Have a flutter and enjoy the ride

Have a flutter and enjoy the ride

ANDREW HARRISON

Punter’s, seasoned or once-a-year dabblers, are faced with their usual puzzle come the first Saturday in July. Today’s R5 Million Hollywoodbets Durban July to be run over 2200m at Hollywoodbets Greyville, has a wide open look about it and while seasoned punters and students of the sport will be working out all lines of form, the dabblers will be relying on hearsay, omens, lucky numbers and favourite names.

Last year’s July only got the green light two weeks before the event as the government lifted the Covid restrictions but this year Gold Circle is expecting a full house of over 50 thousand people on course for Africa’s greatest horseracing event.

Local sentiment will be with trainer Michael Roberts who saddles current ante-post favourite See It Again. Should See It Again win, Roberts will join the three to have ridden and trained a July winner in its 127-year history; the three being Syd Garrett, David Payne and Bert Abercrombie. Roberts is also the only local trainer with a runner in the race.

Aboard will be Piere Strydom, hunting his fifth July win. Strydom boasts over 5500 winners in his riding career and has delayed his retirement from the saddle after striking a winning partnership with See It Again.

Justin Snaith has his usual gang of runners, five to be exact, as he tries for his sixth win in the race. Without Question would appear to be the stable’s main hope with retained rider Richard Fourie having had the pick but two-time winner Do It Again has his sixth crack at the race and will become the first eight-year-old to triumph. His last run is best ignored as he found traffic and he was unlucky not to have finished at lot closer at his last two attempts on his favourite strip of grass, traffic again to blame.

Mike de Kock has called on multiple France champion Christophe Soumillon to partner Safe Passage who has now been declared with a tongue-tie which could prove significant. Jockey and trainer boast plenty of success in Dubai and Soumillon tasted victory when partnering Desert Miracle for De Kock in the Gr1 Majorca Stakes on Cape Met Day. He will be aboard the filly again in the Gr1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes.

After Tuesday’s downpours, the weather is set fair for the 12-race programme so there is plenty of opportunity to have a flutter. The tote will be paying out on six places so there is opportunity to crack a long-shot payout, but even bigger will be the expected pools for the Pick 6 and Quartet bets.

The Pick 6 pool is expected to reach in the region of R20 million and the quartet pool around R10 million.

Bets can be placed at your local TABgold outlet but if you want to avoid the crowds open a TABgold betting account online at www.tabgold.co.za

The first race is off at 11.45 and the Hollywoodbets Durban July is due off at 4pm. The day’s racing can be viewed on DStv Super Sport channel 204 from 1pm to 5pm or log on to Gallop TV https://www.galloptv.co.za/kzn-clean-feed/ for uninterrupted viewing of the entire day’s racing.