High fives as final field is announced
With five runners in the 18-horse field, Justin Snaith holds a strong hand in this year’s R5 million Gr1 Hollywoodbets Durban July after the field was announced at a glittering function in Umhlanga Rocks on Tuesday morning.
Africa’s greatest horseracing event, featuring the pinnacle race in the South African calendar, will be run at Hollywoodbets Greyville over 2200m on Saturday July 1 where a full house of 55 000 people are expected through the turnstiles.
23 runners were left at final acceptances and the three not to make the cut were Aragosta, Union Square and Electric Gold with Nebraas and Jimmy Don the two reserve runners, should any one of the final 18 be withdrawn prior to Friday, June 30.
The race will have an international flavour with Mike de Kock engaging multiple French Champion Jockey, Christophe Soumillon, to ride Safe Passage. Soumillon arrives on the Friday before the race and jets out shortly after. Safe Passage was a close-up second to Puerto Manzano in the G1 Betway Summer Cup. Puerto Manzano was always an automatic entry after that win but gave notice of his well-being by recently winning the Gr3 WSB Jubilee Stakes for Johan Janse van Vuuren.
Top weight Trip of Fortune was supplemented into the race with his connections forking out R30 195 for the privilege of running in the race, despite being allotted top weight of 60kg and never having run further than 1600m. Aldo Domeyer will be aboard for Candice Bass-Robinson.
Bernard Fayde’Herbe, with a riding infraction hanging over his head in Mauritius, has been given the green light to partner Pomp And Power for Justin Snaith.
Snaith also saddles veteran and twice winner of the race, Do It Again who completed his preparation in the recent Gr1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge. This will be his record sixth run in the race and Gavin Lerena, successful on Kommetdieding in 2020, will be aboard.
Also in the Snaith armory is Without Question, beaten odds-on favourite in the Gr1 SplashOut Cape Derby, third in the Gr1 Daily News 2000 and winner of the Gr3 Variety Club Mile . First call stable rider, Richard Fourie, had the pick of the Snaith runners so his decision could be significant.
Michael Roberts, 11-time South African Champion Jockey and successful aboard Super Quality in 1997, will be hoping to find the winner’s enclosure as a trainer as he saddles ruling ante-post favourite See It Again with veteran rider Piere Strydom in the irons. See It Again was a winner of the Gr1 SplashOut Derby and more recently the Gr1 Daily News 2000. Strydom, a four-time winner of the race, will be looking to equal the five wins by Anton Marcus.
Weiho Marwing will be hoping to rub out the disappointment of having Wylie Hall relegated to second behind Legislate in 2014 as he sends out Gr1 WSB SA Derby winner Son Of Raj who has quickly risen through the ranks for owner Stephen Chetty.
There are four fillies in the race including recent Gr1 Woolavington 2000 winner Rain In Holland, runner-up Time Flies, Silver Darling, winner of last year’s Woolavington and third this season in both the Gr 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes and the Woolavington and Gr1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic winner Bless My Stars from the Sean Tarry stable.
Kabelo Matsunyane will be aboard Brett Crawford’s gelding Winchester Mansion, second to Pacaya in the Gr2 WSB 1900 but booking his place with an impressive performance in the Gr3 Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial.