Picture: UPSPLASH/SIMON PETROL
Picture: UPSPLASH/SIMON PETROL

If trainer Justin Snaith was to mark his own scorecard for the first meeting of Durban’s "Champions Season", he would probably give himself four out of 10.

Oh Susanna was scratched with a minor injury, Snowdance was a costly failure for most punters, but Do It Again saved the day with a good performance in the Daisy Guineas.

That victory put Do It Again’s hat very much in the ring for the R4.25m Vodacom Durban July on July 7 — not a great surprise. When asked for a long-range July tip on Tellytrack six weeks ago, my answer was get on Do It Again for a place immediately.

Bred at Northfields Stud and bought by bloodstock consultant John Freeman for R1.1m as a yearling, Do It Again was easy to back for the Daisy Guineas as most pundits believed the 1,600m was too sharp.

This view was confirmed after the race with jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe declaring "he’ll be much better suited to a longer trip". The 2,200m of the July should be ideal. Snaith makes no secret of the fact that the country’s big races — the Sun Met during the Cape season and the July in Durban — are always his chief objective.

First 'July log'

Gold Circle has just issued its first "July log" and it is clear that Snaith has a stronger hand than major rivals Sean Tarry and Mike de Kock.

Oh Susanna (merit-rating 121) tops the log followed by Premier’s Champions Challenge victor Coral Fever (120), Tarry’s Sansui Summer Cup winner Liege (110), Stuart Pettigrew’s talented three-year-old Surcharge (109) and Do It Again (110).

Surprisingly, for a trainer with two July wins under his belt, Tarry has only one horse, Liege, in the first 18 on the log, but it is worth noting that the champion trainer bypassed the Premier’s Challenge to keep his charge fresh for the July.

De Kock has withdrawn two of his star females, Nother Russia and Takingthepeace, from the July. The first-named has been retired to stud after an outstanding career

But if the websites are to be believed, a number of punters backed Takingthepeace after her two Triple Tiara successes and they have lost their loot.

However, most are aware that taking an ante-post price comes with risk. The rewards can be immense if you get it right, but injuries and change of plans can see the bet go down the drain.

De Kock still has Cascapedia (109) in the first July log, though another female, Secret Potion (102), trained by the highly respected Geoff Woodruff, makes more appeal after her game victory in last Saturday’s SA Oaks.

Abashiri (117) still has a large following and the Azzie team will be delighted with his effort behind Coral Fever on Saturday and, judged on this performance, the July hopes for the former Triple Crown hero are very much alive.

Two three-year-olds, Surcharge (109) and Like A Panther (106), who is just outside the log’s top 18, might well give their older rivals something serious to think about if they are in the final line-up.

Turffontein hosts an eight-race Work Riders meeting on Saturday and there appears to be a few good bets on the card.

Tarry’s runner New Zealand can finally get his head in front in the sixth race following three visits to second box. He will be ridden by Joe Gwingwizha, who will be well aware that he faces a tough opponent in Francois Semela on Ezieza.

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