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Oriental Charm (aquamarine colours) and Cousin Casey (on the rail) give stallion Vercingetorix a HDJ one-two (Candiese Lenferna Photography)
Silvano is the greatest Hollywoodbets Durban July sire in history and his son Vercingetorix proved on Saturday he could follow in his footsteps, while it was also a triumphant day for Vaughan Koster of Cheveley Stud as the Brett Crawford-trained Vercingetorix gelding Oriental Charm gave him his second July victory.
Vercingetorix not only had his first July win on Saturday but he also became one of the few stallions in history to have claimed a July exacta as three-year-old Oriental Charm and the Sean Tarry-trained four-year-old colt Cousin Casey flashed past the line just 0,30 lengths apart under JP van der Merwe and S’Manga Khumalo respectively.
Earlier another of Vercingetorix’s sons, the Andre Nel-trained six-year-old gelding Cape Eagle, had won the July consolation race, the Gr 3 Splashout 2200, under Serino Moodley.
Silvano had a July trifecta in 2015, an exacta in 2017 and he has had first and third twice.
Silvano, whose last crop are three-year-olds this season, did not have a runner in this year’s event.
Vaughan Koster’s first July winner was Legislate, who won on objection ten years ago in 2014.
Victory must have been sweeter this year as his horse, who was purchased by Greg Bortz at the BSA National Yearling Sale of 2022 for R375,000, also crossed the line first.
Vaughan said after the race on Saturday, “It’s a dream come true. But what a training feat … sneaking through under the radar … but he’s making a habit of it now. I am so chuffed for Greg, he’s put so much into the industry, it’s wonderful.”
Two years ago Vercingetorix was robbed of the national champion stallion title by his father due to the Durban July result in which Silvano’s progeny Sparkling Water and Safe Passage finished first and third in the lucrative R5 million event.
Vercingetorix’s oldest progeny at the time were just five-year-olds but although he remained the most popular sire at the sales and in the breeding shed his progeny could not match Gimmethegreenlight in black type races in the 2022/2023 season.
Vercingetorix could only manage third that season as he also finished behind What A Winter on the log.
This season it was more of the same as Gimmehegreenlight opened up a big lead, not surprisingly considering his 12 individual stakes winners have won 22 stakes races between them while Vercingetorix’s 12 individual stakes winners have won 15 stakes races between them.
However, his July exacta sees Vercingetorix making an audacuious bid to steal the title in the same way it was stolen from him two seasons ago.
Gimme’s earnings are R28,086,563 and Vercingetorix is still R2,037,488 behind him, but it does give him an outside chance.
His progeny will need to come to the party on Gold Cup day at Hollywoodbets Greyville on the last day of the season.