Van Niekerk Rides Al Muthana In Magic Mile

Hollywoodbets Gr1 Gold Challenge

A high quality field of ten will line up for the prestigious R1750 000 Hollywoodbets Gr1 Gold Challenge to be run at weight-for-age at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.

Al Muthana storms home under Richard Fourie to win the 2022 Hollywoodbets Gr1 Gold Challenge (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

The field is headed by defending champion and 2023 L’Ormarins King’s Plate winner Al Muthana, who ran a cracking prep in the recent IOS Gr2 Drill Hall Stakes, and will be ridden again by Grant van Niekerk.

Smanga Khumalo takes the reins on the Kotzen flagbearer Cousin Casey, with Van Niekerk having accepted the ride on the Ricky Maingard gelding in anticipation of Cousin Casey not running.

“There’s nothing sinister in the jockey arrangements. I was not expecting Cousin Casey to run here and confirmed the Al Muthana booking. If there is any horse that is going to beat me, then I hope that turns out to be Cousin Casey. I have enjoyed great support from owner Ravi Naidoo and wish him and the Kotzen team well,” Van Niekerk told the Sporting Post on Monday evening.

Glen Kotzen last won the Gold Challenge when Big City Life was steered to victory by Piere Strydom in 2010.

Candice Bass-Robinson, who is looking for her first success in the prestigious weight-for-age mile, has a powerful Drakenstein coupling of star 3yo Charles Dickens and the high-riding Trip Of Fortune. First pick stable rider Aldo Domeyer sides with the younger horse.

Brett Crawford saddled consecutive Gold Challenge winners with Undercover Agent (2017) and Captain America (2018), and brings the smart Zapatillas down from his Gauteng satellite base in the care of his son, James.

In a rare return to a title defence, the 2019 winning comination of Richard Fourie and Do It Again are back as the senior leg of the Justin Snaith coupling.

The Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge is the final golden ticket event for the Hollywoodbets Durban July.

R1 750 000 1600m Ref-0
1st R1093750, 2nd R350000, 3rd R175000, 4th R87500, 5th R43750
Hollywoodbets GOLD CHALLENGE (Grade 1)
For Horses at Weight-For-Age
WFA: 2yrs-10.5kgs 3yrs-1.5kgs
No Apprentice / Female Sex Allowance
1 1 Cousin Casey 58.5 122 BA S’manga Khumalo Glen Kotzen
2 2 Rascallion 60 122 A Corne Orffer Vaughan Marshall
3 3 Trip Of Fortune 60 127 TBA Gareth Wright Candice Bass-Robinson
4 4 Charles Dickens 58.5 132 A Aldo Domeyer Candice Bass-Robinson
5 5 Al Muthana (AUS) 60 132 A Grant van Niekerk Ricky Maingard
6 6 Safe Passage 60 124 A Craig Zackey Mike de Kock
7 7 Royal Aussie 58.5 116 A Juan Paul v’d Merwe Justin Snaith
8 8 Bingwa 60 122 BA Gavin Lerena J A Janse van Vuuren
9 9 Do It Again 60 124 A Richard Fourie Justin Snaith
10 10 Zapatillas 60 122 A Luyolo Mxothwa Brett Crawford
Same Trainer
(3,4) (7,9)

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