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July – Who Will Ace The Pace?

Where will class of 2020 find a pacemaker?

On Monday the final declarations for the Gr1 Vodacom Durban July are due by 11h00.

On Tuesday, the final field and barrier positions will be unveiled on Tellytrack.

Racing guru Jay August has been providing a myriad valuable stats for industrymen to work with recently and one of his recent revelations might well have an impact on the pace in this year’s Vodacom Durban July.

In an interesting editorial on www.goldcircle.co.za, David Thiselton writes that August points out that the first 1200m of the 2017 July was run in a fast 73,4 seconds, which enabled Marinaresco to come from way off the pace to win.

Marinaresco (photo: Gold Circle)

Marinaresco – goes for a big double

However, he reckoned the slow opening 1200m of both the 2018 and 2019 July’s, 76,7 seconds and 75,6 seconds respectively, played into the hands of Do It Again due to his superior sprinting speed.

The 2020 Gr1 Vodacom Durban July weights
0 0 Rainbow Bridge 60 134 A …………… Eric Sands
0 0 Vardy 60 134 A C Zackey Adam Marcus
0 0 Do It Again 59.5 133 A A Marcus Justin Snaith
0 0 Soqrat (AUS) 59 132 A C Murray Mike de Kock
0 0 Twist Of Fate 56.5 127 BA A Domeyer Adam Marcus
0 0 Bunker Hunt 55 124 A G van Niekerk Justin Snaith
0 0 Tierra Del Fuego 55 124 A G Lerena Sean Tarry
0 0 Belgarion 53 119 A R Fourie Justin Snaith
0 0 Divine Odyssey 53 117 A S Randolph J A Janse van Vuuren
0 0 Duke Of Spin 53 101 A …………… Mike de Kock
0 0 Eyes Wide Open 53 115 A …………… Glen Kotzen
0 0 Golden Ducat 53 115 A …………… Eric Sands
0 0 Got The Greenlight 53 118 T A M Yeni Joe Soma
0 0 Hero’s Honour 53 115 A …………… Gary Alexander
0 0 It’s My Turn 53 118 A …………… Dean Kannemeyer
0 0 Pack Leader 53 111 BA …………… Glen Kotzen
0 0 Padre Pio 53 115 A …………… Dennis Bosch
0 0 Shango 53 116 TBA L Hewitson Sean Tarry
0 0 Sovereign Spirit 53 100 BA …………… Candice Bass-Robinson
0 0 Tristful 53 109 A S Veale Tony Rivalland
0 0 Western Fort 53 108 CA …………… Paul Peter
0 0 Camphoratus 52 110 A …………… R A Hill/S R Hill
0 0 Miyabi Gold 52 115 A K de Melo Justin Snaith
0 0 Roy’s Riviera (AUS) 52 111 BA S Moodley Frank Robinson
0 0 Silvano’s Pride 52 118 A …………… Justin Snaith
0 0 Victoria Paige 52 112 AM *L J Ferraris Sean Tarry

August points out that in a normal turf race the finishing speed for the winner would be around 102-103% where finishing speed is the final 400m average metres per second compared to the horse’s average metres per second for the rest of the race.

He goes on to say that in the 2018 July Do It Again’s finishing speed was an astounding 109%.

He also pointed out that Vardy had produced a high finishing percentage in the Gold Challenge when coming from last off a crawl to run Rainbow Bridge to a 0,90 length second.

So if Do It Again is back to his best he won’t mind a slow pace again.

Vardy will probably actively want a slow pace as he is yet to prove he stays this trip.

Rainbow Bridge and Twisted Fate, second and third last year, will need the pace to be quicker as they were unable to match the sprinting speed of Do It Again in the straight from handy positions.

Eyes Wide Open, Miyabi Gold and Camphoratus were able to produce good finishes from off that slow pace last year to get into the places, which is interesting as they will be carrying the same minimum weights.

Of course not all of those who would benefit from a slow pace would mind a fast pace.

Most top horses prefer a good pace, as long as they have the necessary stamina reserves, as their superior VO2 max (the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen an athlete can utilize during intense exercise) enables them to keep going while others are crying enough.

So where will the pace come from this year then?

The four key horses look to be Silvano’s Pride, Padre Pio, Rainbow Bridge and Twist Of Fate.

The draw will also play an important role in determining the pace.

Watch a few reruns of past July’s

A natural front runner would probably not want to be drawn too low as this would mean he or she would have to use up a bit of fuel early to hold his or her position.

Being drawn wider out gives the horse a chance to move to the front at a steady tempo, although if the inside drawn horses are rushing this horse will then have to step up a gear.

Nevertheless, Silvano’s Pride showed last time when comfortably winning the Grade 2 Tibouchina she has enough pace to lead over 1400m, so she should definitely have enough pace to lead over 2200m even if it is in a Grade 1 against the boys.In fact she led the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 last year and won that too.

The point that will make her a dangerous runner in the July is that she was able to dictate in both the Woolavington 2000 and the Tibouchina.

Punters often make the mistake of looking through a card and if finding a front-runner they automatically assume the pace will be good.

However, if that front-runner is able to dictate then it will likely lead to a controlled pace more likely to suit the leader and not as fast as the others will need or want.

Therefore, as Silvano’s Pride is able to dictate, it must now be determined whether there are any in the field who will be willing to take her on.

Padre Pio is a definite candidate as he opened up a big lead in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000. He showed he was also able to respond to the rider’s instructions despite facing the breeze as he was cleverly given a breather coming up the hill. Visually it looked as if he was folding but instead he amazed many by finding plenty in the straight and finishing a 1,50 length second.

Silvano’s Pride – handy weight and loves the front (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Of the aforementioned pair it is going to be a lot easier on paper for four-year-old Silvano’s Pride because off her 118 merit rating she sneaks into the handicap carrying the minimum weight for a female of 52kg.

Three-year-old Padre Pio, on the other hand, will be 4,5kg under sufferance carrying 53kg.

Rainbow Bridge will also be a candidate to lead.In last year’s Grade 1 Champions Cup over 1800m he over-raced when caught without cover and showed what a superstar he was by still winning the race cosily.

Eric Sands and Rainbow Bridge – it could be his turn! (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

He was thus always going to be interesting if taken to the front and in this year’s Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge over 1600m he showed that he was able to relax and dictate when taken to the head of affairs. However, he will never again be given as easy a lead as he was given in that race.

Twist Of Fate is another who has been effective from the front before.

Rainbow Bridge and Twist Of Fate would both want it faster than either Silvano’s Pride and Padre Pio, so the pace picture is most intriguing this year.

Furthermore, there will be eleven runners in total carrying the minimum weight for their respective genders and those of them who are capable of being up there might want to force the pace in order to ensure the higher weighted more fancied runners have to carry those big masses.

The annual pace question will be one of the debates emanating from the final field and draw ceremony on Tuesday.

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14 comments on “July – Who Will Ace The Pace?


    And Bernard Fayd’Herbe, nobody wants him ?

    Surely a Rainbow Bridge option…

  2. Cecil Pienaar says:

    No Sir, Warren Kennedy has that winning ride, sorry, chance this year ..

    Seems limited options for the heavier Jocks ….

    Your champion Apprentices might still get a ride. Who knows…

    Stay safe and out of the winds and rain

    27 deg today in Pmb ….

  3. Niran Pillay says:

    Padre pio, or silvano’ pride .. both known and effective front running gallopers

  4. Michael Jacobs says:

    Bernard Fayd’herbe had his chance on Rainbow Bridge and dissapointed the connections by jumping off. As did Fourie and Marcus. None of those jocks should be given the ride again, there is no loyalty and integrity in this game. Warren Kennedy is an able replacement. Mr Sands and Mr Rattray deserved more respect and consideration, they are stalwarts of the game!

  5. Tim says:

    I suspected that rainbow bridge did not stay the slow run 2200m July last year and could not understand at all why he would then want a fast pace this year. It was also evident in the sun met that there are question marks over rainbow Bridge over a true run 2000m race. Congrats to belgarion!!

  6. Jay August says:

    Alleging that RB did not stay a slow run July and now a too-fast run July (too-fast for the front runners although not those off the pace) is superficial analysis which leads to wrong conclusions.

    RB’s best chance of winning, given his ability to run from the front end of a race, was to pace his first 1200m in ~73s, as this is historically what horses winning from the front end have done. Any horse with an ability to win from a handy position, or from the front, has an advantage as they are able to dictate their own pace and are less hamstrung by the pace ahead of them.

    In this July the sacrificial hare was chased, rather than ignored, and RB went through the first 1200m in ~71.8s and the first 2000m in ~120.4s. He stayed alright, but the fractions he was expected to run in the initial stages compromised his ability in the final 100m. That he seemed to fade is only reasonable given the energy expenditure he made initially.

    That energy expenditure in the beginning would have required him to improve many pounds above his known ability to sustain that effort to the line and win. Alleging, therefore, that he does not stay is superficial and makes no account for the pace at which he raced in the beginning, and the pace setup for the remainder of the field, and those that passed him only in the final 100m.

  7. Jay August says:

    Tim, stating that the the Met exposed RB as a non-stayer in a true run race is not backed up by the evidence.

    RB lost by a neck to One World, the same One World that had beaten him in the Queens Plate by a similar margin. These two were 4 lengths ahead of the rest. That defeat in the Met says more about the ability of One World to keep his head in front of RB than it does of RB’s ability to stay.

  8. Tim says:

    With reference to Warren Kennedy, rainbow bridge did not stay. (post race comments). Im now assuming that Warren Kennedy is to blame because he did not pace RB correctly over the first 1200m?? Golden ducat an inferior merit rated horse from a so called weak 3 year old crop was even closer to silvanos pride than rainbow bridge yet during the running, rainbow bridge passed him at the top of the straight yet golden ducat came back over the last 150m or so to beat rainbow Bridge. I believe there’s enough evidence to make one question rainbow Bridge over 2200m.

    With regard to one world in the sun met, yes i agree that he did beat rainbow Bridge in the queens plate, however the talk was that rainbow bridge was not fully prepped in the queens plate. So perhaps the result might have been different. It’s also interesting to note that the time of rainbow bridges run to one world in the met was faster than his own time when he won the previous year. His 400m to finish time to one world was also slower as compared to when he himself won the met. So again was he too close to the pace?? Nevermind, for rainbow bridges losses over a slow run 2200m,a very fast run 2000m and then a very fast run 2200m we shall blame the following :

    Gavin lerena
    RYAN Moore (world renouned )
    Warren kennedy

    …. And we shall not blame the horse himself… Cheers!

  9. Jay August says:

    You can infer what you like about the “guilt ” of Warren Kennedy as I make no such statement. Jockeys have a very narrow time period to make an assumption about the pace of a race and to react to that assumption. Errors are always likely in a race run too fast initially.

    Your need to start an argument with the implied guilt of a jockey and to end with the implied guilt of a horse is a symptom of your own thinking not mine. I suggest you ask yourself why you need to ask such questions.

    No horse has ever run the fractions RB ran in a July and won that July. That does not prove they do not stay but may prove that racing in that manner is inefficient and unlikely to prove successful.

    It appears to have escaped your notice that the first 3 horses in the July were at the back at the halfway point of the race, as was the 5th horse, and that this is in contrast to what transpired in the Met.

    Had you taken the time to think about the difference in the outcome of those two races, the manner in which those races were paced, and how each horse reacted to the pace then you may well have come to a different conclusion.

  10. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Agreed Tim, RB does not get 2200, not enough to be the champ, thats why I left him out, he wins like a tractor, he just keeps going but a horse with gears will beat him at this distance as keeps on being proven I had a hard time picking my 4 but RB was first to go….I did not put in Golden Duket or GMTGL for 2nd…didnt see that, otherwise the horse best handicapped won in a true run race….simple.

  11. Tim says:

    Alright Jay. Thank you for your analysis. The discussion could be quite a lengthy one with us citing many examples of previous races but then I would ultimately reach the same conclusion that 2200m is a bridge too far for the rainbow.


  12. Tim says:

    Hi Graham. He’s a champion over 1600m-1800m and a fair paced 2000m. But as you left him out of the July, so too did I. Lucky for us!

  13. Graham Martin says:

    Hi Jay, not a very good argument or analysis to say the least! The Met is a W.F.A. race and the July a handicap! One World and Vardy never ran in a handicap or Bunker Hunt for that matter. Carrying top weight in a handicap is never going to be easy,especially against the best in the land.Rainbow Bridge did carry 2nd top weight last year and ran 2nd but it won’t happen too often. There was plenty of Collateral form with the W.F.A. horses like Vardy, Rainbow Bridge Do It Again etc BUT it was W.F.A. Collateral form not handicap Collateral form. Belgarion was the winner of a Gr2 HANDICAP! and he duly won on form! Do It Again by running 3rd proved what a very good horse he is! The right horse won in the end though and congrats to the trainer! I mention One World above because he won the Met on W.F.A. Collateral form , he never ran in a handicap.

  14. Graham Martin says:

    P.S. Tony Micioni called it right, right from the beginning, that we must keep on reminding ourselves that the July is a handicap! It was the right call. Name me any horse that has won a Gr2 handicap this year other than Belgarion. And with bottom weight none of the horses he beat in the Pininsula handicap could have reversed that result on weight difference! Weight does not lie! And i’m referring to handicap weight not Conditions weight.

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