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Michael Roberts thrilled with his number 7 draw (Candiese Lenferna Photography).


See It Again won the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 from draw seven and has landed the same draw for the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July.
It was the draw owner Nick Jonsson had predicted for the big race favourite.
Trainer Michael Roberts revealed, “I must say I was stressing a bit about the draw. But Nick (who was overseas at the time of the ceremony) ensured me it was out of my control and to just enjoy it. He actually predicted he would get draw seven and explained to me, ‘Seven was my Dad’s (much loved racing owner and administrator Benji Jonsson’s) lucky number.’”
Roberts continued, “My life was made easy because I didn’t have to do anything. (There was only one draw left when Roberts’ name was drawn out of the hat.) As the big draws were coming up I was relieved and near the end there was only 5, 7 and 11 left and I wasn’t really concerned. I wanted to be 8 or under and we got 7 which was fantastic.”
He was asked how the Twice Over colt had been doing and replied, “Very well. Up to this morning (Tuesday) I’m very happy with him. He’s in a good space, we’ve had no hiccups with him, so we are hoping for the best.”
Michael revealed, “The Daily News was a very important race for me as a trainer and for this big horse’s stallion career.”
He said philosophically, “Favourites don’t have a good record in the July and also it is a rough race and he’s still a young horse. I’ve ridden many good horses in the July and they didn’t come through to win the July, so you are going to need lady luck on your side.”
He said about his recent work program, “Rachel (Venniker) has ridden him in his work everyday. She knows the horse very well and she knows the way I like to work my horses. She’s a great help for my yard, we’re a team and she will ride him in his July gallop too.”
He added about the official gallop, “My horse is ready, I don’t have to go and burn the turf up.”
See It Again’s big race rider Piere Strydom had initially said he would not ride in the July below 57kg, but Roberts said he would not have a problem slimming the half-a-kilogram necessary to get down to the set weight of 56.5kg. He added, “Especially if you have got that weight on your body, which he has got I can promise you!” 
Roberts revealed how the weighing in process works and the different ways jockeys approach it.
He said jockeys usually have a number of saddles ranging from one that weigh a few ounces right up to a “five pound” saddle. If they are still below the weight they then have to put a lead bag on.
He said it was usually considered better to ride with a heavier saddle than to have lead but he admitted, “When I was riding I liked to use just one saddle most of the time, except when I was riding very light, because you more comfortable in the saddle you are used to rather than changing every five minutes.”
He said about the potential honour of joining Syd Garrett, David Payne and Bert Abercrombie as July-winning jockeys to have trained a July winner, “This is our premier race. In England you have the Epsom Derby, in Australia the Melbourne Cup and in America the Run For The Roses, the Kentucky Derby, so to be honest it would be a dream come true. I don’t really think about it, but I have been looking for a horse of this calibre for such a long time now and suddenly he just arrived and you could see from day one he’s going to be something special.”

He did mention the added pressure of training a July horses as opposed to riding one and said, “It’s a big difference because training a horse who has a chance in the July there is pressure to keep your horse in good health and managing him and taking every precaution so the course can turn up on the day fit and well. As a rider you go and excercise your horse everyday and look after him and go through the motions, but it’s much easier really.”   

See It Again will be Michael’s first July runner as a trainer, but he did not think his lack of experience in preparing a July horse was a disadvantage.
He explained, “I just treat it normally. All my horses get the same treatment, we love them all and we treat them the same.”
He revealed, “To be honest training a small horse who is struggling to win a race I have found to be more challenging than training this horse.”
Michael regards his yard as “a medium” sized yard and he was not perturbed by July history which shows big yards to have generally dominated.
He said, “It’s numbers … well … it is just a numbers game to get that calibre of horse.”
Big yard trainers are generally perceived to be capable of giving a July horse a superior preparation and to have the ability to get a horse to his or her absolute peak on the day.
However, Roberts point out, “I knew a trainer many years ago called Pat Antelme, I think he had three horses and he won the July.”
There was also the recent example of Kommetdieding from the small yard of Harold Crawford and his daughter Michelle Rix.
Michael added, “It’s about the calibre of horse you buy at the Sales. Every owner and trainer is looking for that special one and they are hard to find, so obviously the more numbers you get the easier to find it … and you need a bit of luck.”
Michael’s luckiest career moment probably came when he happened to be walking past just after Nick Jonsson had successfully bid for See It Again. Benji and Nick had both had horses with the Roberts yard before and that rang a bell with Nick as Michael walked past. So he handed him the ticket and said, “Here, I’ve just bought you a horse.”
See It Again is a three-parts brother to Nick’s twice July-winner Do It Again, being by the same sire and out of a half-sister to Do It Again. The pair will make some history on Saturday being such close relatives with a five year difference in age, one being the three-year-old race favourite and the other being the first to run in the race six times (and possibly the first to win it three times).