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Winning The July – All In The Prep!

A Simulated July Result!

Are there any trends in the various prep races prior to the Vodacom Durban July which helps guide a prediction of the big race result?

Jay August has looked back at nine races and their significance in predicting this year’s July winner.

The nine preps he looks at are; the previous year’s July (abbreviated as PYJul) , the Met Stakes (Met), The Daily News 2000 (2000), World Sports Betting 1900 (1900), Rising Sun Gold Challenge (RSCh), Cup Trial (CupT), KRA Guineas (K-Guin), The Premier’s Champions Challenge (ChmpCh) and the Jubilee Handicap (JubH).

He writes:

I look only at the results as they pertain to the year in question, so a 1985 Met is compared to a 1985 July. The only race that is compared across years is the July itself where the previous year’s data is compared to the year in question i.e. the 1970 July as a guide to the 1971 July.

I look back as far as there is reliable history and the races offer similar circumstances to the present.

For the Met and July I have included data from 1950, the WSB 1900 and Rising Sun Challenge from1970, the Daily News 2000 and KRA Guineas from 1982, The Champions Challenge and Jubilee Handicap from 1999 and the Cup Trial from 2000. Those horses that did not run in one of these preps are combined under Other races.

The table below shows the horses which are contesting this year’s July, which participated in the various preps designated above and their finishing position in those preps.

You will see that only two horses have not competed in a designated prep, Return Flight and Miyabi Gold.


What significance do these preps have on the July result?

Below is a table comparing horses that competed in a designated prep versus those that did not.

Historically 1532 horses competed in a prep race and of these 100 won and 265 placed in that years July.

Note that some horses compete in multiple races and so there is duplication, hence the 100 July’s won. IV is impact value, the value above or below average where the average is always 1. IV-W is for wins, IV-P (places) and IV-T4 (top four). Above 1 implies the factor is better than average by the value above 1.

There were 116 horses which did not contest one of these preps and only 2 won that years July and 16 placed.

Horses not contesting a designated prep have only a 25.6% chance of winning compared to those that did contest a prep.

Such horses are far more likely to place – 77% chance compared to horses with a prep – but even here they are below average (IV-P = 0.86).

Ipi Tombe – 2002 Vodacom Durban July

The two horses which won in the past without one of the designated preps were both fillies, Ipi Tombe and Igugu. The two horses which this year compete without a designated prep are also fillies, but it is hard to make a case that either one is close to Ipi Tombe or Igugu in ability.

Which race has the highest historical significance at predicting a July winner or a July placed horse?

The table below shows that those two races in order are the KRA Guineas and the Daily News 2000. Runners in these races have a 4.35 (IV-W) and 2.93 (IV-W) times chance of winning than average.

The KRA Guineas is by far the most significant prep race with 42.37% of participants in this race placing in the top four in the subsequent July.

Only the Jubilee Handicap and Daily News 2000 come close to that. The only KRA Guineas runner this year is Twist of Fate.

The KRA Guineas has also produced the single most significant statistic – horses which win the KRA Guineas win 8 times more July’s than any other horse.  The prep race with the worst outcome is the Cup Trial followed by the prior year’s July. Contestants running consecutive July’s will on average perform below average in both wins (0.80) and places (0.97), while the Cup Trial is poor on both scores.

Some of this year’s July runners are also fighting trends against them winning.

Do It Again is looking to be only the second horse since 1950 to win consecutive July’s, while Rainbow Bridge is looking to become only the third horse since 1950 to win both the Met and the July in the same year.

No horse older than six has won a July since 1950 and they have placed only once in 33 runs.

Legal Eagle, as good as he once was, will need to do something extraordinary to win or place.

Three-year-olds are by far the group with the best winning and place stats with a win strike rate just over double the average.

Four-year-olds are slightly above average while horses older than four are below average.

The chart below summarises the age factor.

The sheer volume of possibilities can make predicting outcome an impossibly difficult task.

Below is a simulation of this year’s July, which is updated every 5 minutes, and which takes many factors into account including the above.

There are over half a trillion possible combinations of data in this simulation and so there is only an approximate best fit.

This simulation predicts how many races each horse would win in 100 theoretical running’s of this year’s July.

A predicted number of wins and places is then stated and from that an odds prediction is made. A minimum of 1 observation for each place from first to fourth is calculated so no horse has zero opportunity at each position.

For those looking purely for the winner, Hawwaam comes out marginally on top on most occasions, followed by Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge, while several of the runners only ever win 1 in 100 races.

For those looking for value, I have included the betting from Track and Ball and the very last column shows those horses which offer the best value. Rainbow Bridge usually comes out on top as a value bet while Hawwaam offers no value.

The spreadsheet can be found here – plse click

The odds were input on July 2, 2019.

As this spreadsheet is live the odds will be updated each morning until Saturday.

The simulations are updated every five minutes so you will need to observe the trends over a few 5-minute periods to gauge trend.

Alternatively hit CTRL+R to recalculate.

For those confused by the term value; value is the perceived upside (or error) in the price (quoted odds) of a bet compared to the expected outcome (calculated odds) of a series of such bets over time.

Value says nothing about winning or not winning, only that over time such bets will on average produce a profit when they do win.

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34 comments on “Winning The July – All In The Prep!

  1. Bob Kistnasamy says:

    Stats form an integral part of the preparation. However, luck in running, fitness and the best prepared horses and Jocks with BRT (big race temperament) are the key ingredients to the success in any event.
    Good luck to our sporting post subscribers on their selections. Break a leg!

  2. RAFFIEK HABIB says:







    1. karel says:

      Raffiek, PLEASE don’t type in caps. It means you are shouting.

  3. Jay August says:

    Brendon, the problem with looking at 10 years data is that you have such a small sample that the likely error in your observation renders the analysis void. When dealing with data such as this I always look for a minimum of 30 observations before placing any reliance on the resulting number. This is why you will often see me cluster data in 2’s, 3’s or 4’s where there are not enough observations.

    In the last 10 July’s there have been only eight 4yos running off 53ks and 1 of them won with 3 places for the other 7. 4yo’s running off 59.5kgs, 60kgs and 55.5kgs have a better record than those running off 53kgs, in that order. Again though, do not use such a small sample to predict anything.

    If you stretch the data out to 20 years and cluster 52 – 54kgs and likewise for the entire weight scale then once again 4yo’s running off 58-60kgs have the best record for wins. The sample size is below 30 again so not worth hanging one’s hat on.

    This error of refining data down to the parts which are most likely to win, and based on a small sample, is a common error many make. While the trend stays in place you think you are on to a winning formula, only for that winning formula to dissolve and disappear later on.

    This is why the July is such an elusively difficult race to judge as it has attributes (variables) which are not commonly found in any other race run in SA. Take for example the draw and the distance. If you look back over the last 5 years for all (new course) Greyville 2200m races with 18 runners, then all you have are 4 July’s to use for analysis – not enough to infer anything beyond being interesting!

  4. Jay August says:

    Raffiek, nonsensical or complicated? I find your comment difficult to understand (perhaps it is nonsensical). If you want a winner look elsewhere as that was not my intention in writing this.

    Your points about siblings is a pointless piece of analysis – why do you think it is relevant? Your points about breeding is not the point of this article so why mention it?

    It is not the first time two highly ranked half brothers meet – William Penn (2nd) beat Hawaii (4th) in 1968 but that fact is only interesting and has no relevance to this discussion.

  5. RAFFIEK HABIB says:

    Sorry pal no holds barred,
    just a tip that horses do not run on stats or paper, but , are bred to win.
    so definitely breeding plays a big part as we determine from this blue blood runners.

    being picjking them winners since chimboraa.
    raffiek habib

  6. Jay August says:

    Raffiek, I guess that puts me in my place! Who would have thought that a data point like breeding would predict success? And who would have thought that breeding stats would supplant all other forms of analysis even though it was merely a data point like all others.

    I guess statistics do have some observable trends even if they are merely breeding aspects? I look forward to your detailed article exploring the relationship between breeding and July winners, after your 60 years of observing these. Hopefully you are more skilled than me in distilling the sense from the non!

    I’ll leave you with a recent quote from James Willoughby on this pernickety subject called breeding which perhaps you can argue against;

    “But the vast majority of so-called ‘nicks’ (apparently prepotent combinations of sire and damsire, for example) turn out to be no more than noise. And the ones that persist (such as Galileo out of a Danehill-line stallion) are really a function of good-on-good made possible because they are an outcross.”

    Now put your expert hat on for a minute please. What does the beating by William Penn of his half brother Hawaii in 1968 tell us about Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam in 2019?

  7. Brendon says:

    Thanks Jay for the informative response.

    Personally, most July’s have been elusively difficult for me and admittedly I have an embarrassing record insofar as picking the July winner.

    I welcome any input that would contribute to a leaner pick 6 perm.

  8. Jay August says:

    Brendon, P6 bets are not my speciality as they require a different mindset and a lot of work. You should consider not restricting your thinking as a choice of one perm or combination.

    Two to three different combinations may be a better option. It is too late for this years July but look up anything Barry Meadow (TR Publishing) has written on the subject of the P6.

  9. Deez says:


    Your perspective on statistics and working through the “noise” is intriguing… You’re clearly a fantastic academic and like most in that category, you ensure you assert that by convincing (bullying) those who may hold a less calculated or clear cut view. So, why not back up your ability to decide relevance and give us your winner? If neither that nor the pick 6, please enlighten us on your speciality?

    1. karel says:

      That is a crazy request.
      Pick a winner?
      That’s ridiculous, stats or no stats.
      I reckon the best thing he could do is give you six who could win and six who can’t.
      Then back one lot, and lay the other six (oh, for Betfair!).

  10. Jay August says:

    Deez, I’m guessing that someone calling my attempt at analysis nonsical (sic) is not a form of bullying but my reply is? The sentiment is very “clear cut” and “calculated”. Please do not excuse others impoliteness by casting their guilt on me.

    I am clear on one thing, which I have expressed in the article; that I have no idea who will win, only that if the race were run 100 times, Hawwaam would probably win more races than any other horse. At the odds he is currently I do not believe he offers value, but Rainbow Bridge does, and I have already said that in the article.

    My only skill, or the thing I attempt to do, is judge value – my calculation of odds versus the bookmaker’s calculation and the crowd (other bettors). Making a bet on the assumption that a horse will win with no judgement whether such a bet has any value is not a paying proposition.

    Both this article and my previous article on the July draw were intended to show some of the factors that I believe are necessary in making a judgement call on value. If you have found no value in them then that is entirely your judgement call.

    Perhaps value is a difficult concept to understand for those who seek only winners but I find that seeking winners without judging value is an equally difficult concept to understand – actually it is an impossible task for me as the concept is antithetical to my way of thinking.

    If I had started out my article by saying the following; “Hawwaam is likely to win the July Handicap in 2019, but Rainbow Bridge is the better bet”; would that have been more to your liking?

    1. Editor says:

      Your contributions are valued, Jay

  11. Jay August says:

    Karel, Betfair opens up a whole new area of betting which would I fear confuse many – trading or the ability to lay and bet the same horse.

    Imagine if I suggested that punters lay Hawwaam below 2/1 and bet him above 4/1 or any variation of that.

  12. Deez says:

    Jay, please don’t get me wrong- I’m in no way condoning those comments made on your article- that is an opinion, expressed too critically and crudely (comes with the territory when you publish your work). All I’m saying is that you are clearly learned, and take to this forum to share that expertise- there’s just no need to tear apart those who either don’t understand or don’t fully agree with your stance. Let your work stand on its merit (and I, as a value man, believe there is merit to it) and enjoy the noise!

    You’ve clearly put a lot of effort into these analyses and I enjoyed your draw analysis as well. Just don’t take these comments, or this forum so seriously or critically. Opinions being thrown around is what the July handicap is about!

    However snide you’re attempting to be, my understanding of value leaves little to be desired. I am not ONLY interested in picking winners, which is why I also asked for some enlightenment on what your “speciality” can explicitly contribute to us lay people, as you managed to circumvent the request for pick 6 advice. The reason I ludicrously asked you to pick a winner is because the fact of the matter is that irrespective of one’s level of statistical nous, one’s take on bloodlines or if one believes the winner is determined by the way they brush the horse’s hair… we all are in over our heads in trying to crack this fantastic race. And I’m glad that that’s something we can agree on!

    In summation, I enjoy and respect your analyses. I just believe that if you didn’t take it so seriously you could enjoy the “nonsensical” banter, that goes hand in hand with the July, a little more. I certainly am! And yes, that kind of start to the article would certainly have been refreshing, but in truth I hope neither of them win! Hahaha! ????

  13. Amar Rampersad says:

    Jay August, thank you for your input. It is really interesting and valuable indeed! The point you made that if a hundred races were run with the same horses, Hawaam would win more than the others, is simply saying what the bookies are saying, but in a different and more complex way.which makes one realize the value of a good horse when punting. I would say that, from what you’ve indicated in your analysis, that Hawaam is a PA banker. Personally, I like Barahin, whom I think would run a cracker, followed by Hawaam, Twist of Fate and Doublemint. De Kock exacta? Who knows, but good to have an opinion! Good luck chaps!

  14. Jay August says:

    Deez, thank you for your input. I come from a background where I was expected to defend my opinion and analysis quite vigorously so perhaps I am still in that mode. I’ll take what you said into consideration.

    Amar, thank you. The intriguing part is that my simulation is not very favourable on Hawwaam placing if he does not win. He wins more than he places and I have not looked under the hood to find out why! That is not so for the other runners though.

  15. PL.NEL says:

    Jay, thanks, and please DO IT AGAIN

  16. Lynton Ryan says:

    Never knew that Galileo mated to a Danehill mare was construed as an outcross, thought that was inbreeding to Northern Dancer.

  17. Art says:

    With all the stats being thrown around my mind goes back to the The Court Days and the Chimborras of this world who made me smile all the way to the bank.Is this another one of those Julys where luck in the running is everything and preparation and hard work get you second spot??

  18. Art says:

    Again I come back to luck in the running.Gatecrasher was unbeatable in the July many years ago but unfortunately he carried out distinctly in the final stages of the race.

    Jack Brevals principal boy 20/1 on the inside was declared the winner as he was not involved in the skirmish ,my money was on the Oppenheimer horse

    Legislate was unbeatable but Wylie Hall beat him fair and square yet the stipes in their wisdom felt that there was interference and with pressure from the 50000 spectators reversed the decision from 5 to 9 (my numbers straight exacta) to 9 to 5.Im still bitter but that’s racing.

    I wonder what we will see this year.?

  19. Jay August says:

    Lynton, read James’ article and you will see the context for his statement which can found at http://www.throughbredracing.com in an article entitled “Stamina is vital at all distances”.

    James is quite open to answering question if they are made politely and you can pose that question directly to him. He usually responds very quickly if he detects there is genuine interest.

    Hopefully he will complete his proof for you.

  20. Rajen singh says:

    Hawaam perfectly prepped for this race. Well drawn. Exceptional turn of foot n that is needed for the july coming into the short straight. Anton Marcus up. Banker in all bets. Rajen singh

  21. Jay August says:

    Art, luck in running is of course crucial in such a large field around such a tight track. Which is why when determining value one always attempts to gain some safety by taking bets at odds which understate the likelihood of winning.

    As a general rule I would look for a 25% margin of safety, even though I know that finding such margins is quite difficult in most races. I’d happily take win bets on Hawwaam at above 4/1 and may nibble at anything from 36/10 to 4/1. Sometimes one gets very lucky finding such bets but they can be as elusive to find as predicting the winner of the July.

    At the odds I currently see I can only make a case for win bets on Rainbow Bridge and to a lesser extent Do It Again and Twist of Fate.

  22. Jay August says:

    PL, Nel – thanks and good luck!

    Rajen – I wish I shared your belief, usually I am like all the others, informed but confused. Good luck!

  23. MOHUMMED says:


  24. Mboni says:

    Funny how just before the so called big race days like the VDJ and Met there are carry overs almost in all racing provinces! Some of us suckers will be trying (again) to win big!
    Sometimes methinks racing is “fixed”

    1. Editor says:

      Who fixes it, Mboni?

  25. james says:

    Unfortunately the last few years of the July have been run at a very slow pace, this leads me to believe that a run from a horse who is bred from a strong 2400m stallion will win. Only a handful of horses in this race come from a stallion that has run a strong 2200-3200, in fact most of the horses in the field are bred from stallions that never won above 2100m. Silvano (won 2200)has left Gr1 winners from 1400m-3200m, Dynasty and Greys Inn both won at the 2400m and Ideal World won above 2400m. This means the winner should come from Rainbow Bridge, Hawaam,Legal eagle, Lady In Black, Eyes wide open, Made to Conquer, Miyabi Gold and Zillzaal. If you narrow the field to present form and class the betting has it right Hawaam should win from Rainbow edge. Thats if it is a true run race and not a dawdle! Best bet, box the Silvano, Greys Inn Ideal World prodgeny for the trifecta. (with my roughy that has non of the above! Divine Odyssey. Good luck all.

  26. Harold says:

    Another race that is a good pointer to the July is The Dingaans. London News and Hunting Tower spring to mind. Hawwaam won this year’s Dingaans

  27. Annelee De Vries says:

    Can someone just give me a tri factor and a quartet please….my dad used to do this for me but he is no longer with me.

  28. Jay. says:

    I think that Roy had enough is a dark winner for this years july ????
    Good luck to all .

  29. Martin says:

    Hi all No matter what the best horse will win at the end off the day and its like lotto. you cant win if you dont take a chance. Hawwam seems to be the favourite, but when last did a favourite win the JULY.


  30. Desigan Reddy says:

    Jay August seems alot of thought went in to your article. Let it be know that the Durban July is a special for all and not just racing lovers. This game is great because of Luck, good info and studying form, breed and stats. Each has a right to choose his own way. As an individual you also have a right to voice your opinion, however strong it may be. An opinion strong or not is ultimately an opinion. You justifying your research with experience actually nullifies the effect of your article. Write the article, let people read, make opinions and use if they want. Rather decent article whilst I dont really agree as this race creates it’s own destiny every year. Let it be and maybe dont come across as the bully Deez suggests. To each is own and Today I say DOUBLEMINT WILL BEAT ALL TO THE LINE AND WIN THE JULY AHEAD OF ALL THE STATS AND ANALYSIS.


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