Michael Roberts accepting a bonus cheque after See It Again had won the Splashout Cape Derby (Picture: Wayne Marks)
Andrew Harrison (Gold Circle)
The Gr1 Daily News 2000 to be run at Hollywoodbets Greyville tomorrow is a key race going forward into the Gr1 Hollywoodbets Durban July.
It took Michael Roberts, eleven-time South African Champion Jockey, 16 rides to win the Hollywoodbets Durban July when he partnered the David Ferraris-trained Super Quality to victory back in 1997.
This year Roberts has an outstanding chance of emulating the like of Syd Garrett, David Payne and Bert Abercrombie, who all rode and trained a July winner. Garrett rode Goldwing to July victory in 1919 and Pamphlet in 1920 and trained Full Dress in 1930, Sadri II in 1941 and the 3yo Left Wing in 1960. Payne won the race aboard the Brian Cherry-trained Chimboraa in 1968 and saddled the mighty In Full Flight to victory just four years later with Raymond Rhodes in the irons. Abercrombie rode the grey Jamaican Music in 1976 and saddled Bush Telegraph with Garth Puller aboard in 1987.
Roberts will be using this race as a final prep for Gr1 SplashOut Cape Derby winner See It Again.
After his late finishing effort in the Gr2 WSB Guineas behind crack miler Charles Dickens, See It Again saw his odds slashed for the big race and is the current ante-post favourite. Piere Strydom, triumphant aboard the gelding in the Derby, keeps the ride and a win in the Daily News on Saturday will surely see the colt’s ante-post odds cut even further.
The three horses’ home behind Charles Dickens, including runner-up See It Again, are all in the final Daily News line-up. See It Again’s Derby triumph has assured him of a July place along with Grant Maroun’s Gr1 WSB SA Classic winner Anfields Rocket, fifth in the Guineas, but Dave The King and Cousin Casey, third and fourth respectively, along with East Coast and At My Command are all borderline cases along with recent winner Shoemaker.
Last season’s Equus Champion Two-Year-Old Cousin Casey has not hit the heights of last season but remains among the top echelon. At his only start over 2000m he finished just over a length back to Jet Dark and Kommetdieding in the Gr1 Cape Met.
Mike de Kock’s three entries include Dave The King, the recently gelded Shoemaker and East Coast, sixth in the Guineas. Dave The King goes this trip for the first time but was staying on nicely behind Charles Dickens and the step up in trip could suit. You write off a De Kock horse at your peril.
East Coast looks held on current efforts but the recently gelded Shoemaker was a comfortable winner against older opposition last time out and could be a surprise package.
More was expected from Anfields Rocket in the Guineas and Maroun has declared first time blinkers. The Turffontein 1800m is a tough test so Saturday’s trip should not hold any fears.
Also in the field are Weiho Marwing’s Gr1 SA Derby winner Son Of Raj and the Justin Snaith trained Without Question who recently showed his mettle against a smart field of older horses at Kenilworth.
Son Of Raj completed the rare feat of winning the Derby Trial and going on to win the Derby proper which stamps him as a big talent. The Derby does not always attract the strongest line-up but Marwing is an astute judge and the July is no doubt on his radar as he looks to avenge the defeat of Wylie Hall, who was first across in the line in 2014 but lost it in the steward’s room.
Snaith has a strong stable of horses with July potential including Without Question, recent winner of the Gr3 Variety Club Mile. He was a little over two lengths back to See It Again and Charles Dickens in the Cape Derby and his last start will have him at his peak.
The race has stacked up into an intriguing contest and the real prize for victory will be a guaranteed place in the Hollywoodbets Durban July field.
Supporting feature and for the first time the Gr1 Woolavington 2000, restricted in the past to three-year-old fillies, has been opened up to all comers.
The race has attracted a high class field headed by Rain In Holland and Silver Darling, both rated 120 but drawn onopposite sides of the barrier.
Rain In Holland has come good of late and won on this course last season. She was a touch unlucky in the Gr1 Champions Challenge behind Puerto Manzano last start and should have better luck from the best of the draw.
Stuart Pettigrew sends out Gilded Butterfly who was an easy winner of the Gr 2 WSB Gerald Rosenberg Stakes over the distance last time out and can build on that effort.
Time Flies is a Listed Stakes winner and has yet to finish out of the money in nine starts. She faces a stiff task but stays the trip well and has a good draw.
Last year’s winner Silver Darling has the widest draw and has not won a race since last year’s Woolavington. However, she has been racing in strong company during the Cape summer and must have a strong chance.
Saartjie is drawn one inside of Silver Darling and won her only start over this trip. She was unlucky in the recent WSB Fillies Guineas and has improved in blinkers.
Marina has not quite reached the highs expected of her last season but the stable has hit the ground running this Champions Season and the mare cannot be written off lightly.
The Gr3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup is an important warm-up race for the bigger staying events later in the season but punters are faced with a nightmare of a race as one can make some sort of case for most of the 13 runners.
Mike de Kock saddles Aragosta who finished third in last season’s Daily News behind Safe Passage before contesting the July. He has not won for over a year but has shown up well in two starts since a lengthy break and should strip close to his peak.
Senso Unico stays well and has had the benefit of a local outing over a distance short of his best. He will much prefer this trip. Future Pearl was a comfortable winner of the Gold Bowl and was not far back to Son Of Raj in the SA Derby. He has a light weight and comes in at the bottom of the handicap while Rex Union got a terrific ride to win the Highland Night Cup over the trip at Hollywoodbets Scottsville and has a light weight.
Salvator Mundi comes off a victory but that was back in January and he may be short of a gallop while Otto Luyken is way under sufferance but Tyrone Zackey is one of the shrewdest trainers around and the gelding may be worth including in bigger exotic perms.