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The Mike de Kock-trained and Mary Slack owned-and-bred Sparkling Water gave the sire Silvano his fifth Durban July victory today when easily winning the Hollywoodbets sponsored event.
Jockey S’Manga Khumalo thus landed his second July and rode a sublime race.
It was the first time Mary Slack’s famous colours, black with a scarlet cap, had won the big race.
It was the seventh win as owners for the Oppenheimer family.
Six of these winners have been homebreds.
They have also bred two other July winners to make it eight all together.
De Kock has now won the July five times.
The De Kock yard planned to have Sparkling Water handy knowing that as a closer she could not afford to be too far back on a course with a short straight.
Khumalo made his winning move at the jump as he brought her to the rail from draw 12.
He was then able to sit on the rail behind the leaders Puerto Manzano and Astrix, who set no more than a steady pace.
Do It Again, going for his third July, sat one out in sixth place.
They fanned out coming to the straight and Do It Again came four wide and hit the front.
Sparkling Water had to bide his time behind the two leaders but at the top of the straight Astrix drifted out leaving the perfect gap for Khumalo to go through.
Sparkling Water hit the front at the 300m mark and went on to win by three lengths, the fourth biggest margin of victory in the history of the race.
Ironically, Khumalo had jumped off Jet Dark to ride Sparkling Water and the latter ran on well from midfield for second.
The De Kock-trained bookmakers joint favourite Safe Passage finished third, beaten 3,30 lengths.
Do It Again finished fourth, beaten 3,70 lengths.
Both Jet Dark and Do It Again are trained by Justin Snaith, so it was a De Kock/Snaith dominated quartet and yet still paid R20,984.70.
This is the first time in Do It Again’s five Julys he has not been the best performed horse at the weights.
That accolade this year belonged to topweight Jet Dark.
Last year’s winner Kommetdieding finished fifth with joint topweight, beaten 4,10 lengths.
Airways Law proved a point by finishing in the all important sixth place. It was the second time Gareth Wright had ridden a reserve runner into sixth place.
The favourite Pomp And Power’s infamous headstrong antics got the better of him again and he pulled for much of the race.
Picture: Candiese Lenferna