See It Again – Surely Ready For A Change Of Luck

HKJC Gr1 Champions Cup countdown

Legends Michael Roberts and Piere Strydom didn’t exactly have things go their way in Saturday’s dramatic Hollywoodbets Gr1 Durban July.

2023 runner-up and topweight See It Again had to be eased off the heels of eventual winner Oriental Charm, in the closing stages of the 2200m contest.

But there are hopes that the dapper chestnut son of Twice Over will bounce back in the R1,5 million HKJC Gr1 Champions Cup to be run at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday 28 July.

See It Again is one of ten of the Hollywoodbets Durban July class of 2024 amongst the 14 entries received on Monday for the season curtain call Grade 1 clash.

R1 500 000 1800m (Turf)
CHAMPIONS CUP (Grade 1)
7 Barbaresco J A Janse van Vuuren 122
1 Cousin Casey Sean Tarry 125
12 Dave The King Mike de Kock 127
3 Double Superlative Justin Snaith 124
8 Flag Man Gareth van Zyl 126
10 Green With Envy Dean Kannemeyer 127
9 Hluhluwe Justin Snaith 116
2 Narina Trogon Michael Miller 106
4 Purple Pitcher Robyn Klaasen 120
6 Royal Aussie Justin Snaith 124
11 Royal Victory Nathan Kotzen 125
13 Saartjie Andre Nel 110
14 See It Again Michael Roberts 131
5 Winchester Mansion Brett Crawford 124
(14)

On Saturday, hopes were high.

Michael Roberts was out to join a small band of elite jockeys, that includes Syd Garrett, David Payne and Bert Abercrombie, who have won the Durban July both as jockey and trainer, while the evergreen Piere Strydom was bidding for a record-equalling fifth win in the big one, as well as a chance of breaking his own record set on The Conglomerate in 2016, in becoming the oldest jockey at age 58, to ride a July winner.

Chase Liebenberg snapped Piere Strydom and See It Again on their way to the start on Saturday

Things went haywire from the 1000m as the pace of the race slowed. Royal Victory and Barbaresco were steadied.

As a result, See It Again had to be eased, resulting in Future Swing being tightened and unbalanced alongside the inside running rail, in a race Richard Fourie labelled as one of his worst ever.

In the concluding stages See It Again had to be eased after being crossed by eventual winner Oriental Charm, who was shifting in. On one of the greatest days of his career, 2016 Met winning Jockey J P v’d Merwe was slapped with a suspension from riding in races for a period of 16 days.

Piere Strydom told the Sporting Post that both he and JP van der Merwe were aiming for the same spot, and that the objection rule was structured in a manner where he believed he had no reasonable chance of success.

“JP was riding his race, in much the same way many of us would have. While he cost us, I don’t believe we could have ultimately, ‘but for the interference’, as the rule says, have finished ahead of him. So we take it on the nose,” added Strydom, who said that See It Again would be a big runner in the 1800m Gr1 at month end.

“Dave The King will probably be the horse to beat after his Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge win, and then Cousin Casey has a pole position draw – a big asset. But See It Again will be even fitter there, so we can hopefully end the season on a high,” concluded Striker.

Trainer Michael Roberts confirmed to the Sporting Post that he felt that the incident in the closing stages cost See It Again third place.

“It’s the way the rules are worded. We would have been wasting everybody’s time objecting. JP got his penalty and we are disappointed. He had the whip in his right hand – so didn’t do much wrong from that aspect. Piere Strydom rode a great race and we finished under two lengths off, giving weight to all four in front of us. See It Again has pulled up well and we look forward now to the Champions Cup,” added Roberts.

It is rather odd that given the blatant check by See It Again, that no ‘race review’ was called by the Stipes in the aftermath. It costs nothing to make the announcement, and they clearly must have reviewed the closing stages?

Supplementary entries for the HKJC Champions Cup close at 11h00 on Tuesday 16 July.

Declarations are due by 11h00 on Thursday 18 July.

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