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July entry Like A Panther is out

The national 3yo tussle for supremacy has been an interesting one this term and we get another opportunity to do some sifting of the wheat from the chaff, with eight Vodacom Durban July entries lining up in Saturday’s R2 million Gr1 Daily News 2000.

Mike de Kock withdrew Like A Panther on Thursday, which means 12 runners will line up at the 2000m marker at 15h10.

Kotzen’s Pack Leader – promising

The participation by SA Triple Crown bridemaid Surcharge and the Gauteng boom colt Majestic Mambo add an interesting element to a race after which Justin Snaith and Glen Kotzen will undoubtedly have a clearer picture of their July prospects.

Snaith, in fact, enjoys an embarrassment of riches in the July and the facile Daisy Guineas victory of his Twice gelding and VDJ second favourite Do It Again will be put to the test. The Investec Cape Derby runner-up will be more comfortable over this trip and from the 1 draw has plenty in his favour with regular pilot Bernard Fayd’herbe up.

.Overdue! Surcharge is top-class

Stuart Pettigrew travels with the top-class Surcharge. But the seasoned trainer must be contemplating the suitability of the Greyville track – with its’ short home stretch – to a horse who only delivers late in his races. With impeccable and genuine Gauteng classic form, this fellow is well deserving of a big win for Varsfontein Stud and owner Ian van Schalkwyk.

Hometown hope Roy Had Enough was cast in his box and withdrawn from the Daisy Guineas. The son of Pierro has won well at this, his home course. But he has a wide draw to overcome and looks held by Surcharge on his SA Classic fifth (4,10 lengths).

Glen Kotzen’s Pack Leader came down with a phantom colic when scratched from the 1900 last time. The son of Philanthropist ran an excellent second in the Sledgehammer when just failing to get to Head Honcho in his first run since a break following an excellent Cape Derby third. With his July prep under a measure of pressure, the son of Philanthropist can bounce back here,

Top O’Noth –  will he stay?

Cape Guineas winner Tap O’Noth is one of only two non-July entries in the race. He was a fair third (2,25 lengths) in the Daisy Guineas and can only improve here – but does he stay?

Like A Panther ran third (1,60 lengths)  in the SA Classic but failed to stay when well beaten last time in the SA Derby last time. He looks held – but it would be folly to discount a Mike de Kock runner.

Brett Crawford’s White River is not an easy customer but ran a fair fourth (2,75 lengths) behind Do It Again in the Daisy Guineas. He stayed on well over too short in the Byerley Turk and must have a chance on his best form – and subject to good behaviour!

Majestic Mambo – enigmatic

Surprisingly still a colt, Majestic Mambo was unplaced in all three legs of the Triple Crown, for a variety of reasons (including an awful accident in the SA Classic) after being hailed the next best thing since sliced bread after a stakes winning unbeaten run in his first three starts.  He has his first run at Greyville and we live in hope again.

Warrior’s Rest is still a one-time winner and has only his third run as a 3yo. He is a July entry and hails from a top stable. But he is difficult to recommend with any confidence.

Second of the Paul Peter duo is Alssakhra who was unplaced in the Gauteng Guineas and looks to have a tough task on what he has shown so far.

Steel Rose clipped heels when showing good pace behind Star Express in a  high quality Pinnacle Stakes two weeks ago. The son of Gitano Hernando looks a trifle outclassed but did hang on for third behind Doublemint (subsequent Winter Classic third placer) in the Politician Stakes earlier this year.

Toltec looks well held but has won 3 of his 16 starts and is obviously held in high regard by his connections. He is yet to show he can win on the turf and this is thus a massive step up for him.

Hollywood longshot – Sunny Bill Du-Toy

Hollywood’s Sunny Bill Du-Toy has continued to improve since winning his maiden and has won his subsequeunt two starts with ease. Described as ‘above average and progressive’ by top jockey Anton Marcus, this son of Irish Flame has it all to do at the weights on paper. But don’t underestimate him.

Do It Again and Surcharge look the obvious two and they are the choice to fight it out with Pack Leader, White River – and dare we say it – Majestic Mambo still a dark horse.

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