Named after the oil magnate who tried unsuccessfully to corner the world market in silver, Bunker Hunt can give punters a great run for their money in Saturday’s behind-closed-doors Vodacom Durban July at Hollywoodbets Greyville.   

Don’t just take this column’s word for it that the four-year-old can make his presence felt in SA’s most famous race. The important view is that of his trainer, Justin Snaith.

After last week’s final gallops, Snaith commented: “Bunker Hunt is a huge runner. He carries 55kg and — if Belgarion is theoretically the best weighted horse — then he is second best.”

Snaith is bidding for a fifth July winner and sends out a strong army, which includes favourite Belgarion, dual winner Do It Again, Silvano’s Pride and Miyabi Gold.

This is the first real grade 1 test for Belgarion, who is drawn wide. But his rider, Richard Fourie, knows how to win the race, having scored on Legislate (2014) and Do It Again in 2019.

Arguably the horse with the most going for him is 2019’s runner-up Rainbow Bridge. He has had a perfect prep, he is well drawn and will be ridden by a jockey who will win the riders championship by the same margin as Liverpool have won the Premier League.

However, Eric Sands’s charge is 5kg worse off with Bunker Hunt compared with the Sun Met, when Snaith’s runner was beaten by four lengths.

There has been ante-post support for Mike de Kock’s Aussie import Soqrat, who looks a serious player provided he does not run out of gas over the final 200m. The same remark applies to Queen’s Plate victor Vardy, who is trying 2,200m for the first time.

Turffontein trainer Joe Soma is confident of a big showing from Muzi Yeni’s mount, Got The Greenlight, but the colt was beaten in the SA Derby and some pundits feel this year’s three-year-old crop is below par.

Looking for an outsider? Well here are two viewpoints.

This column nominates 50-1 chance Tierra Del Fuego judged on his good third behind Hawwaam at Turffontein.

Bookmaker Lance Michael says: “I like the look of Twist Of Fate. Good jockey [Aldo Domeyer] and ran third from a wide draw last year.”

So even without a raucous crowd, we have an intriguing race. The totes are offering six places, and this column will be mortified if Bunker Hunt fails to make the first half dozen.

The winning owner will take home R937,500, which pales into insignificance against the £226,840 (R47.7m) that is up for grabs as first prize in Saturday’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in England.

Champion trainer Sean Tarry has a number of fancied runners in the supporting races and could saddle an early double with Caralluma (fifth race) and Ecstatic Green (sixth). Both will be ridden by champion jockey Lyle Hewitson.

Tarry sends out his champion filly Celtic Sea in the Garden Province Stakes and she is favourite to turn the tables on Majorca Stakes winner Clouds Unfold. This might not be a two-horse contest, with Sleeping Single, Ronnie’s Candy and Vistula bringing top form to the table.

If things do not go according to plan, the swinger coupling easy Vaal winner Golden Belle and Candice Dawson’s filly, Gallic Princess, could pay a good dividend in the ninth race.


4-1 Belgarion

5-1 Rainbow Bridge

15-2 Got The Greenlight, Bunker Hunt

11-1 Do It Again, Vardy

12-1 Soqrat

20-1 Golden Ducat

22-1 Twist Of Fate, Shango

33-1 Tierra Del Fuego

40-1 Others

Source: bookmaker Lance Michael



1. (14) Bunker Hunt

2. (2) Rainbow Bridge

3. (11) Tierra Del Fuego

4. (5) Soqrat


1. (13) Clouds Unfold

2. (7) Celtic Sea

3. (3) Sleeping Single

4. (12) Gabor


1. (5) Factor Fifty

2. (16) Silver Rose

3. (9) Dark Moon Rising

4. (7) Sunshine Silk


1. (1) Caralluma

2. (7) Delta Queen

3. (9) Maledimo

4. (10) Trickster


1. (2) Sovereign Spirit

2. (12) Pack Leader

3. (10) Perfect Tigress

4. (13) Tristful


1. (14) Vernichey

2. (8) Winter Stories

3. (12) Sweet Sensation

4. (4) Dandolo


1. (3) Ecstatic Queen

2. (4) Erik The Red

3. (8) Gold Season

4. (1) Fast Love


1. (5) Gallic Princess

2. (10) Golden Belle

3. (1) Cartel Captain

4. (3) BattleofTrafalgar

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