Most competitive field in years for Durban July
The Vodacom Durban July panel on Tuesday announced one of the most competitive fields for some years, to go to battle over 2,200m at Greyville on July 7.
The 18 runners to go to post include many top performers in SA’s important races — such as winners of the Premier’s Champion Challenge, the Sansui Summer Cup, the Cup Trial, World Sports Betting 1900, the Daisy Guineas and Daisy Fillies Guineas, the Jubilee Handicap, Lonsdale Stirrup Cup and South African Oaks.
Having drawn favourably in the middle of the field at No10, the ante-post favourite African Night Sky shortened in the betting from 18-10 to 16-10, to give trainer Justin Snaith his third winner in SA’s flagship race. Snaith will have a busy day with five runners and while his filly Star Express drew just inside African Night Sky in box 9, Elusive Silver (14), Do It Again (16) and Made To Conquer (12) will have to come from wide draws.
Made To Conquer, the horse visiting jockey Jeff Lloyd hopes will give him his first July success after a record nine third places from 26 rides, has shortened from 12s into 10-1 with lots of sentiment around for SA’s former multiple champion jockey.
Ruling champion trainer Sean Tarry’s runners did not fare too well. His trio of Liege (18), Matador Man (15) and Tilbury Fort (20) will all need some extra luck in the running.
Trainer Mike Azzie was happy, however, with his draw of 2 received for former Triple Crown winner Abashiri, who has signalled a return to his best and will have the services of Piere Strydom.
The official and compulsory public gallops at Greyville for the July runners will take place from 7am on Thursday, with horses still stabled out of the area having to complete a filmed and timed gallop, which will be aired on Tellytrack on Thursday.
A race meeting at the Vaal will follow the gallops and former champion S’Manga Khumalo looks set for a good afternoon.