If a runner from Justin Snaith’s stable takes the winner’s sash in the R2m Vodacom Durban July at Hollywoodbets Greyville on July 3, the Cape-based trainer will make racing history.
The mid-40s conditioner would equal the 108-year-old record of Fred Murray who won SA’s most famous race four years in succession from 1910 to 1913.
It would equal the number of July wins by maestro Terrance Millard. Legendary trainer Syd Laird holds the record of seven victories.
In terms of a monopoly, trainers Snaith and Sean Tarry have just that with the two leading SA conditioners being responsible for a third of the 54 entries in this year's July.
When Gold Circle announced the nomination list it showed 11 horses from Snaith's stable and eight from Tarry.
Tarry and Snaith were again the dominant trainers last season — Tarry ending the campaign as champion with R17,1m in stakes with Snaith’s tally R14,4m. Studying the Snaith entries, he has a far stronger hand than Tarry who won in 2012 and 2013.
As far as media liaison is concerned, Snaith comes out on top. He also has a sense of humour. When asked in an interview for his favourite food, he replied “Mike de Kock”.
Snaith’s team is headed by last year's winner, Belgarion, Captain’s Ransom, Jet Dark, The Gatekeeper and dual winner Do It Again is rated a 16-1 chance in ante-post betting and may battle to land a third historic win.
Richard Fourie, Snaith’s stable jockey, is an astute young man and it is no certainty that he will opt for Belgarion who overcame the second-worst draw to win in 2020. The five-year-old gelding will have a lot more weight this time.
Perhaps Fourie’s choice lies between star filly Captain’s Ransom, if she is one of the acceptors, and the stable’s Cape Derby third The Gatekeeper.
Interestingly, The Gatekeeper — bred at Cheveley Stud — is a full-brother to 2014 victor Legislate, so Fourie will know the three-year-old is likely to stay the 2,200m trip. No surprise if he chose the son of Dynasty.
Rascallion, third behind Malmoos in the Concorde Cup and also third in the Cape Guineas, was this column’s early fancy but the jury is now out on Vaughan Marshall's colt following a below par performance at Scottsville.
A win in the Daily News 2000 would put the R350,000 buy back in the July picture and guarantee the Marshall inmate an invitation for the race.
Tarry’s eight entries are headed by five-year-old Cirillo but he was beaten nearly eight lengths by Rainbow Bridge in the Met and seems unlikely to turn the tables. Perhaps the stable’s best runner could be SA Classic fourth Flying Carpet.
De Kock has won the July four times and his three-year-old Malmoos, who runs in Saturday's Premier’s Champion Stakes, is the 11-2 favourite in latest betting.
However, De Kock has warned his star performer is no certainty to make the trip to KZN pointing out that the son of Captain Al has been on the go all year.
First declarations for the July — to be sponsored for the 20th time by Vodacom — are due on May 10 and the final field will be announced on June 22.
DURBAN JULY BETTING
(Supplied by bookmaker Lance Michael)
6-1 Got The Greenlight
10-1 Summer Pudding
12-1 Belgarion, The Gatekeeper
13-1 War Of Athena
14-1 Captain’s Ransom, Rainbow Bridge
16-1 Do It Again
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