Do It Again is out to become the first seven-year-old to win it for 77 years, although Pas De Quoi was an unlucky loser as a seven-year-old in 1994. Do It Again has been the best performed horse every year he has run. On paper has an easier task than last year when a desperately unlucky fourth. He was striding out superbly at the Hollywoodbets Durban July gallops. His jockey Aldo Domeyer has the the highest strike rate in the country this season. His low number two draw will guarantee him a position on the fresh four metre wide strip of virgin grass which has been prepared, but, on the other hand, might hamper his momentum into the straight, so is not ideal.
Safe Passage: He is the highest rated three-year-old and carries 54.5kg. He has only been beaten once this season, in the Grade 1 SA Classic, where he was a narrow second, and he was found to be ill a few days later. He won the Grade 1 Daily News when considered to be underdone and should have come on from it. He impressed in the gallops with his stride and look of well-being and he has a good draw of ten.
Kommetdieding: He won last year in fine style, but is now effectively five points higher in the merit ratings. He comes off a below par Highveld campaign, but in his last two public gallops looks to have bounced back now that he down by the coast again.
Sparkling Water did well to run on to only just be denied in the TAB Premier’s Champions Challenge by Astrix, who had galloped at the correct pace in the running way ahead of her.
Pomp And Power, carrying 53kg, is 5kg better off than weight for age with the top-weighted pair Kommetdieding and Jet Dark, which makes him ultra dangerous because he thrashed Double Superlative in the Cape Derby and the latter had finished just 1,7 lengths back in the Met (beaten by Kommetdieding, Jet Dark and Linebacker) on weight for age terms. If he manages to find cover and relax he will be a particularly dangerous runner.
Linebacker proved his credentials last year when a close second and has had a good prep and is only two points higher in the merit ratings. He ran well in first time blinkers in the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge. His overall form coming in was more appealing last year, but there is very little between the top dozen this year and he would be a popular winner.
Jet Dark stayed on well in the Met for second but his turn of foot that day was not as exceptional as it had been in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, which might point to him preferring a mile.
Waterberry Lane ran on well in the Daily News 2000 and looked in superb shape this week, conditioned to his peak by a three-times July-winning trainer.
Airways Law is unexposed but looks to be full of ability and is likely to relish the trip, so should be running on strongly.
Aragosta can’t be ignored as a Mike de Kock-trained SA Derby winner, but Safe Passage alongside him was more eyecatching at the gallops.
Al Muthana won the Gold Challenge well and Richard Fourie, who now rides Pomp And Power, said he would stay the July trip easily, but trainer Mike de Kock has his doubts.
Flying Carpet ups his game in big races and was unlucky in the Premier’s Champions Challenge.
Astrix has an economy of stride and is on the up, but a wide draw makes it tricky for this handy sort.
Puerto Manzano has come into his own, but would prefer a longer straight.
Hoedspruit has a chance at the weights on paper on his Met run as he gets 6,5kg from Kommetdieding for a 4,25 length beating, but his other form does not strike as being good enough.
Belgarion is a former winner who has comeback legend Piere Strydom up and at his best could be involved, but he has had isssues.
Second Base has run below par in his last two starts and even at his best does not strike as a July winner.
Red Saxon beat Safe Passage to win the Grade 1 SA Classic, but his form since then has not been inspiring.
Picture: Do It Again at the Hollywoodbets Durban July Gallops (Candiese Lenferna)