Future Pearl And Aragosta Cement Big Race Claims

Final field unveiled on 25 June

Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday could well be seen as something of a boulevard of broken dreams for at least three aspirant R5 million Hollywoodbets Gr1 Durban July entries.

With just three weeks to go to the big race on 6 July, there is not much margin for error at this late stage.

For the last decade, the positioning of the Tabgold Derby – open to horses of all ages at weight-for-age plus penalties for a decade now – has meant that the refurbished former classic certainly presents a back door opportunity to those looking to sharpen up and stake a claim for a prized berth in the R5 million spectacular on 6 July.

On Saturday the 2400m Tabgold Derby hosted a quartet of the 29 entries still in the Hollywoodbets Durban July mix, and for two of them it’s game on, but sadly for the balance it could be game over.

A very decent 3yo stayer, and winner of the World Pool Gr3 Gold Cup last season, Futura’s son Future Pearl hadn’t earned a brass farthing in four starts this season, until he swept clear to grab the top cheque in the R350 000 feature on Saturday.

Richard Fourie and Sean Tarry chat about Future Pearl after an eyecatching win (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Now a four-time Gr3 winner, Future Pearl looks destined for greater things and it will boost his cause that he loves the Hollywoodbets Greyville circuit. While Richard Fourie has already been engaged to ride Justin Snaith’s Future Swing, Future Pearl appear to be a deserved likely inclusion in the Hollywoodbets Durban July on this resounding return to form.

His trainer Sean Tarry has had his ups and downs with the big race selection panel over the years, but his observation about Future Pearl not gaining a spot on the log published a few days ago, was pertinent based on his charge’s blank sheet this season so far! There are no ifs and buts after this showing.

Future Pearl came from near the back of the field, quickening up smartly in the closing stages to beat Aragosta by a length. Mike de Kock’s son of Rafeef – who was hanging in the latter stages on Saturday – has only won a single listed race since his peak moment in the Gr1 SA Derby of 2022, when beating Zeus. The latter coincidentally ran 2,15 lengths behind him at level weights on Saturday, in an encouraging form return.

Consistent recent showings at feature level, suggest Aragosta could get his chance when the final Hollywoodbets Durban July field is unveiled on 25 June.

Richard Fourie delivers Future Pearl in style to beat fellow Hollywoodbets Durban July entry Aragosta (Muzi Yeni) in a cracking big race prep

Richard Fourie delivers Future Pearl in style to beat fellow Hollywoodbets Durban July entry Aragosta (Muzi Yeni) in a cracking big race prep (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

While Future Pearl and Aragosta emerged with credit on the day, fellow big race hopefuls Cape Eagle (4,65 lengths) and Without Question (4,70 lengths) mostly failed to get the pulses racing, but with some excuses.

Both were in the leading quartet for much of the race on Saturday, but didn’t go on with it.

Justin Snaith’s Without Question actually hit the front about 350m out, but produced no spark. He was reported to have been changing stride continuously in running, and not striding out.

The Plattner flagbearer Cape Eagle took a brush nudge from Future Pearl, before going up and down in the closing stages. He also overraced early, as is his wont.

The fifth of Saturday’s Hollywoodbets Durban July entries to step out was WSB Cape Town Met winner Double Superlative, who looked on the big side in the preliminaries before he took on five opponents under top weight of 62kgs in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1600m earlier in the day.

Last seen in action twenty weeks ago, Double Superlative (rated 124) stepped out on Saturday as the class horse in the race.

Despite being the subject of ante-post betting support, the 5yo entire drifted in the market just before the off and ran accordingly – finishing fourth and some 5,65 lengths behind his 3yo stablemate Get Impressed (rated 96), to whom he conceded 10kgs.

In view of the performance by Double Superlative, he was examined by the Vet but nothing was found post-race. He was at position 4 on the official big-race log on Saturday morning.

Eighteen horses plus two reserves is the maximum field size that could be announced on 25 June.

There are 29 still in the mix, with final supplementary entries closing at 11h00 on Tuesday 18 June. The weights will be published on the same day.

Final declarations close at 11h00 on Monday 24 June.

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