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July – Green For Go

Rides highest rated current active 3yo male in SA

Muzi Yeni showed on Sunday that any cobwebs brought on by his two enforced layoffs this season had been cleaned out as he rode a pearler on Running Brave in the KZN Breeders Mile and he goes into the Vodacom Durban July full of confidence having landed the ride on the highest rated three-year-old in the country, Got The Greenlight.

Muzi Yeni (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

Muzi Yeni (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

David Thiselton writes that two of Joey Soma’s handful of career Gr1 winners have been ridden by Yeni, Happy Landing in the Champions Challenge in 2011 and Lobo’s Legend in the SA Classic in 2018.

Yeni added, “And that is with not too many rides for him.”

In normal circumstances there are enough points of comparison between the three-year-olds and older horses by this time of the year. However, there is little to go on this year as a result of lockdown, so it is difficult to know exactly how good Got The Greenlight is.

Some pundits are disparaging about the current three-year-old crop and according to the official merit ratings, Got The Greenlight is 3kg under sufferance.

However, one point that perhaps sets him apart is that old adage “you can only win”. Furthermore, he showed in both the SA Classic and Daily News 2000 that he is one of those sorts who takes his foot off the pedal after hitting the front, so he could well be better than the official results are showing.

Yeni said, “I think he’s got a great turn of foot but he obviously has a short run in, so you have to time it right, you can’t go too soon on him. But the July is packed with horses and I’m sure he will have a lot of horses to run down or to chase. I’m just hoping from my draw (13) I can find a decent position from which I won’t be giving him too much to do. There is always going to be a debate about the three-year-olds versus the older horses but he has won three Group 1s, let’s take nothing away from him. He is definitely a massive runner. He’s got a nice weight receiving 7kg from Rainbow Bridge and Vardy and 6,5kg from Do It Again, so that should give us a bit of an edge being a three-year-old. It’s still a tough contest, but if I am able to get a good position I am sure we should fight out the finish.”

The question of pace can never be answered until the race itself, although with the likes of Silvano’s Pride and Padre Pio in the field most pundits are expecting it to be good this year.

A good pace will aid Got The Greenlight in two ways: Firstly, it will give him a better chance of slotting in from his tricky draw as the field should then become strung out; Secondly, his run in the SA Derby over the tough Turffontein 2400m, when running out of steam in the final few metres, suggested that the Hollywoodbets Greyville 2200m should be well within his stamina capacity and a fast pace will maximise that asset.

Yeni concluded, “I’m going in with confidence and hopefully I will get a bit of luck in running as well.”

Yeni’s best finishes in the July have been third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, and he revealed he had been unlucky on one or two occasions too.

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19 comments on “July – Green For Go

  1. hilton witz says:

    The current crop of 3yo colts and geldings middle distance horses have not shaped when they have had to run against older horses ..The winner of the sa derby out of your league who beat Mr somas horse in the sa derby is a prime example as he got beaten by gold griffin in a mr 76 handicap with brand new cadillac just behind him…Out of your league runs thursday in a pinnacle plate so lets see how he goes …Got the greenlight shango padro pio and golden ducat will have to improve 5 to 6 lengths to have any chance of winning the july …Western fort who got beaten just under a length in the derby then got hammered by hawaam in the presidents challenge so all the best to those who are on the 3yos plus im sure warren kennedy would have had the choice of Mr rattrays two horses and he chose the top weight..


    Mr. Editor, because it’s the July and everything that goes with it, could you open the comments box on Mr. Sands situation with Golden Ducat.

    Your article ends ” In view of his draw, Golden Ducat could prove to be vital to Sands’ tactical bid to win the July.”

    Their are many out their who have an opinion as to the type of horse Golden Ducat appears to be & his running style.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi William

  3. Deon Els says:

    I also believe the 3 yr olds is a division below the older horses they have shown nothing when racing in the top handicaps

  4. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Valid point Hilton..but now I’m going to start with the isn’t it stuff.. isn’t it fair to say that the 3 year-olds are receiving tons of weight over a 2200m ? albeit on paper the 3 year olds are slightly under sufferrance,,depending how you sum it up as a handicapper,,i personally do my own handicapping so lucky for me,, if I’m wrong I’ve got nobody to blame but myself…isn’t it that the 2 year olds from last season did not get the 10 points penalty ? isn’t it fair to say that Got The Greenlight runs closer to a 128 MR ? isn’t it fair to say that Got The Greenlght’s run in the Derby was his 2nd run after a lengthy lay-off ? isn’t it fair to say that Got The Greenlight prove himself that he’s a serious runner come July day after winning the Daily News ? isn’t it fair to say that the Daily News has always been a good pointer for the July ? so yes we could argue a good few points,, my opinion it’s certainly not a 1 or 2 horse race,, many with equal chances of winning..Good Luck To The Winners…but before I log off let’s have some fun,,I’m going to be sending you a run of a certain 3 year old and if you Hilton or Jay could maybe pls be as kind to answer,, seeing you guy’s know just about everything

  5. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…for some reason it’s not allowing me to down some info that I needed..Anyway
    Hilton could yourself or Jay pls explain the Matchem Stakes run in early October where your 3 year-old African Warrior gets beat 2 Lengths to One World…Tks looking forward to some answers,, try leaving out the distance being 7 furlong,, although if need be,,then use it it’s fine…that’s why I love Formgrids it’s a tool that I’ll never go without heading into a ring

  6. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Hilton would it be fair to say that the July not being run normally on the 1st Saturday of July and now running 3 weeks later adds just a little something in the 3 year olds corner ? maybe a head or maybe even a half a length

  7. Jay August says:

    Frankie Frankie Frankie…..

    My views expressed in my letter three weeks ago and through several comments on SP roughly align with your view on the three-year-olds, and are in contrast to those made by Hilton and others.

    So why are you roping me into the debate on a subject where I have expressed general agreement with your opinion of the three-year-olds?

    What is this actually all about?

  8. hilton witz says:

    Frankie merit ratings are based on who you have run against and 3yo middle distance horses who have run against older horses have not run anywhere near a 128 for example out of your league ,western fort and imperial ruby who contested the sa derby..In the daily news both padro pio and golden ducat have also performed against older horses and never came close to a 128 …Both padro pio and golden ducat ran close to each other in the guineas and daily news and the same can be said about got the greenlight and shango running very close to each other in sa derby and daily news so the ratings that all 4 have imo are correct …As for your question on african warrior i fail to understand its significance of it as i am talking middle distance races not extended sprints and african warrior hasnt exactly gone on this season either ,,On the subject of you doing your own handicapping well every punter is a handicaper as when you have a bet on a horse you are in essence saying i am backing this horse to beat the others because he is better handicaped than the rest of the field..

  9. PL.NEL says:

    There are definitely some gaps in form this year which make 3 year old form a head scratcher. I don’t agree with some of the collateral form suggested above because of prep running tactics. GTG was in my opinion not at the top of his game in the derby, yet it was this run that convinced me that he is a July contender. As I also expected further improvement in his next start he duly obliged with a stout win in the Dnews. His winning time in this race was over 6 lengths better than Summer Pudding, which again tells me he is the real deal. The older horses worth mentioning are all 8/9 furlong runners that are pulled into this distance by class, on the other hand the 3 year olds are distance suited and apparently under weighted. GTG has been very well planned into this race and the only possible negative is hot headed Yeni. Warren is well suited to the favorite and his cool meaner will make the rest sweat proper. So let’s see which 3 year old can run down this worthy favorite. Enjoy.

  10. Dev Govender says:

    I agree that it was the Derby run that really convinced me about Gotthegreenlight – the way he made up the ground in the straight was eye-catching and it was literally in the last few strides that lack of race-fitness caught him out. On the back of that effort, he was always going to be the one to beat in the Daily News, especially as he’d already won a Gr 1 at the track. There’s no obvious July favourite this year and he’s got to be one of the leading contenders.

    A thought on the relative or perceived strength of this season’s 3yo crop: I don’t have a strong view either way because of the interruptions to the racing programme this season, so there will always be this “what-if?” factor. What I will warn against is using the performances of other 3yo’s against older horses to assume that GTGL will also automatically fail in open company, especially bearing in mind he will be practically a 4yo come Saturday! Also, it’s possible for a generally weak crop to still throw out very good or even great individuals. The most telling case is that of Horse Chestnut – he would obviously have been a champion in any generation, but the overall 3yo crop that he belonged to was by no means a vintage one. I’m not suggesting that GTGL is anywhere in that league, but the point stands that he could well be good enough to rise above the generally mediocre standard of his peers (if mediocre does turn out to be an accurate description of the crop).

  11. Ian Trimmel says:

    You guys can oooh and aaah all you like. They all have to start running now to beat Rainbow Bridge and Vardy at their best

  12. Harold Narainsamy says:

    As I have alluded to previously, the delayed running of the July could favor the developing 3 year olds. The last time we had a disrupted season was when Bush Telegraph did the SA 2000 July double. There were doubts about the 3 year olds then too. Let’s hope Muzi brings GTG home.

  13. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…
    Hilton my point is that in October of last year the 3 year old African Warrior recieved 6,5kg and got beat 2 lengths to One World,,Yes i understand it was a 7 furlong,,and that the further you go so the less weight the 3 year olds carry,,It’s almost 10 months ago we talking,, now the 3 year olds are receiving 7kg albeit over 2200m doesn’t sound exactly right to me..yes I agree that the 3 year olds are just below par this season,,but are we talking about every 3 years old,, if so i beg to differ slightly,, I think the 3 year olds that are running in the July mainly GOT THE GREEN LIGHT and Golden Ducate haven’t exactly proven themselves because of the interrupted programme,, they could be way better than their current rating which in my opinion I do feel so,,I feel that Got The Greenlight and Golden Ducat are serious horses and are horses that are certainly on the up..the 3 year olds we have in the July will run absolute crackers I have no doubt about that…I could easily see Got The Greenlight or Golden Ducat winning the July,, and trust me it doesn’t exactly stop there..I feel that not one horse can afford the slightest mistake,,There’s just no room for error,,otherwise it will be their race done and dusted for sure…I see it being a very tactical and thinking out the box type of run race,,a lot of luck will certainly be needed in this year’s July… albeit I’ve got 6 horse’s that I’m standing to collect on and I’m still not happy…what I will be happy about is seeing Got The Greenlight travelling against the bit just before they corner for home with 53kg on his back and it happens to unfolds that way,, they can put the number in the frame at the 300m,,his turn of foot is tailor made for Greyville…hello tail wind…Good luck to all concerned on the day…God Bless

  14. Shaun says:


  15. Shaun says:

    It’s going to a take a world of beating rainbow Bridge and vardy…. Dark horse will be bunker hunter but guys again we can talk all we want… The july is won by jockeys not horses…

  16. Cecil Pienaar says:

    You’re in the winning queue with your QT Shaun ….
    Hoping for you atleast one big outsider in the field selections….

  17. Pieta Louw. says:

    Cecil, for me it’s a Rattray day….ons kyk maar….

  18. Shaun says:

    Thanks Cecil…
    Whats ur take on the july and the winner

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