Royal Victory winning the Gr 1 Betway Summer Cup under Muzi Yeni (JC Photos)
The Nathan Kotzen-trained Betway Summer Cup hero Royal Victory is back at Summerveld after enjoying a deserved one month holiday at Al Khayl pre-training centre near Summerveld.
A program is now being planned with the chief aim of getting him in to the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July with as light a weight as possible.
Nathan said, “He has put on some nice weight, about 10kg. He is filling out which is a good sign.”
The yard will be able to put plenty of work into him and he will trim up accordingly.
Nathan said another tilt at a Highveld Gr 1 might be on the cards, either the Gr 1 weigtht for age (wfa) HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes or the Gr 1 wfa Premier’s Champions Challenge.
However, he will have to see who is running in those races first because he wants to try and avoid the risk of a big merit rating increase if taking on the like of the 125 merit-rated Puerto Manzano.
Royal Victory’s current merit rating is a virtually perfect 119.
Presuming the 132 merit rated See It Again will run in the July, that will bring Royal Victory intio the race with a weight of 53,5kg as things stand, which is just half-a-kilogram above the minimum weight for a July male runner.
However, Royal Victory proved himself a fine racehorse in the Summer Cup and it won’t be easy to avoid an increase in that merit rating before the first Saturday in July.
Options in KZN for his build up races in to the July include the Gr 2 WSB 1900 and the Gr 3 Cup Trial, which used to have conditions attached to them that limited the amount of points a winner coud be increased by and there used to be no punishment for placed horses. The program is not out yet, so it is unknown whether those conditions have changed or not.
Nathan has not been able to identify a preparation race in KZN for Royal Victory to run in before his feature campaign begins.
There is always a chance a Pinnacle race can be put on for him and other horses in his position.
The last KZN-trained horse to win the July was 30 years ago, the Ricky Maingard-trained Space Walk i n 1994. He inherited the race after fifth-placed Pas De Quoi successively objected against the winner Surfing Home.
The last KZN-trained horse to cross the finish line first was the Dennis Drier-trained Spanish Galliard in 1992.
The Michael Roberts-trained See It Again went with a quarter of a length of ending that drought last year.
He was the only KZN-trained horse in the 18 horse field.