The July: sweet dreams for Marshall but not Muzi Yeni
The jockey might yet switch mounts for the big race on July 5
A trainer with sweet dreams and a jockey with a nightmare. That was the possible scenario for Vaughan Marshall and Muzi Yeni when they retired to bed on Saturday night.
After a 1-2 finish by Linebacker and Rascallion in the Daily News 2000 at HollywoodbetsGreyville, Marshall, who turns 70 in August, has two aces in his hand for the Vodacom Durban July on July 5.
As regular readers of this column will know, this writer has been expressing the view that Rascallion is the big long-shot for the July (plenty of 33-1 available last week) and now the gelding has put his hat firmly in the ring.
Linebacker always looked the right horse for Saturday’s grade 1 win after his success in the WSB Guineas and the son of Captain Of All has a bright chance of giving Marshall and jockey Grant van Niekerk their first July triumph.
The nightmare for Yeni is this: his July mount, Got The Greenlight, has the lead with 100m to run but is collared in the shadow of the post by War Of Athena, a filly he has partnered to six consecutive wins.
Of course, it is not out of the question that Yeni might switch mounts as it seems likely Paul Matchett will let the daughter of Act Of War take her chance in SA’s most famous race.
Interviewed after Saturday’s Woolavington 2000, Matchett said: “We had a plan today and it worked out nicely — she’s one in a million. We’ll make a decision about the July in the next few days.”
Many racing fans were in the corner of Kommetdieding in the Daily News, but jockey Sihle Cele had every chance on his mount and had to settle for third place. If the colt runs in the July, he looks unlikely to beat the Marshall duo.
If they accept, there is little chance of The Gatekeeper (beaten five lengths) or Copper Mountain (beaten four lengths) tasting July glory, though the latter’s stablemate Second Base did not run badly finishing fifth, two lengths behind the winner.
Lyle Hewitson’s mount, Shah Akbar, was sent off at 50-1 but stayed on resolutely in the straight to secure the fourth cheque of R37,500 for his connections.
Bookmakers’ reaction to Saturday’s results were to clip Linebacker’s July odds to 4-1 and the Marshall inmate is now co-favourite with Got The Greenlight. War Of Athena has predictably shortened to 15-2.
Kommetdieding is now out to 8-1 with Rascallion available at 14-1. One bookmaking firm is offering evens for the latter to finish in the first six — punters should have their maximum and even get a loan from their bank manager if necessary.
Earlier in the afternoon, Marshall and Sean Veale had tuned up for the Daily News by capturing the grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup with four-year-old Black Knap.
A two-time winning son of Dynasty, Black Knap had finished a close second behind Crown Towers (and in front of Rascallion) in April’s Sledgehammer Stakes at Scottsville. The gelding fought on gamely in the closing stages in Saturday’s 2,400m marathon to hold off the favourite Matterhorn.
More good news for Business Day followers. In Friday's column, it was recommended that the fourth race runner Top Me Up Holly was worth “a serious each-way punt”.
The filly duly arrived in good style. After opening at 16-1, she shortened to start at 10-1 (only R6.90 on the tote). There is more to come from this well-related daughter of Master Of My Fate.
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