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Durban July Thriller Lifts Industry Spirits

Snaith and Fourie again

A champagne plan come together. That’s the story of an extraordinary 124th renewal of the R1,5 million Gr1 Vodacom Durban July for both the Snaith Racing team and the broader South African racing industry.

Their stable elect Belgarion stormed to victory in an event that looked a pipe dream just a matter of months ago.

The echo of horse hooves on the Hollywoodbets Greyville turf, with a scattering of human life made the 2020 edition of the great race, held in warm windless winter weather, an eerie theatre of the bizarre, with the exertion and performance on the track in stark contrast to the stand-off body language of the fortunate few in the ghostly grandstands.

Richard Fourie salutes the mostly empty stands as Belgarion charges home (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

But it’s a year that former SA champion Justin Snaith will recall went perfectly according to plan in the end for him and his staunch off-shore patrons, Alec and the Honourable Gillian Foster, who finally cracked the ice in a race that has eluded them for decades.

With five runners in the 2200m handicap, Snaith always had the tactical edge and it was clear that Serino Moodley had been instructed to make the pace true as Silvano’s Pride went off like a hare on a mission to lead her field from the break.

Into the run for home, the Silvano filly came under pressure as the challenges came from all sides.

The Sands pair of Rainbow Bridge and Golden Ducat had always been thereabouts and they hovered dangerously midway down the city straight as Got The Greenlight and It’s My Turn unwound their attack.

But looming up from way back down the wide outside, Belgarion (9-2) was too strong and he held off Joey Soma’s gutsy 3yo Got The Greenlight (17-2) by 0,80 lengths in a time of 132,40 secs.

History bidder Do It Again (15-2) had every chance a head back in third, a length in front of another 3yo in Golden Ducat.

Dean Kannemeyer’s Equus Champion Stayer It’s My Turn ran the race of his life to bank the fifth cheque, a nose behind Golden Ducat.

Recent Hollywoodbets Gr1 Gold Challenge winner Rainbow Bridge was 2,75 lengths off the winner in sixth after fading late.

Belgarion was a fifth Durban July winner – and a third in a row – for Justin Snaith.

This was Richard Fourie’s third victory in the great race  after the somewhat contentious boardroom call on Legislate in 2014, and Do It Again in 2019.

Victory canter for Belgarion (Pic – Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media)

Fourie said it was always a fairytale waiting to happen.

“Six months ago I told Justin I wanted to ride this horse. We had a bad draw today but I never panicked. He produced a great finish. Well done to the owners and the whole team,” he said.

A son of the famous 2003 Durban July winner Dynasty, who also won from a wide gate, Belgarion is out of the lightly raced German two-time winner Riva (Acatenango) – a half sister to French Gr3 winner Oxava.

He has won 7 races with a place from 9 starts and stakes of R1 553 125.

So a great race yet again – this time in unique circumstances.

Well done Gold Circle and sponsors, Vodacom.

And spare a thought for lifelong racing supporter Mike Rattray. Probably his best chance ever to win the race going unfulfilled with his half-brothers Rainbow Bridge and Golden Ducat both looking dangerous late, but failing to produce the victory goods. Golden Ducat ran fourth.

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15 comments on “Durban July Thriller Lifts Industry Spirits

  1. Steve Reid says:

    How bad is this 3yo crop – lmfao.

  2. Gareth G says:

    There you go trainers complaining about bad draws wharra wharra. If the horse is special it should win regardless of the draw. How smooth was the loading of the horses in the gates no drama horses this year(hawwaam) just saying.

  3. Dev Govender says:

    The best weighted horse duly won and all credit to the Snaith team for the way this horse’s campaign was managed to get in under the most favourable terms.

    The runner up did nothing wrong in defeat and proved his status as the best 3yo around.

    Honest efforts from Golden Ducat and Rainbow Bridge, and a cracking run by It’s My Turn.

    The performance of the race, though, was Do It Again. Conceding that amount of weight to two smart younger horses and getting that close, especially after having to use all that energy to come around runners into the straight – pure class. I think people have forgotten how good this fellow is due to his struggles in Cape Town this season. One of the most under-appreciated horses I’ve come across.

  4. Miele says:

    Yes how bad is the three years old. Justin said openly.. he is not only improved any draw suit him..

  5. Ashley Maistry says:

    @Dev Govender, perfectly said. The performance of the race was Do it Again. One of the best we’ve seen in SA.

  6. CAMSKY says:

    On this performance from Do It Again, I’d say the Champions Cup will be a procession for him. Justin was right, he’s back!!!

    To go one step further, I wonder if Anton Marcus angled him to the stand side rail, would he have won the race…..

    Seriously top top horse. Very underrated considering these performances.

  7. Preshane tayob says:

    Shocking ride on vardy!!!!

    1. Editor says:

      A statement without substantiation or argument is not right.
      Preshayne, please tell us why you feel so

  8. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Leon Smuts and GHJ may not agree – but a 14mil pick 6 dividend is something i hope the operators market the hell out of.

    Punt for a dream – punt its a rush

  9. attie says:

    what happened to vardy in the july

  10. donald bradshaw says:

    Vardy did not see out a fast 2200 , Bunker Hunt showed no interest , Soqrat also ran , Rainbow Bridge every chance no finish – I think those are the comments you would have got in the old Duffs Turf Guide on the fancied horses that failed in the July ?

  11. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Mnr Ed of Steve
    Waarvoor staan lmfao ?
    Lag my gat af ! 🤔

  12. Dev Govender says:

    I’ve read elsewhere that Serino Moodley was “severely reprimanded” for “going too fast” on Silvano’s Pride. I find this puzzling, to say the least. It was telegraphed from the day of final acceptance that she would ensure a decent pace (and that approach was fully vindicated by the stable running 1-3). Similar tearaway tactics were used by Red Rake in 2010 and his stablemates duly ran 1-2.

    For those who took a nibble at 50/1, as I did, we were never in any doubt about the tactics to be used by Silvano’s Pride, so there can’t be any complaints about not getting a good ride for our money, especially as I’m sure Serino was riding to specific instructions.

    I’m quite happy to see a pacemaker used if it ensures a relatively true run and fair race and provided the betting public has a reasonable indication that that will be his/her role. Compared to some of the abysmal crawls we’ve seen in recent years, Saturday was a breath of fresh air.

  13. dimmockstud says:

    Well said Dev Govender. Justin Snaith told the public who watched the gallops that “Silvano’s Pride only has one way of running and that is as fast as she can right from the start. She is a strong mare by Silvano and loves her racing.” My heroine. What an absolute pleasure to watch a true run July Handicap with pace on from the start and no Cape Crawl !

    Also the fourth best time since the race was lengthened to 2200m in !970 as follows 2001 Trademark 131.76 1998 Classic Flag 132.09 2008 Dead heat Pocket Power and Dancer’s Daughter 132.15 2020 Belgarion 132.40 ( Info from Wikipedia)

  14. donald bradshaw says:

    Dev , where did you read about this ” reprimand ” , because the only authority to ” reprimand ” a jockey officially is the N.H.R.A. ?

    Justins instructions could only have been ” go to the front , set a good decent pace and see if she holds on , if not , we will come from behind and win anyway ” which is exactly what Serino Moodley did !

    Justin Snaith is making the July Handicap his personal property and his all round planning and expertise in this race is to be admired !

    All things being equal it is only a matter of time before he will pass the great Syd Lairds seven winners ?

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