The wave builds for racing’s superstars

The wave builds for racing’s superstars

Durban – The wave is building towards Saturday, 6 July! Winchester Mansion and See It Again, first and second in last year’s Hollywoodbets Durban July, head the nominations for this year’s event. First entries closed on Monday and 58 of the cream of the county’s middle-distance gallopers have been entered for a crack at the R5 million stakes purse in what is Africa’s greatest horseracing event.

The Michael Roberts-trained See It Again, touched off in last year’s race as a three-year-old, is the highest rated of the nominations and early ante-post favourite at 7/2 with the title sponsor, Hollywoodbets. All things going well, he will be back to go one better.

Brett Crawford has again entered Winchester Mansion (10/1) who was narrowly beaten in the recent Gr1 Champions Challenge and is likely to be up against his recent nemesis, Royal Victory (7/1). Nathan Kotzen’s gelding has been a revelation since being sent over ground and is sure to be among the fancied runners for this year’s event should he be in the final field.

Three trainers are responsible for nearly half of the entries headed by Sean Tarry with 10, Justin Snaith eight and Mike de Kock six.

Second highest rated of the Tarry entries is Lucky Lad (33/1), recent runner-up to Sandringham Summit in the Gr2 Hawaii Stakes over the Turffontein mile but is yet to show that he stays the 2200m of the Hollywoodbets Durban July. Also among the Tarry entries is Mid Winter Wind (50/1), winner of his last four races but yet to race beyond 1400m and the R9 million yearling purchase, Celestial City (150/1), full brother to Hawwaam, who famously blew his chances by refusing to load when favourite for the July in 2019. The Tarry stable also has last year’s facile winner of the World Pool Gold Cup, Future Pearl (250/1) among his nominations.

Justin Snaith is likely to have another strong hand in the field with the likes of Royal Aussie, Without Question (25/1) and the three-year-olds Hluhluwe (66/1) and the feisty grey The Grey King (66/1) among his nominations.

Mike de Kock is a master at getting fillies primed for the big race and the hitherto unbeaten Gimme A Nother (7/1) heads his list of nominations. De Kock opted not to try for the final leg of the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara, the Gr2 SA Oaks over 2450m, despite two comfortable victories in the first two legs.

The Oaks was won in commanding fashion by Frances Ethel (50/1) from My Soul Mate (66/1) and Silver Sanctuary (50/1), all three among the entries. Should both Frances Ethel and Winchester Mansion make the final field, last year’s winning jockey Kabelo Matsunyane, will need to choose between Brett Crawford’s runners.

Other standouts among the De Kock entries are Oaks third Silver Sanctuary and the promising sophomore Marauding Horde (66/1) who ran up a string of three consecutive victories before coming unstuck on the SA Derby although only beaten three lengths.

One of those heading the ante-post market on the sponsor’s book is Gr1 SplashOut Cape Derby winner Green With Envy (7/1). Dean Kannemeyer is no stranger to the July winner’s podium having won the race three times, his first coming with the superstar Dynasty in 2003. Green With Envy came from almost last to motor past a high-class field in the Derby and stable rider Craig Zackey will be looking forward to the ride.

Robyn Klaasen will throw another curved ball the way of Matsunyane as he was aboard star three-year-old Purple Pitcher (16/1) who got the better of New Predator and the title chasing Richard Fourie in the Gr1 SA Derby and was also victorious in the Gr1 SA Classic where he beat hot favourite Sandringham Summit and William Iron Arm. Klaasen, who is a relatively new comer to the training ranks, has also entered Second Base (250/1) who did duty for her in last year’s Hollywoodbets Durban July in her first year as a trainer.

Tony Peter is having a terrific season and has entered Main Defender (25/1) and William Iron Arm (33/1). Main Defender is the second highest rated horse among the nominations behind See It Again but has yet to race beyond 1600m. However, he was an eye-catching winner of the Gr1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes beating the De Kock-trained Dave The King by over two lengths. Now with the Peters stable is former Gr1 SA Derby winner Son Of Raj (75/1) who was also a runner last year when trained by Weiho Marwing.

Fanie Bronkhorst will have his first runner in the race should SA Derby runner-up Pure Predator (33/1) make the line-up.

See It Again and Royal Victory will no doubt head the local challenge but Michael Miller has entered recent Listed Stakes winner Narina Trogon (200/1) along with Ancient World (200/1). Gareth van Zyl has entered Imilenzeyokududuma (100/1) who races in the yellow and purple silks of the Hollywood Syndicate, and Robbie Hill, a former winner of the race as a jockey aboard El Picha for Geoff Woodruff, will have his first runner in the race should Navajo Nation (200/1) make the final field. Encouraged by his recent victory over The Grey King has prompted Peter Muscutt to add Formagear (100/1) to the entry list.

Lorenzo Karriem has two entries in River Romeo (200/1) and Indian Ocean (250/1) with Tony Rivalland entering the filly Celtic Beauty (150/1) and MJ Odendaal the mare Danse Milord (250/1).

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