This Could Be A Classic Cat ‘n Mouse Game Today

Doublemint vs Orpheus

The R500 000 Gr2 WSB 1900, to be run at Greyville on today, is an importantly timed stepping stone into the Vodacom Durban July – even though history shows that the last dual winner dates all the way back to Bold Silvano in 2010.

Bold Silvano – last dual 1900 and July winner

The race does, however, afford the winner the luxury of a ‘preferential consideration’ ticket into the big one.

Weighted on merit rating bands, the Saturday headliner at Greyville presents different options to different horses – some are simply building their fitness, while others are desperately trying to claw their way into the minds of the wise men who will sit down on Monday 24 June to burn the midnight oil and sculpt the, hopefully capacity, final field of 20 – which includes two reserves.

The winner of this race will not incur a penalty of more than 6 MR points, while placed horses will not be penalised at all. So given Do It Again’s presence in the big one, there is little to lose for the likes of the top-class Snaith duo of Doublemint and Magnificent Seven, who won’t see their 53kgs July allotment upped.

So the stage is all set for a tactical game of needs and wants, where the final dream goal remains the 2200m spectacular on 6 July.

Doublemint is very well in (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

The SP top-rated Doublemint has not run since the Sun Met, where he ran a meritorious 3,50 length sixth, but did gallop on the Greyville turf recently under Anton Marcus. While he may just need it, he looks supremely well in here and the tactical duel with the forward galloping Orpheus should make for great entertainment. Doublemint has won his races running on from midfield, but may find himself with too much to do with similar tactics – that’s if the Orpheus express has flown down the Greyville straight.

The Azzie’s Sledgehammer winner Orpheus – something of an unlikely talking horse these days –  has registered a hat-trick and goes for his fourth win on the trot as he steps up for his biggest test to date. Marco van Rensburg loves the son of Western Winter with the high cruising speed who boasts a stride from Durban to Dakar.  He will go out to set the pace again – except this time, every rider will be waiting for the move.

Frontrunner – Orpheus will be looking to stretch them (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

Joey Ramsden’s dual Gr1 placed Fresnaye didn’t quite put it together in Joburg but seems to prefer racing at the coast. This won’t be easy for her.

Former Daisy Fillies Guineas winner Fiorella was beaten into sixth behind Camphoratus in the Empress Club Stakes last time. With a 2kgs swing at the weights, she can get closer but has a wide draw to beat.

Past Cape Derby Eyes Wide Open was well beaten in the Sledgehammer but Glen Kotzen is said to believe that he has overcome the haemoconcentration issues the colt suffered in mid season and he is sure to improve on the turf.

A withdrawal from the July on Monday, Doosra has slipped into a modest zone of form again after finding his feet following a consistent spell with a good win in the Wolf Power 1600. The son of Captain Al is always capable of surprising but has his work cut out to win.

Kampala Campari comes in off a 16 week break following his Met eighth and four length behind Rainbow Bridge. The Querari gelding disappointed in this race last year from this same pole position draw.

Camphoratus – shorter straight could catch her in this company (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Camphoratus was a shock winner of the Gr1 Empress Club Stakes at Turffontein at her last start and now steps back into mixed company. She has won at Greyville, but takes her time to get going and she could battle a bit in this field.

Made To Conquer enjoyed a leg stretch with stablemate Do It Again before racing at Greyville last Friday. He has not had a run since dropping away to finish 8,75 lengths off Rainbow Bridge in the Sun Met. He is best remembered as being a part of the Jeff Lloyd bid to win the July and finished second in 2018 in the big race.

St John Gray’s 5yo entire Dawn Assault was outgunned in the Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge last time and looks to have a tough task. His only previous start at Greyville was an unplaced effort behind Head Honcho in last year’s Consolation July.

Magnficent Seven – game and very consistent (Pic – Pauline Herman Photography)

The third of the Snaith trio, the good stayer Magnificent Seven has his first run in 16 weeks since winner the Reserve Stayers race on Sun Met day. The son of Horse Chestnut looks likely to need it and is held by stablemate Doublemint on his earlier form. But he has won seven of his last nine starts and is 100% game.

One of the seven withdrawals from the July entries on Monday, the well-related Silver God is yet to show any of the ability of his top rank siblings William Longsword and Real Princess, and is as much as 8kgs under sufferance. He cannot be fancied.

All told, it should be a battle of the wits between Anton Marcus on the classy Doublemint and Marco van Rensburg piloting the big-striding Orpheus. Made To Conquer and Eyes Wide Open look next best.

Just A Thought

Orpheus, apparently named after the ancient Greek legendary hero endowed with superhuman musical skills, burst into prominence with a  dazzling end-to-end win in the polytrack rescheduled Listed Sledgehammer Stakes last month. He won that in course record time and jockey Marco van Rensburg said afterwards that they must bring them on over the 2000m on the Greyville turf.

An investigation by the Stipes found no intentional wrongdoing by any of the hapless crew of bewildered riders behind Orpheus – who had appeared to be allowed extraordinary leeway out front – and the 4yo gelding now gets the chance on Saturday to prove that he is the high-speed dream cruiser his excited rider believes him to be – and probably book a July berth in the process.

Interestingly, supplementary entry Orpheus was one of only two horses to get a formal jockey engagement at Vodacom Durban July declaration stage on Monday. Van Rensburg was the man booked by the Azzie family to take the Drakenstein Stud bred and owned galloper to greater things.

His presence certainly adds a dimension of interest to the race on Saturday.

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