July – The Talking’s Over…

Horse races are generally not lotteries - but they all want to win this one

French Navy

French Navy – top 3yo and cannot be ignored

Eighteen runners line up to face the starter over the Greyville 2200m in Durban on Saturday. The R3,5 million Gr1 Vodacom Durban July is the race that everybody wants to win – and it’s not all about the money. Not an inch will be given as an eclectic mix of prestige, honour, glory, and an entry into the history books of the South Africa turf, await the winner.

Greyville Racecourse aerial view4Horse races are generally not lotteries. But on the new-look tighter Greyville circuit, with a big field hustling and bustling for position, luck in running is bound to play a major role in the final outcome. Gate speed and the ability to muster early, and gain a favourable position, or drop out and find a way through the traffic, will be key to the treasure.

There is no obvious pacemaker either – although from a 20 draw there is a school of thought that suggests that young Chad Schofield, in his first July, may be playing that part on The Conglomerate.

Top Sort

The 3yo crop is a decent one and their July team is headed by recent Jubilee Handicap runaway winner Legal Eagle.

The son of Greys Inn picked up no penalty for that win, which was his hat-trick following victories in the Derby Trial and SA Derby, and looks very well in here – even though his rating appears a tad inflated.

The major concern about Legal Eagle will be his ability to handle the Greyville short straight – and a review of the Jubilee shows that Marcus was at work and switched him out at the 800m marker already.


The star 3yo Majmu

The star filly Majmu put up an excellent gallop on Thursday after her non-appearance in the Woolavington (with an elevated temperature). She has to give weight to her contemporaries, but has plenty in her favour – including a 1 draw and a multiple July winning jockey and trainer.

Sensational Gr1 Daily News winner French Navy, unlike Legal Eagle, has proven his ability to win at Greyville and with luck in running (he likes to turn it on late) should go very close. His form in the Highveld Classics has been exemplary and only traffic problems cost him a closer finish behind Legal Eagle in the SA Derby,

He is another who will relish a true pace.

Wide Draw

The Conglomerate wins KRA Guineas

The Conglomerate – widely drawn but no slouch

KRA Guineas winner The Conglomerate was beaten 2,50 lengths into third in the Woolavington and is 1,5kgs better off with French Navy.  His draw of 20 is a major concern though, and it remains to be seen how his young rider copes from that position – but Ramsden will be strategizing!

Deputy Jud was hampered in the Daily News when beaten out of the money. His placed runs in the SA Classic and the SA Derby suggest he has a chance – but his 15 draw means that he will need some luck in running. But French Navy looks too strong for him.

Pine Princess ends Siren's Call Triple Tiara dreams

Pine Princess – has attracted betting support

The 3yo fillies Pine Princess and Tamaanee are both top-class on their day. Pine Princess was narrowly beaten by Smart Call in the Woolavington, while Tamaanee’s run there can be ignored as she pulled up with a bent shoe, which was pointing into her hoof.

But this mixed company will be tougher for both.

Topweighted Futura has a few question marks against his name – including his ability to lump 60kgs in a true-run race and seeing out the trip.

But the dual Met and Queen’s Plate winner has all the credentials and is well drawn – and fitness will not be an issue after his sedentary prep when running on fourth behind stablemate Legislate in the Gold Challenge.

Wylie Hall has his last run before stud and looks to register the hat-trick after wins in the Gr2 Colorado King Stakes and Gr1 President’s Champions Challenge.

A win on Saturday will mean he is unbeaten in his final term of racing and from a 2 draw, he looks to have a great chance of reversing the 2014 travesty when he was demoted.

Looks Ready

Power King_Gr3 Winter Guineas_k140504-4_w

Power King – looks nicely in for a big run

Dean Kannemeyer’s Power King made up 15 lengths in the straight and ran off course when narrowly beaten by Dynastic Power in the 1900. That followed his defeat of subsequent Drill Hall Stakes winner Ice Machine at Scottsville.

Well drawn off a handy weight of 53kgs, he must go very close with a repeat of that performance,

Piere Strydom rides Halve The Deficit from a 14 draw.

The son of Right Approach stayed on when sixth and 2,15 lengths back in the Gold Challenge. On his President’s Champions Challenge 3,25 length fourth to Wylie Hall, he is not far off the best here – and meets the Marwing runner on 3,5kgs better terms.

Stan Elley’s Punta Arenas came back to his best last time with a resounding win in the Cup Trial.  He is drawn wide at 19 and will be looking for a decent pace. Whatever happens, he will be finishing well at his third attempt to win this race.

The Geoff Woodruff-trained Tellina ran fourth in this race last year. The son of Silvano carries 4kgs less this year from a 3 draw (he jumped at 15 from 16 last year) and has a chance to get his head in front – something that he battles to do, despite his obvious ability.


Ice Machine - new lease on life

Ice Machine – new lease on life

Drill Hall Stakes winner Ice Machine is in the pink of well-being and strode out magnificently at the July gallops last Thursday.

Donovan Dillon has his first July ride and has plenty of options with this versatile gelding from his 13 draw – but there is no guarantee that he will see it out, and will be suited by a sedate pace.

Mike Bass’ Helderberg Blue has never won anything bigger than a Pinnacle Plate, and did himself no favours when running third behind Futura in the Met – having his MR hiked dramatically.

He was not disgraced with a 2,50 length fourth behind Punta Arenas in the Cup Trial at his last start and with just 53,5kgs to shoulder from a decent draw, he could reward his connections with a place cheque – he has to beat his own attitude too, though.

The second of the Stan Elley runners is the Betting World 1900 winner Dynastic Power.

Some felt that he got rather lucky to win that race, and that sentiment was endorsed when he followed up with a 12 length unplaced run behind his stablemate Punta Arenas in the Cup Trial.


Hot Ticket wins at Kenilworth on 13-10-26

The smart Silvano gelding Hot Ticket is more of a staying sort – but has a place chance

Equus champion stayer Hot Ticket is something of a surprise inclusion. He is a slow starter of note and may find this about 200m too short in this company.

He showed his wellbeing when just shaded by Disco Al in the Track and Ball Derby at Scottsville ten days ago, and will strip a fit horse.

Gold Onyx is rising 8 and from an 18 draw has it all to do at his 50th run.

Two top-class placed runs in the L’Ormarins Queen’s and the Met were followed by a dull effort in the Cup Trial, when in need of the run.

The reserve runners Dynamic and Mac De Lago both put up decent gallops and have individual cases to have been included ahead of some.

Decision Time

There are many variables at play in what should be a cracker of a contest.

A true run race suggests we will see the likes of French Navy and Legal Eagle fighting it out – with Wylie Hall in good heart and mind a massive danger. The well-drawn Majmu cannot be disregarded, while a repeat of Power King’s scintillating finishing effort in the 1900, brings him into this off his weight mark.

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2015-Vodacom-Durban-July (2)

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