Sixty entries for Hollywoodbets Durban July

Sixty entries for Hollywoodbets Durban July

With 73 days to go, the cream of the country’s middle distance thoroughbreds were among the 60 horses nominated for this year’s R5 million Hollywoodbets Durban July to be run at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday, July 1, celebrating this year’s theme ‘Out Of This World’.

The first round of nominations closed on Tuesday, April 18, but there is still a chance for late entries with a further two supplementary stages before the final field is announced on Tuesday, June 20.

Justin Snaith has trained the winner of the country’s most prestigious race on five occasions and another victory will see him equal Terrance Millard’s six wins, one short of maestro Syd Laird’s seven. Snaith is likely to hold another strong hand this year as he has entered nine runners. Mike de Kock, Sean Tarry and Brett Crawford have nominated seven each.

Heading the list of nominations is the Snaith-trained July veteran Do It Again. Now eight years old he has visited the “July” winner’s box twice and has been placed on two other occasions. Should he take his place in this year’s field, he will become the first horse in the history of the race to contest it on six occasions.

Stable companion and favourite for last year’s race, Pomp And Power, is again in the running along with last year’s Gr1 Daily News 2000 winner Safe Passage.

Highest rated three-year-old in the race is the Michael Roberts-trained See It Again. The half brother to Do It Again was given a tremendous ride in the Gr1 SplashOut Cape Derby by veteran jockey Piere Strydom to get the better of hot favourite Charles Dickens with other July nominations Without Question and At My Command in third and fourth respectively. Strydom, a four-time winner of the race starting with London News in 1996, has been threatening retirement for some time now but has been pushing back the final date as his services aboard top horses are suddenly in demand.

Rachel Venniker was due to become the first female rider in the race when she was booked by Joey Soma to partner Gr1 SA Classic winner Red Saxon last year, however a fall a week before the big race ruled her out. She is first call rider for Roberts but was replaced aboard See It Again by Strydom for the Met. Red Saxon is again among the nominations.

Vaughan Marshall will be hoping that it will be third time lucky for Linebacker, second behind Kommetdieding two years ago.

Three-year-olds have an outstanding record in recent years and they are strongly represented this year.

Cousin Casey is at the top of the sponsors’ betting boards along with See It Again. Also among the nominations are Anfields Rocket, Billy Bowlegs and recent impressive winner Dave The King from the Mike de Kock yard.

Darryl Moore has nominated his star Grade 1 winning filly Canadian Summer – yet to finish further back than second – while Sean Tarry has nominated two sophomore fillies in Bless My Stars and Winter Greeting and the year older Rain In Holland.

Not among the first nominations was the Ricky Maingard-trained Gr 1 L’Ormarins King’s Plate winner Al Muthana and boom three-year-old Charles Dickens. The former was always going to be an optimistic entry as the 2200m July trip is probably out of his compass. He finished down the field behind the filly Sparkling Water last year when trained by Mike de Kock while trainer Candice Bass-Robinson made it clear after Charles Dickens’ defeat in the SplashOut Cape Derby that the July was not on the colt’s agenda.

 

In the absence of Al Muthana – the highest merit rated horse in the country – top three-year-olds See It Again and Cousin Casey will be pushed up the handicap and will carry the maximum weight for three-year-old males.

The gallops, compulsory for all final entries, will take place on Thursday, June 22, at Hollywoodbets Greyville starting at 7am.

Devin Heffer, Brand and Communications Manager of Hollywoodbets said, “The rocket has officially launched for this year’s Hollywoodbets Durban July! We recently announced the 2023 theme ‘Out of this World’, and race day tickets went on sale to the public this past Monday. It’s all systems go and now the real stars of the show come to the fore with the announcement today of 60 hopefuls for one of the 18 prized berths in a race that captures the public’s imagination like no other. The real fun begins as racing purists and punters begin the great debate as to who will wear the crown on 1 July.”

“It’s a joy to have Hollywoodbets as headline sponsors and they did a fantastic promotional job at short notice last year,” said Gold Circle Racing Executive Raf Sheik. “The race has again attracted the best horses in the country and we are all set for another tremendous renewal of the Hollywoodbets Durban July.”