Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP
Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP

A huge turnaround in the betting on next Saturday’s Woolavington 2000 at HollywoodbetsGreyville has resulted in Paul Matchett’s filly War Of Athena being promoted to favourite for the grade 1 race.

From an opening price of 17-20, Justin Snaith’s star filly, Captain’s Ransom, is now second choice in the market with 17-10 available about the six-time winner.

This change will have punters speculating that the daughter of Captain Al — impressive winner of the recent WSB Fillies Guineas — may have contracted a bug that Snaith believes may have affected the recent below-par performances of some of his horses.

Snaith told the media: “Each carded horse has to pass a few tests otherwise we scratch.”

Of course, it could be the weight of money that has seen War Of Athena — among the entries for the Durban July — shorten so dramatically in the betting. She boasts an outstanding record with eight career wins.

Adam Marcus’s talented filly Princess Calla — beaten two lengths by Captain’s Ransom in the Guineas — has also shortened markedly in the Woolavington market. From an opening call of 9-2, the daughter of Flower Alley is now down to 19-10.

The fields for both the Woolavington and Daily News 2000 will be released by Gold Circle at about noon on Monday and it should confirm that the latter race will see an intriguing clash between two Cape-based three-year-olds, Linebacker and Kommetdieding.

Linebacker deserves his position as favourite following his victory in the WSB Guineas, but if comments on social media are any guide there are many fans who believe Kommetdieding — a hometown favourite beaten two lengths in the grade 2 race — can get his revenge.

The supporters of Kommetdieding point to the fact that the Elusive Fort colt had a troubled passage in the Guineas that was a big factor in his defeat.

Vaughan Marshall, who trains Linebacker, will also saddle Rascallion in the Woolavington and it has long been this writer's belief that the Cape Derby runner-up can get back in the July picture.

Snaith — R1.8m clear of Paul Peter — in the trainers championship  added to that tally when his three-year-old Hoedspruit upstaged his stablemate Warrior in last Saturday’s grade 3 Legal Eagle Stakes at Kenilworth.

The winner, bred at Cheveley Stud, is owned by Suzette Viljoen, who has been making waves in racing since becoming an owner two years ago. Hoedspruit, named after a town in Limpopo province, is a son of Legislate, winner of the 2014 Durban July.

• Hong Kong owner Koo Ming-kown has announced he will donate R1.25m to the Juglall family after the death of jockey Nooresh Juglall in Mauritius on May 15.

“I have spoken to Nooresh’s wife and told her about the owner’s generous donation and she is very, very grateful,” said jockey Karis Teetan, a close friend of Juglall. “Nooresh was a family man and he provided for his family as best he could, so I’m pretty sure this will be a big help”

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