The July marginals take their chances in the R200 000 Gr3 Schweppes 2200. Also known as the July consolation race, it has attracted a field of sixteen and includes the smart son of Dynasty, Blake. The Lonsdale Stirrup Cup winner looks to make it a massive afternoon for his sire, himself a former winner of the Vodacom Durban July.
Nothing on earth can come close to winning the Durban July in pure racing terms, so having a Gr3 consolation with a gross stake of R200 000 is little more than a prestigious opportunity to run a good horse on a great day. Dean Kannemeyer has no runner in the main event, so will take the first prize with open hands and he looks to have a very likely opportunity in the consistent five year old Blake of lifting the trophy sponsored by the famous cooldrink. But schhhhhh…tell nobody.
Kannemeyer trained Blake’s famous Dad to win the 2003 Vodacom Durban July and he despatches the nine-time winner, who like Gorongosa, seems best as a likely stayer. He has won six of his last nine starts, which included three Group races and a Listed feature. He is fit and well and looks ready to win under veteran jockey Karl Neisius.
Roman Wall is a smart Count Dubois gelding who has carried the heavy psychological burden of his R2 million price tag throughout his chequered career. A winner of three of his 14 starts, he is terribly drawn at 15 but looks like he has a big win in him somewhere and has won two of his last three starts. Jeff Lloyd rides him for Chris Van Niekerk and it is interesting to note that he finished only 3,05 lengths off The Apache in the 2011 Daily News. Include this one!
Mike De Kock’s Silent Partner is another very consistent son of Silvano who is slowly building himself up through the ranks. He has won three of his last four starts and won the KZN 1600 last time out. He stays the trip and while that was against weaker, he comes in well drawn from a top stable with a big-race jockey up.
Anton Marcus rides the second of the three De Kock horses, Galileo’s Destiny, from a 16 draw. The son of Galileo has only managed two wins but has bumped some good horses in the course of running places in the SA Derby and last year’s Cup Trial. He went down narrowly to Rushing Wind last time and may have needed the run after a three month rest. He must improve further.
The best drawn of the De Kock horses is the often backed but frequently disappointing Captain’s Wild, who has not won a race since the Gr2 Colorado King Stakes over a year ago. He caught the eye when finishing a close-up fourth to Blake in the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup last time, but one wonders why Anthony Delpech opts for Silent Partner ahead of him.
Geoff Woodruff’s Soul Master is a long-striding Jet Master gelding who will be ridden again by Piere Strydom. He ran a top third 0,35 lengths behind Blake in the Lonsdale, and receives 2kgs here from the Kannemeyer horse. That should technically give him a winning edge, but he may prefer further – although his trainer earmarked him as a July candidate many months ago.
Joey Ramsden’s Lion In Winter comes in as topweight and may have warranted a tilt at the July, space permitting. After an extended blank spell he improved to run 3,05 lengths off Gold Onyx in the Cup Trial last time out . He is a son of Western Winter who has run to a lifetime best MR of 112, and has fallen down the handicap since that peak. He runs for Sean Cormack.
East Cape Derby winner Tribal Dance was toppled by Master Plan in the KZN Derby last time and while he is match fit, he will be under pressure to lift his game just two weeks later. He is drawn 10, and MJ Byleveld possibly needs to ride him with a little more restraint to give him a serious winning chance.
Bulsara has not won since the Gr3 London News Stakes in January 2011,and while he runs the occasional good race, he is battling to show his best form.
It is difficult making a case for the balance of the field, although the likes of Astro News and Ice Diamond can deliver the odd good effort when in the mood.
Blake is probably headed for the Ladbroke’s Gold Cup just before he turns six and is a gelding who has been brought along patiently and with great forethought and planning.
He should win it at the expense of the long overdue Roman Wall, with Silent Partner and Lion In Winter making up the quartet.