The final field for South Africa’s most famous race, the Vodacom Durban July, was announced on Thursday afternoon and the question many owners and trainers will be asking is, how do we join the elite band of participants?
Of the final 20 runners, no fewer ten than are Bloodstock SA graduates, while Top Seller went through the ring at the 2009 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale but failed to make his reserve. Another July runner, Polar Bound, was entered at the 2009 National Sale, but was withdrawn beforehand.
Top weight, Pierre Jourdan (Parade Leader – Vin Fizz) was one of the bargain buys of all time. He cost just R60 000 at the 2008 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale, and to date has earned over R4.5 million. Pierre Jourdan, who was second in the G1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge last time out, is drawn at 15. He was bred by Summerhill Stud and the gutsy gelding is now owned by the Pierre Jourdan Syndicate.
Chesalon, who carries 58kgs in the July, is drawn out at 12. Bred by Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm, Chesalon (Fort Wood – Sarabande) was a R250 000 purchase at the 2009 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale, and has proven an excellent buy. To date, Chesalon, who has earned over R600 000, has won five races including the G2 Premier’s Trophy. The well bred gelding is owned by Messrs Bamford, Sukdeo and Visagie.
July favourite Jackson (Dynasty – Moonlit Prairie), who is drawn at 18, was a R1 million purchase at the 2010 Emperors Palace National 2yo Sale. A leading contender for Horse of the Year honours, Jackson has already won both the Gr1 Daily News 2000 and Investec Cape Derby this year, and will be hard to oppose in the July. The colt was bred by Highlands Farm. Jackson is owned by Ian Longmore and Jack Mitchell.
Smanjemanje, who is drawn out at 13 for the big race, is another former BSA graduate. He was sold at the 2008 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale. Consigned by Summerhill Sales, Smanjemanje (Kahal – In Style) has done exceptionally well. Sold for R210 000, Smanjemanje has won five races and nearly R1 million in prize money. He is owned by Mr Barker and Mr and Mrs Backos.
English Garden (Camden Park – Royal Habit) is another bargain buy who lines up in the 2012 Vodacom Durban July. Purchased for just R100 000 at the 2009 GrandWest Yearling Sale, English Garden, drawn at 10 for the July, has earned in excess of R2 million. Winner of the G1 SA Classic, English Garden was bred by the Oldlands Stud. Owned by Lady Lilford, English Garden is a four time winner to date.
The classy Sage Throne (Dynasty – Sage Blue) is another 2012 July runner who was bred at Highlands. The son of former July winner Dynasty was a R375 000 buy at the 2009 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale. Owned by Two Oceans Racing & Mr Scott, Sage Throne was second in the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup. Sage Throne is nicely drawn at five.
Remarkably, the two dead heaters in this year G1 SA Derby, Pomodoro (Jet Master -Golden Apple) and Royal Bencher (Greys Inn – Roman Circus), both line up in the July.
These two top 3yos are both former BSA graduates. Pomodoro was sold for R325 000 at the 2010 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale, the same sale which saw Royal Bencher knocked down for just R50 000! Pomodoro is owned by Chris Van Niekerk, while Royal Bencher, bred by Varsfontein Stud, is owned by Chris Gerber.
The talented Eton Square is drawn at 6 for the July. Eton Square (Miesque’s Approval – Monroe) has won two of four starts including the G3 Jubilee Handicap. Bred by the Scott Bros, Eton Square was a R280 000 buy at the 2010 Emperors Palace National 2yo Sale.
He is owned by Bold Moves 860 (Pty) Ltd and Mr Visser.
Whiteline Fever, who jumps from draw one, was the sales topper at the 2010 Cape Summer Yearling Sale, where he fetched R700 000. The gelding was bred by Daytona Stud. Whiteline Fever, who ran fourth to Jackson in the Daily News 2000, is owned by Messrs Jooste, Shirtliff and van Niekerk.
Tom Callaghan, CEO of Bloodstock South Africa, said that they were proud of their track record of producing the big winners year in and year out, and said that he wished the connections of all of these BSA graduates the best of luck and plenty of thrills and excitement.