Flag Man Catches Eye At Big Race Gallops

Countdown to 6 July

The official Hollywoodbets Durban July public gallops were held in front of a decent sized early morning crowd at the big race venue on Thursday morning.

While every one of the 11 local gallopers produced clean sheets, it was the progressive 3yo chestnut Flag Man, who captured the experts’ vote with an enthusiastic pink of health display.

Nine of the 20 final field (18 plus 2 reserves) galloped on the Highveld. The pre-recorded clips are obviously not as user friendly as seeing the stars in the flesh.

Not that a sedentary canter, followed by a good stretch past the dholls into the short straight gave the generally uneducated eye any clues as to how to structure a bid at the projected R20 million Pick 6 on the day.

Serino Moodley and Flag Man impressed all present (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

But July fever is contageous and horseracing is all about anticipation and opinion – and Gareth van Zyl’s Flag Man certainly caught the eye under big race jockey Serino Moodley.

Taken to the start by a snow white pony, the son of Flying The Flag stalked an unnamed companion. Into the home run, he stretched out beautifully to clock 22,73 secs for the final 400m.

Nathan Kotzen’s Royal Victory, a really impressive specimen in the flesh, was first out.

A slow canter with Turf Warrior (Deryl Daniels) from the 1400m followed, until Muzi Yeni gave the gelding his head into the home strip and he drew off and strode out beautifully to clock 23,90 secs for the final 400m.

Favourite Green With Envy has enjoyed a near perfect prep and he galloped alone under Craig Zackey from the 1400mn, plodding along on a loose rein, before picking it up to stretch out and clock 22,66 secs for the final 400m.

Mike de Kock’s Shoemaker (De Gouveia) and Aragosta (Van Rensburg) go head to head (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Mike de Kock stablemates Shoemaker (Diego de Gouveia) and Aragosta (Marco van Rensburg) set out from the mile marker, with Aragosta leading his companion by two lengths at a decent gallop.

They drew level as they hit the post, with Aragosta posting 23,11 secs, while Shoemaker clocked 23,12 secs. Trainer de Kock said afterwards that he has happy as the pair’s wellbeing was evident, and he was looking at a good recovery rate.

Piere Strydom flew down from Joburg to partner See It Again, who went from the 1400m with two companions.

The 2023 Hollywoodbets Durban July runner-up tracked the pair in third, and then stretched away in the straight for an eyecatching show. He clocked 23,28 for the final 400m.

See It Again strides out well under Piere Strydom (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

After a disappointing Pinnacle Stakes prep a couple of weeks back, where he frankly looked on the tubby side, Double Superlative galloped on his own from the 1400m under Sean Veale. The good-looking entire looked a million dollars and strode out well, getting a flick down the neck inside the final 100m.

His more fancied stablemate Future Swing did his thing on his own from the 1400m under Richard Fourie. He changed legs as they came off the dholls, and with his head twisted under a tight hold, he changed legs at the post again, clocking 24,52 secs for the final 400m. He gave little away!

Plattner runner Master Redoute looks real longshot value at 50-1 and had Corne Orffer guiding him from the 1400m, with his head tucked in. A real looker, his coat shone as he stretched out without any pressure to register 24,37 secs for the final 400m.

Rachel Venniker will have her first Hollywoodbets Durban July ride this year and took her mount Without Question through a nice 1000m stretch, on their own.

The son of The United States’ head was twisted as he changed legs late, to clock 24,06 secs. He was reported changing stride in running at his last start, and looks like he is over his issues.

First reserve runner Hluhluwe was ridden by Sean Veale from the 1400m on his own. He galloped and ran all the way to the post. Can’t say he told us anything on that.

The balance of the class of 2024 galloped on the Highveld and the replay clips will be shown when available.

Find your Winning Form! (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Tote betting opens on Monday 1 July, and with the day a traditional big spender occasion and a World Pool event, we can expect recordbreaking pools.

Looking back to last year, TAB pools on the 2023 Hollywoodbets Durban July were R8,7 million for the win and R3,4 millions for the place pool.

A reminder that there are only 3 places on races 7 and 8. This is in line with World Pool rules, and it surely makes good sense to deliver decent dividends, rather than watering things down to sixth place, as once was the case. The bigger picture benefits to SA racing of the World Pool, goes without saying.

Watch the gallops replay and a short panel discussion:

Racecards are now available!

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