Rascallion is in the red, black and yellow colours (Picture: Wayne Marks)
David Mollett (Business Day)
A horse who broke his neck as a yearling and one who has been dogged by bad luck in big races could play leading roles in Saturday’s R5m Hollywoodbets Durban July at Greyville.
Winchester Mansion ran into a pole as a youngster and needed four months of box-rest to recover. The grey threw his hat into the July ring with an impressive win in the Cup Trial.
Rascallion — this column’s selection for Saturday’s race — has encountered problems in two big races. In the 2021 Durban July, the Vaughan Marshall inmate found his path blocked when beginning his challenge in the straight.
In the Cape Met in January, Rascallion resembled an ambulance trying to weave through cars in a bid to reach an accident. The five-year-old did well to finish only two lengths behind Jet Dark.
The favourite for this year’s July is See It Again and — rather like Frankie Dettori who had a successful final Royal Ascot — the colt provides Piere Strydom with a chance of a final big win before retirement.
Trainer Michael Roberts — bidding to become only the fourth person to have ridden and trained a July winner — believes See It Again has had the perfect prep but says the weight (56.5kg) is the big question. His many followers believe he is up to the task.
Mike de Kock has won the July five times and his 2023 representatives — Safe Passage and Dave The King — provide him with ammunition for a sixth success.
Safe Passage’s prospects have been boosted by the booking of 10-times French champion Christophe Soumillon. Dave The King, bred by Gary Player, is a serious contender provided he stays the 2,200m trip.
Justin Snaith sends a team of five to the Durban track headed by his star three-year-old, Without Question. Jockey Richard Fourie caused some raised eyebrows last weekend when stating there were “no dangers” to his mount.
There are those who believe dual July winner Do It Again can make racing history with a third win, but it looks a tough ask for the eight-year-old. Preference is for his stablemate, Pacaya, whose Greyville 1900 win suggested he had peaked at just the right time.
S’manga Khumalo won from gate 12 on Sparkling Water 12 months ago and this time finds himself further out at barrier 17 on Sean Tarry’s filly, Rain In Holland. She is a top-class performer on her day and her trainer knows what is required to win the race.
SA Derby winner Son Of Raj, has his supporters and is an each-way hope though his three-year-old form has to be rated inferior to See It Again.
While Keagan De Melo is saying all the right things about Puerto Manzano, last year proved the course doesn’t suit the Argentinian-bred gelding. He is worth including in quartet bets, but looks an unlikely winner.
Alec Laird, who won this race with London News 27 years ago, will have Billy Bowlegs tuned to the minute and the Hollywood Syndicate will be overjoyed with a first-four finish from Time Flies.
Rascallion gets the vote to beat home Winchester Mansion, See It Again and Without Question.
One of the many supporting features — the Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes — features an intriguing match between Princess Calla and Desert Miracle. The latter has been brought along with a smooth prep by De Kock and the talent of Soumillon, who won the Majorca Stakes on her in January, might just tip the scales in her favour.
The Golden Horseshoe is a cracking contest where the swinger coupling Gimmeanotherchance and Sandringham Summit could prove a lucrative bet.
Sandringham Summit’s stablemate, Stormy Winter, is drawn in pole position in race 12 and looks overpriced at 18-1. Another swinger appeals here with the favourite, USA’s Hope.
1. (15) RASCALLION
2. (4) WINCHESTER MANSION
3. (7) SEE IT AGAIN
4. (2) WITHOUT QUESTION
1st Race: (11) Secret Identity (9) Idita (3) Dolcezza (10) The Charleston
2nd Race: (5) Pure Predator (4) Outlaw King (3) Jerusalema Rain (1) Main Defender
3rd Race: (5) Lord William (15) Jimmy Don (9) Nebraas (6) Aragosta
4th Race: (10) Arumugam (5) Runaway Song (11) Senso Unico (7) Red Maple
5th Race: (6) Distant Winter (4) Mrs Geriatrix (8) White Pearl (5) Rascova
6th Race: (7) Sandringham Summit (13) Gimmeanotherchance (5) Guy Gibson (12) Ermelo
8th Race: (6) Desert Miracle (10) Princess Calla (14) Feather Boa (3) Humdinger
9th Race: (11) Surjay (7) Thunderstruck (6) Cold Fact (4) Sun Blushed
10th Race: (7) Silvano’s Dasher (12) Quasiforsure (10) Captain Fontane (4) Money Heist
11th Race: (10) Lillybelle (11) Kailene (4) Valeria’s Dream (5) Aisye Phambili
12th Race: (2) USA’s Hope (1) Stormy Winter (6) Tirpitz (7) Fateful Day