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History ready to be written

A sunny and clear day has dawned over Hollywoodbets Greyville as South African horseracing woke up this morning on the cusp of a possible historic moment in the sport – near the end of one of the most traumatic and trying seasons ever.

The focal point of the 124th running of the Vodacom Durban July will be Do It Again’s bid to write his name into the history books with a third successive victory in the prestigious Gr1 contest.

Do It Again – can he? (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

At the Vodacom Preview Panel on Thursday evening, Mike de Kock put things into perspective suggesting that while some thought history was against Do It Again, ‘the horse doesn’t know that!’

The Justin Snaith quintet is headed by the handsome son of Twice Over who followed up on his 2018 victory under Anton Marcus when he won the race in the hands of Richard Fourie when beating Rainbow Bridge by under half a length last year.

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This year the top two swap weights, with that turnaround swinging a kilo in favour of Do It Again. But the 5yo has not exactly enjoyed a vintage season and has been beaten four times on the trot by Rainbow Bridge. That said, he did produce a better effort in the Gold Challenge at his last jump, when just 1,30 lengths behind the Sands runner. With a wide barrier gate at 18, Do It Again will need both luck and fortune on his side on Saturday.

His progressive stablemate Belgarion with Richard Fourie up is drawn right alongside but is technically in on nice terms after a condition of his victory in the WSB 1900 allowed the handicappers to weight him off a 119 as opposed to the 122 he achieved. The son of Dynasty is progressive and clearly ahead of the handicapper.

Belgarion – Richard Fourie’s choice of ride (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

After his good victory when dictating off a modest pace to win the Hollywoodbets Gr1 Gold Challenge, Rainbow Bridge looks to be in the form of his life and has been prepped for a major effort after an early hiccough saw him missing his intended Drill Hall prep. He answered the questions with a smooth win last time and from a 2 draw he looks to have the run of the race – which makes him the one to beat.

Bunker Hunt is the third of the trio of Snaith males and ran a cracker to win the Drill Hall beating his then more favoured stablemate Kasimir. He has a terrific turn of foot but while he may have stamina doubts, he enjoys the competitive support of Grant van Niekerk from the saddle – a man with a few July ghosts to bury!

Adam Marcus has enjoyed a dream season, cracking the Gr1 code twice and there is little to choose between his 4yo duo of Vardy and Twist Of Fate – the latter running a cracking 1,70 length third behind Do It Again in this race last year. The 2020 Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner, Vardy is a class sort with incredible acceleration.

He was apparently soundly beaten by Twist Of Fate in their official Vodacom Durban July gallop on the Summerveld bottom grass track last week , but this was of no concern to trainer Marcus, who knows the individual attitudes to work!

Twist Of Fate could prove the value (Pic -Chase Liebenberg)

The tardy pace in the Gold Challenge could have been Twist Of Fate’s undoing and he is always on the fringes of the action. He wears blinkers for the first time for his ‘new’ trainer on Saturday.(He was previously with Joey Ramsden.)

Mike de Kock has walked this path and his soon to be Sandown sire Soqrat is a really smart multiple Gr1 winner, who tries the 2200m for the first time and could be most potent off a modest pace. He jumps from a 6 gate and looks likely to be in the leading brigade from the break.

The debate about the relative vintage of the current 3yo crop could be answered on Saturday, with Joey Soma’s recent Gr1 Daily News 2000 winner Got The Greenlight and Tarry’s Dingaans hero Shango heading that generation’s attack.

Reigning SA Champion jockey Lyle Hewitson will partner Shango and concedes that there is a question mark about the 3yo’s.

“But I think that there is a question mark every season. People have some doubts and the 3yo’s seem to raise their hands – so let’s see what they can do this year.”

Lyle told David Thiselton that trainer Sean Tarry has made no secret about Shango being quite a lazy workhorse.

Shango – ready for a big run (Pic – JC Photos)

“It’s hard to gain confidence from his work, but he looks a picture, he’s a magnificent individual. His coat is really good at the moment, he’s moving well, his demeanour is good, so it’s all heading in the right direction, so I’m happy where he is. He has been lazy at track throughout his career but everything else is spot on and I’m looking forward to the race,” added the top young rider, who was originally engaged to partner Got The Greenlight.

That honour now falls to his rival senior Muzi Yeni, who will ride the Daily News winner for Joey Soma and partners.

The son of Gimmethegreenlight will only likely arrive at Summerveld by Friday, but is a dual Gr1 winner at this venue and must be respected. His trainer felt that the draw dice fell the way of Rainbow Bridge – but the Turffontein team will be fit and ready to duel!

The pace remains a poser  – but there are power yards with multiple runners, so there will be little place for tears later if things don’t pan out the way they should.

Serino Moodley rides recent Hollywoodbets Greyville winner Silvano’s Pride, who looks the likely pacesetter. The 4yo daughter of Silvano is a fit and relentless galloper with plenty of pace.

The forecast temperature is 24 degs, with a 15-24 Kph North North Easterly Head Wind.

The penetrometer reading is 23 with the turf track classed as ‘good’.

False rail is a 2m spur.

The race is off at 15h10.

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