ride in South Africa’s most famous race, the Hollywoodbets Durban July. 
Venniker was given the nod due to her experience of the Hollywoodbets Greyville track.
Joe Soma said the man who rode his charge Red Saxon to victory in the Grade 1 WSB SA Classic, Julius Mariba, was still very much part of his team and explained, “We discussed it with Julius and felt he was a bit inexperienced for Hollywoodbets Greyville and we all agreed and he agreed with me too. He loves the horse and is part of our team and he’s certainly not going to be left out if the horse runs a good race. He brought the horse up but we just felt we needed somebody who knows the course very, very well. It’s a tough race for three-year-olds to compete in and it’s just a decision we unfortunately had to make. It’s no different to Mike de Kock putting Mike Smith on Horse Chestnut, when he went to America, in place of his regular rider Weichong Marwing. It’s a decision a trainer needs to make, its not because we don’t rate Julius, it’s just that at the end of the day Rachel was brought up here and has ridden most of her winners here. Everything is about the horse at the end of the day.”
Red Saxon has been at Summerveld since running unplaced in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 on May 28.
Joe said, “He was all at sea in the Daily News. We made the decision to leave him at Summerveld and that gave us the opportunity for him to go and gallop at Greyville again. We took him down there ten days ago and we were very happy with the way he handled the track. We are hoping it will be in his favour to see the course again in the public gallops on Thursday. It’s a very open July and once you’ve got a golden ticket with an automatic entry, which he got by winning the SA Classic, you take your chances. It’s Hollywoodbets’ first sponsorship of the July, so to be part of the big party and to be part of the vibe that is taking place, we’re very honoured and blessed. I don’t think there is any stand out horse in the field and I’m happy with the jockey we’ve chosen.”
Solly Bhana has owned racehorses since 1968 and Red Saxon will be the first July runner he has had.
The best previous horse he has owned was Grade 1 SA Nursery winner Fallon and he also owned a good horse or two during a six year stint in Dubai. 
Picture: Gold Circle