It’s a likely case of a Vodacom Durban July make or break for at least eleven of the fifteen runners in this evening’s R500 000 Gr2 Betting World 1900.
This event is one of the big race panel’s ‘winner gets preferred consideration status’ pointers and with relatively little time left to the 1 July goal, the heat will be on.
Despite the important status of the race, it is ironically not a July winner platform in the ordinary course of history. We have to go all the way back to Bold Silvano in 2010 to find a horse that went on to achieve the double.
The 1900 is weighted according to merit rating bands, with the winner is limited to a maximum 6 point penalty – unless otherwise requested. There will also be no rating increase for placed horses.
The July log was published last Tuesday and in this line-up, Elusive Silva and It’s My Turn, both from the Justin Snaith stable, along with the Geoff Woodruff-trained Master Switch are in the top 20, with another Snaith runner, Prince Of Wales, on the outside looking in for a big race run.
So there is plenty to play for.
Bernard Fayd’herbe has been in a rich vein of form and he rides topweighted It’s My Turn.
The lightly raced 2016 Investec Cape Derby winner ran a good third in the Peninsula Handicap but had nothing to offer late in the Met where he ran 5,65 lengths off Whisky Baron.
He is in 18th place on the log and a decent showing here from this class galloper could go some way to cementing his claims after a good fourth in the July last year.
Mike de Kock and Callan Murray team up with Jubilee Line, a 4yo son of Dynasty who has been a touch disappointing recently. He did run a nice race last Thursday at the Vaal when conceding 5kgs and being beaten 1,40 lengths by Amsterdam in an MR 86 Handicap.
That may not be July winning credentials, but the run will have brought him on.
Ten Gun Salute was in desperate need of the run when finishing over 12 lengths behind Marinaresco in the Drill Hall Stakes a fortnight ago.
This will be more his game over the 500m further and vast improvement can be expected from a gelding that was only a few lengths short on some big occasions last season.
Dean Kannemeyer’s Mr Winsome won the Listed Michael Roberts Handicap and is one of the most consistent handicappers around.
He is interestingly not a July entry and trainer Kannemeyer told the Sporting Post that the intention was to aim him at the staying features in the season rather. He could be the dark horse and surprise this lot as he comes in fit.
Sean Tarry’s Serissa is a hardknocking 7yo stayer who made the pace in this race last year, before fading out.
He could fulfil that role again but seems better over slightly further.
Anton Marcus takes the ride on Summer Cup third-placer Master Switch, who fills 20th position on the July log.
He ran a good race after a 4 month break when looming dangerously and only being run out of it late in the Drum Star Handicap. Expect a big run on Friday.
Joey Ramsden’s Macduff has his first run since finishing second last in the Sun Met.
Nicely drawn at 2, he is likely to need the run and looks outgunned here.
Glen Kotzen’s Gr3 Chairman’s Cup winner Banner Hill won a cracker after a three month break last time over a distance thought to be short of his best.
The son of Tiger Hill stays well and faces his biggest test to date here – but it may be a twisted benefit that his wide draw will add to his test his stamina and he could run on into the place money, if the second- run-after-a-rest syndrome doesn’t grab him.
The second of the Woodruff runners, Go Direct is a low-profile progressive 4yo, who shows signs of heading in the right direction.
He meets his stablemate Master Switch on a kg worse terms after getting up late to beat him by a head last time. He also has a wide draw to contend with, but is familiar with Greyville.
The Judpot gelding Rocketball has done very little since his nerve wracking second to Abashiri in the final leg of the SA Triple Crown over a year ago. He looks like an optimistic July entry at this stage.
Prince Of Wales had his first start in KZN when a 2 length third behind stablemate Elusive Silva in the Sledgehammer last time.
He showed up well in the Cape summer and looks a scopy sort who will be out to produce a forward showing and break into the top 20 on the log.
His exciting stablemate Elusive Silva came out after a ten month break following his success in the Winter Derby to win the Sledgehammer in good style at this track over 100m shorter.
The son of Silvano is highly regarded and well drawn with the services of Anthony Delpech, he must be a serious contender.
Tilbury Fort pulled up lame and making respiratory noises after the SA Classic.
The son of Horse Chestnut managed a decent enough fourth behind Janoobi in the SA Guineas, but worryingly was also reported lame there.
He enjoys the best of the draw here and the services of S’manga Khumalo, but will need to be at best to challenge.
Hyaku looks well held by Elusive Silva on his 3,20 length seventh placed finish in the Sledgehammer last time out. (Carded to run at Greyville on Sunday 14 May**)
Copper Pot is the fourth member of the Tarry quartet.
While he is a winner of four races, he does not have the profile of a likely July candidate and has his first run in KZN from a tough draw. His best was a fourth-placed finish in the Listed Secretariat Stakes.
In what is always a hard fought contest, we are leaning towards Master Switch and the Snaith pair of It’s My Turn and Elusive Silva as the likely top trio.
Mr Winsome and Prince Of Wales could be the dangers.