Hollywoodbets Durban July – Rough Stuff, But Crawford Does It Again!

Hollywoodbets Gr1 Durban July

Trainer Brett Crawford celebrated a second consecutive R5 million Hollywoodbets Gr1  Durban July victory at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday when JP van der Merwe picked up his first victory in the iconic contest, steering 3yo Oriental Charm to a dramatic victory in what was a scrappy race of hard-luck stories in front of a crowd of just over 40 000.

In a dramatic finish JP van Der Merwe keeps Oriental Charm going to beat a fast-finishing Cousin Casey (Smanga Khumalo) in a thrilling climax (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

In a dramatic finish JP van der Merwe keeps Oriental Charm going to beat a fast-finishing Cousin Casey (Smanga Khumalo) in a thrilling climax (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

The 128th renewal of the 2200m race will go down as a something of a rough affair, with the winning rider picking up a 16 day suspension for interference in the latter stages, as Piere Strydom and Michael Roberts’ chestnut star See It Again were on the receiving end of it all. The Stipes did not deem a race review necessary, as a result of the fact that the second and third finishers were not impacted.

But for the winning Brett Crawford Racing Team and owners Greg Bortz, Leon Ellman and Gina Goldsmith, it was a plan come together, as the forward galloping lightly raced Oriental Charm followed almost exactly the same passage into the big race as his victorious stablemate Winchester Mansion a year earlier.

Allowed to dictate for much of the journey, which kept him free of the ugly stuff behind him, the Cheveley Stud-bred son of Vercingetorix bowled along out front and stayed on strongly at 10-1 to beat the flying Cousin Casey (25-1) by 0,30 lengths in a time of 133,66 secs. Trademark holds the race record at 131,80 secs set in 2021.

Hometown hero Royal Victory (10-1) maintained his consistency with a third cheque, 1,10 lengths back, with the very progressive Flag Man (14-1) looking dangerous late, but failing to go on with his effort and eventually rounding off the quartet. He will be back next year!

The favourite Green With Envy was always way out of his ground, but made up some leeway in the straight. He ran into sixth and some 2,60 lengths off the winner.

A R375 000 National Yearling Sale graduate, Oriental Charm, who races for Greg Bortz, Leon Ellman  and Gina Goldsmith, has now won 4 races with 2 places from 10 starts and stakes of R3 484 376.

The Cheveley Stud-bred colt is a son of Vercingetorix (Silvano) out of the three-time winning Greys Inn mare, Souk.

The Stipes report should make for interesting reading, with a few more sanctions likely.

A more detailed report to follow.

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