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Vodacom Durban July – The Final Field!

Tears and cheers as reality hits!

The final field for the 2018 renewal of the R4,25 million Gr1 Vodacom Durban July was announced at Greyville on Tuesday afternoon.

(Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Star Express – one of three members of the fairer sex in the line-up (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

The line-up of eighteen runners plus two reserves sees the country’s leading yards of Justin Snaith (5) and Sean Tarry (3) fielding eight runners between them. The 3yo’s dominate with eight representing  that age group.

Made To Conquer – Jeff Llloyd’s ride

Justin Snaith will fancy his chances of winning the race for a third time with a powerful quintet that is headed by current favourite and Cup Trial winner African Night Sky, as well as the progressive Made To Conquer, who will be partnered by Jeff Lloyd.

Sean Tarry is also looking for his third July win and his recently gelded Tilbury Fort, runner-up to Mike de Kock’s Yakeen – who also makes the cut – in the Jubilee Handicap, will have many supporters.

Yakeen shades Tilbury Fort in the Jubilee

Premier’s Champions Challenge winner Coral Fever will carry top weight, while Geoff Woodruff’s SA Oaks winner Secret Potion carrying 52kgs at the other end of the scale.

There are bound to be a few hard-luck stories.

Paul Peter’s Gr2 Gerald Rosenberg Stakes winner Sabina’s Dynasty looks a tad unlucky not to have squeaked in.

No place for recent Gr2 winner Sabina’s Dynasty

As does Dean Kannemeyer’s 3yo Gr1 winner and Saturday’s facile Derby winner It’s My Turn.

The Christmas Handicap winner Roy Had Enough is another horse with reasonable form in Gr1 company at his last three starts.

The possible lucky horse has to be Paul Lafferty’s Dark Moon Rising (rated 101), a four-time winner of an MR90 Handicap at best. He is in good recent form and did finish close up in the Sledgehammer and the Greyville 1900 – but is that better than the three feature winners?

The field:

Sc# Draw Horse Mass MR Draw B A T Jockey Trainer
1 CORAL FEVER 60,00 118 4 B A M Yeni Robbie Sage
2 GOLD STANDARD 59,50 117 6 B A C Zackey Glen Kotzen
3 ABASHIRI 58,50 115 2 A P Strydom M G Azzie/A A Azzie
4 AFRICAN NIGHT SKY 57,00 112 10 A …………… Justin Snaith
5 ELUSIVE SILVA 56,50 111 14 A B Fayd’Herbe Justin Snaith
6 LIEGE 56,00 110 18 A T …………… Sean Tarry
7 STAR EXPRESS 55,50 109 9 A A Domeyer Justin Snaith
8 DO IT AGAIN 54,00 110 16 A …………… Justin Snaith
9 MAJESTIC MAMBO 54,00 110 19 A …………… Paul Peter
10 MATADOR MAN 53,50 105 15 B A …………… Sean Tarry
11 FIORELLA 53,00 108 8 A M Khan Duncan Howells
12 WHITE RIVER 53,00 108 13 A C Orffer Brett Crawford
13 TILBURY FORT 53,00 103 20 A T …………… Sean Tarry
14 YAKEEN 53,00 103 7 A R Simons Mike de Kock
15 MADE TO CONQUER 53,00 102 12 A J Lloyd Justin Snaith
16 ROCKET COUNTDOWN 53,00 102 5 A …………… Candice Bass-Robinson
17 DARK MOON RISING 53,00 101 3 A W Kennedy Paul Lafferty
18 SECRET POTION 52,00 102 11 A M V’Rensburg Geoff Woodruff
Reserve Runners
19 PACK LEADER 53,00 106 17 A Reserve 1 Glen Kotzen
20 CROWD PLEASER 53,00 102 1 A Reserve 2 J A Janse van Vuuren

Have Your Say

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50 comments on “Vodacom Durban July – The Final Field!

  1. Anthony says:

    Crowd Pleaser definite hard-luck, ran 1/2 length to ruling favourite

  2. Ronny Nijimbere says:

    Dark Moon Rising is the real shocker to have made the Cut… Then again we don’t have good enough horses participating this year.. It’s more of a Group2 Field at best.

  3. Johan says:

    It’s My Turn a definite hard luck story — a definite chance

    1. karel says:

      Hard luck? He’s not even a reserve – it is a total mystery.
      Especially as there are horses in the field which are under sufferance, believe it or not.

  4. Anthony says:

    Ronny, Dark Moon Rising was beaten by Head Honcho. Head Honcho was in turn beaten by some 2L by Crowd Pleaser. Crowd Pleaser doesn’t make the cut, not even 1st reserve. Definite chance after running 2nd to ANS and weights. One of the weekest July’s I’ve seen

  5. Ronny Nijimbere says:

    Anthony, Just like last year, Im taking another Win bet on Crowd Pleaser if its nominated for July Consolation race

  6. Brian says:

    I have this sneaky feeling it’s Mr Peters who can do a Des Rich this year

  7. Michael Jacobs says:

    Mr Paul Lafferty is a very influential mover and shaker in KZN racing. Connect the dots!

  8. Logan says:

    Can someone explain why a horse with a merit rating of 106 the tenth highest rating which is pack leader not in the final field of 18.

  9. pieta says:

    I see you don’t what to post my comments ED…..reason for it?

    1. Editor says:

      The comments you attribute to the MC as ‘disgusting’were obviously said tongue in cheek and in jest.
      No point in sensationalising them out of context here, Pieta

  10. Ackers says:

    How can Made to Conquer get into the race and not Strathdon who was only a short head behind and now has a turnover at the weights putting him ahead of Made to Conquer? Also Made to Conquer now 3rd favourite for the July. Rocket Countdown, Matador Man, Star Express others who shouldn’t have made final field ahead of Strathdon then with his run to Made to Conquer. Also so many of the horses haven’t performed over ground. I would love to know how the panel got to this decision…

  11. Sammy says:

    This is without a shadow of doubt, the worst July field I have seen in 40 years of following the sport! Can we request VAR (not the stallion)…

  12. Tyrone says:

    This is why horse racing is dying in S.A. it’s no longer about merit but which trainer or owner contributes more 2 racing and shud hence get their runner’s in. Yakeen will smash this field

  13. Tyrone says:

    Star express. You have 2 be kidding

  14. karel says:

    It is revealing (and fun!) to see what the first July ante-post book looked like in January this year …


  15. Goodspeed says:

    This iconic races name should be changed to:
    This would at least make sense!

  16. Kuben says:

    The selection process has always been a controversy. It appears to the general public as cloak and dagger. Perhaps it’s time for change and we see strict criteria set out together with the transcripts of the final selections. We publish the stripes report on a race don’t we. #justathought
    (this post was edited)

  17. Vince says:

    We can prepare ourselves for a 25-40/1 shot winner in the 2018 Vodacom July. Do you have the one??

  18. Hamesh says:

    Personally i think its the weakest field ever…..for what its worth i like Rocket Countdown if only Richard Fourie or Stuart Randolph rides..looks likely to be an upset… all the best!!!!

  19. karel says:

    Commenters say it the ‘weakest July ever’

    Here are the MR’s of the runners from the last decade or so.

    05/07/2008 min 100 max 118 avg 107.20
    04/07/2009 min 97 max 121 avg 105.30
    31/07/2010 min 101 max 117 avg 108.45
    02/07/2011 min 102 max 115 avg 107.84
    07/07/2012 min 101 max 116 avg 107.60
    06/07/2013 min 95 max 113 avg 105.50
    05/07/2014 min 103 max 114 avg 108.06
    04/07/2015 min 101 max 120 avg 110.22
    02/07/2016 min 95 max 117 avg 105.06
    01/07/2017 min 100 max 115 avg 105.78
    07/07/2018 min 101 max 118 avg 108.11

  20. RAFFIEK HABIB says:

    Coral Fever meets Liege, Matador Man, Abashiri, African Night Sky as per Met form, with the main ingredient being Elusive Silva, Dark Moon Rising, Matador Man, Yakeen, but then again it’s the Paint Man, Majestic Mambo

  21. nick says:

    they have all gone up 6 mr points this year

  22. RAFFIEK HABIB says:

    If Surcharge was in the race then punters would have backed him to favourite. If Oh Susanna was in the race then punters would have backed her to favourite. But the second horse in the Daily News was hampered for a clear run and almost beat Surcharge.
    So it is Majestic Mambo vs Yakeen vs Elusive Silva vs African Night Sky

  23. hilton witz says:

    have you added on the merit rated increases that we have had to the previous years ?we had one on the first of march this year which was 6 pounds so begin with that …if you cannot see its the weakest july ever i will list the horses that arent competing for you

  24. Ramchunder Singh says:

    anyone with a tip can sms me on 0784089760

  25. gavin says:

    the owners of pack leaders should scratch gold standard … pack leader will have a great chance in this field .i am sure they own both… i did my cash in cold blood …. i am sure richard fourie is waiting to ride pack leader that is why he did not take the ride on gold standard .

  26. Rod Mattheyse says:

    6 point adjustment was very necessary then

  27. nick says:

    Haven’t they all gone up 6 MR points this year?

  28. RAFFIEK HABIB says:

    good point but packk leader has to beat majestic mambo

  29. Adrian says:

    Any news on Cascapedia?

  30. louis bernhardi says:

    There are only 2 horses that could win the rest are donkeys.

  31. nick says:

    If you add 6 MR points to previous July fields or take off the 6 from this field then it is the worst

  32. Segs says:

    So which are the 2 Louis. Let us all get onto them …

  33. Seedated says:

    I think ABASHIRI is the only group 1 winner in this field. Favorite didn’t win a group 1? What a joke. The progressive horse is clearly made to conquer.

  34. Cecil Pienaar says:

    I hope Paul Laffertys Horse win this one. Lately July winners aren’t heard of again.. Seems a weak field and upset on the Cards….

  35. Rajen1610 says:

    It’s a Dark Moon Rising

  36. Alan Amler says:

    The average MR is actually only 102 after deducting the 6 points so the weakest overall over past 10 years

  37. Riyaad says:

    Ok i have to admit although i enjoy watching horse racing im a novice at this sport. But i was wondering wouldnt it be more fair and transparent to have a point system where the top 18 horses who won or were placed in certain qualifying races are entered automatically into the vodacom july… so it becomes a race a horse/trainer has to work/race towards qualifying for the july.. i always thought this was the ultimate/premier/olympic type race in south africa… or is it simply not that simple

    1. karel says:

      Sporting Post publishes a point allocation in the Digest and here

      you can see previous years and how the score card did

  38. Roy says:

    A Good READ🕵🏽‍♂️

    Yakeen Abshiri who decided to spend a night under the African Night Sky near the White River was diagnosed with Coral Fever. Although he was advised by the Matador Man not to Do It Again he listened to Elusive Silva and went ahead with the Star Express with a Gold Standard ticket via the Tillbury Fort though the Dark Moon was Rising. As the Liege was Made To Conquer this Majestic Mambo commenced the Rocket Countdown in order impress Fiorella.

    If he used the Secret Potion as done by the Pack Leader he would have been the Crowd Pleaser.

  39. Davey Jones says:

    All these WEAK comments – “weak field” “weakest July ever” – all a load of nonsense. Put your money where your mouth is and play a single line Quartet…AND WIN!…then you can talk.
    This field is STRONG!..

  40. allister says:

    hi there i need a lekka quartet and trifecta to bank please send me some good tips

  41. Ramchunder Pram Singh (Solly) says:

    Hey guys

    I feel this is the most difficult VDJ ever, as everyone says back your own horse and if you lose its your own choice, and if it wins then its luck, Also Im battling to get my hands on the winner, so if anyone has a tip SMS me on 078 408 9760, Thanks Sol

  42. Johan Llewellyn Schroeder says:

    This is a Durban July that any good horse can win i have fun betting a horse on the day and Yakeen is my horse to win or run a place so will be taking swingers as you got more chanhes

  43. Pamela says:

    Hi Guys
    Please sms me the tip

  44. SMS/whatsapp me the tip on 0834413920 Jenny

  45. Niel says:

    Hi everyone, I know little about horse racing presently, is there a crash course guide on how to strategize and place some different bets? What is a swinger?

    1. Editor says:

      Pick 2 horses in a race and couple them in a Swinger. You win if the 2 horses chosen fill 2 of the first 3 places. There are 3 winning combinations 1st & 2nd (or 2nd & 1st); 1st& 3rd (or 3rd & 1st); 2nd & 3rd (or 3rd & 2nd). No payout 3rd & 3rd if deadheat for THIRD. Minimum best is R2

      Some more:

      Bet a horse to WIN.

      Bet a horse to finish in the placings. The number of horses qualifying for PLACE payouts depends on the number of runners:

      Five runners or less: NO PLACE BETTING
      Six to seven runners: FIRST, SECOND
      Eight to 15 runners: FIRST, SECOND, THIRD
      16 or more runners: FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH (up to sixth for the July**)
      Combines a Win and Place bet. You collect the Win and Place payouts if the horse bet on finishes FIRST. You get the Place payout if the horse finishes SECOND or THIRD (the number of PLACE payouts varies according to the number of runners, see above). The same amount is always bet for the Win and the Place.


      An Eachway bet taken 3 times is a R3 Win & R3 Place = R6.

      This is your chance to win big for a small amount. The bet enables Win or Place bets on horses in different races at the SAME race meeting to be combined into one accumulative bet. From time to time TAB offers an All To Come bet into a major race from any one of a selection of race meetings in the days before. Click on ALL TO COME BET (above) for more details.


      Bet on the horses to finish FIRST and SECOND in the exact order. Bet 3 different ways:

      Single: Choose 1 horse for FIRST and 1 horse for SECOND.
      Perm: Choose any number of horses for FIRST and for SECOND.
      Box: Choose 2 or more horses. You collect if the horses chosen include the FIRST and SECOND finishers.

      Choose the winners of the 2 consecutive races that comprise the Double (the first of the 2 races in a Double is termed Leg 1; the second is Leg 2).

      A Double can be taken on all consecutive races – i.e. Races 1 & 2; 2 & 3; 3 & 4 etc.

      Bet on the horses to finish FIRST, SECOND and THIRD in the exact order.

      Bet on the horses to finish FIRST, SECOND, THIRD and FOURTH in the exact order.

      There are 4 different ways to bet the Trifecta & Quartet: Single, Multi, Float (Rove) & Box.

      A popular Trifecta option is Multi, choosing one horse for FIRST with three or more other horses for SECOND and THIRD.

      Cost of betting 1 horse for FIRST with:
      * 3 other horses for SECOND & same 3 horses for THIRD: R6
      * 4 other horses for SECOND & same 4 horses for THIRD: R12
      * 5 other horses for SECOND & same 5 horses for THIRD: R20

      PICK 3
      Choose the winners of any 3 consecutive races. One horse or more can be chosen in each of the three races.

      Fractional betting may not be used.

      Choose a horse, or horses, to finish FIRST or SECOND in each of the 6 races that comprise the BiPot (Legs 1 to 6). You can win the bet many times.


      You choose one horse in each of Legs 1 to 4 and two horses in each of Legs 5, 6 and 7. If all choices finish in the first 2, payout is won eight times (1x1x1x1x2x2x2 = 8).

      Choose a horse, or horses, to finish FIRST, SECOND or THIRD in each of the 7 races that comprise the Place Accumulator (Legs 1 to 7). You can win the bet many times.


      You choose one horse in each of Legs 1 to 4 and two horses in each of Legs 5, 6 and 7. If all choices finish in the first 3, payout is won eight times (1x1x1x1x2x2x2 =8).

      Choose the winners of all 4 races that comprise the Jackpot (Legs 1 to 4). One horse or more can be chosen in each of the 4 races.

      PICK 6
      Choose the winners of all 6 races that comprise the Pick 6 (Legs 1 to 6) and you can win a fortune!

      One horse or more can be chosen in each of the 6 races.

      Multiply out the total number of choices made for each leg.


      In a Pick 6 you choose four horses in Leg 1; three horses in Leg 2; one horse in Leg 3; two horses in Leg 4; two horses in Leg 5 and one horse in Leg 6. This is 48 combinations x R1 each (4x3x1x2x2x1) = R48.

      Fractional betting can be used to reduce the cost of all Trifecta, Quartet, Jackpot ,Pick 6, Place Accumulator and BiPot bets. In Pick 6 example above, the Pick 6 can be played for R24 (half or 50% of the full amount). If you win, you collect half the payout.

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