Durban July winners back in action but may have new jockeys
Marcus is injured and will not ride Do It Again while Belgarion jockey Fourie will partner Crown Towers
Two Vodacom Durban July winners, Do It Again and Belgarion, are scheduled to make their first appearances since the Cape Met when they contest Sunday’s WSB 1900 at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
Do It Again, winner of the 2018 and 2019 Julys, was beaten five lengths by Rainbow Bridge in the major Cape race at the end of January. Belgarion, successful in 2020 and a year younger than Do It Again, was beaten a length and three quarters in the Kenilworth race.
No surprise then that Belgarion has been priced-up the short-priced favourite at 11-10 with 5-1 on offer for six-year-old Do It Again. What is unexpected is that a local website has Justin Snaith’s stable jockey Richard Fourie down to ride Sledgehammer Stakes winner Crown Towers and not Belgarion.
Though this has yet to be confirmed, it could be because Fourie is contracted to ride for owner Nic Jonsson. This might result in Belgarion going out from his short price.
This season’s leading trainer will definitely need to find a new rider for Do It Again as his regular pilot Anton Marcus is sidelined after a knee op.
Both Belgarion and Do It Again are easy to back for this year’s July with Gauteng bookmaker Lance Michael — the former is a 10-1 chance in the antepost market while Do It Again is quoted at 16-1.
The Snaith stable has announced that star three-year-old filly Captain’s Ransom will not run in the July. They stated on their website, “In the light of transparency, and with antepost betting, connections felt they would withdraw her early”.
Now the big question is whether this season’s other star three-year-old filly War Of Athena will accept for the July 3 race? She has already proved one of the bargain buys in the sport in the past decade.
Owners Roy Wentzel and his wife, Dr Rose Waterman-Wentzel, paid just R30,000 for War Of Athena whose eight wins have included the Triple Tiara. They have known Paul Matchett since his early days as a trainer in Zimbabwe.
Pundits point out that War Of Athena ticks two important boxes for the July — she is likely to carry a light weight of about 52kg and will have no trouble staying the 2,200m trip.
However, Matchett may have to find a new jockey for his star performer as her regular rider, Muzi Yeni, seems unlikely to desert the ruling favourite Got The Greenlight.
Meanwhile, legendary US trainer Bob Baffert finds himself in hot water after his Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance. At a media conference, Baffert said: “This is the biggest gut punch I’ve had for something I didn’t do.”
Baffert was immediately suspended from making entries at Churchill Downs. A media release said “it will not tolerate failure to comply with rules and medication protocols. If the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner.”
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