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Rachel Venniker’s July horse Jimmy Don is only second reserve but she is in the meantime supporting See It Again, whom she rode this morning for her guv’nor Michael Roberts (Picture: Candiese Lenferna)


Rachel Venniker was all set to become the first woman jockey to ride in the Hollywoodbets Durban July last year before an unfortunate incident at the start of a race a few days before the big one saw her sidelined.

She was excited to land a ride this year on the Erico Verdonese-trained Jimmy Don only to see him made second reserve.
She said, “He’s a lovely horse, I went and sat on him on Saturday when I was riding on the Highveld, although I unfortunately couldn’t make it there for his July gallop today. I haven’t ridden him in a race before, but have been following him since he was a youngster because he’s just one of those horses who caught my eye. He’s a beautiful horse with a stunning temperament.”
She will likely be riding the three-year-old Pathfork colt in the Gr 3 Splashout 2200 on July day, which is the July consolation race, and he will be out to prove a point.
She said, ” I haven’t gone through the field in detail, but I’m hoping he will run a big race.”    
Jimmy Don was 18th on the final July log, ahead of both Nebraas and Pacaya, thanks to a runner up finish in the Gr 1 WSB SA Classic, where he finished one position ahead of July runner Billy Bowlegs.
However, trainer Erico Verdonese took a risk by running him in the Gr 3 Jubilee Stakes and although it was only intended as a preparation outing his fifth place finish saw Pacaya leapfrogging him into the top 18 and Nebraas also leapfrogged him to get the first reserve spot.
Venniker has nine rides on July day and mentioned Hot Pearl (BSA Cup for fillies), Ermelo (Gr 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe) and Sun Blushed (Gr 2 Post Merchants) as three she was looking forward to but added all of her engagements looked to be nice rides, so she is hoping for a good day.