If your Vodacom Durban July bet goes “up the swanee”, don’t panic — there is a damsel coming to the rescue in the form of three-year-old filly Captain’s Ransom.

“Without doubt, Captain’s Ransom is the best bet on the 10-race card. Her form is impeccable and the Garden Province has always been her mission,” Gauteng bookmaker Lance Michael said on Tuesday.

Is he concerned about the filly’s wide draw? “Not in the least. Richard Fourie knows the Greyville track like the back of his hand. His last two July wins are proof of that,” he said.

However, Michael realises the Justin Snaith inmate faces a tough rival in War Athena and sustained support for Muzi Yeni’s mount has displaced Paul Matchett’s filly Captain’s Ransom as favourite.

Suzette Viljoen — a relatively new addition to the owner ranks — has seen her shrewd buy win six of her seven races, and win, lose or draw the North West province resident knows she has got one of the best thoroughbreds in the country. However, because of Covid-19 restrictions she will not be present at the Durban track.

On to the Durban July and Michael is in the corner of Vaughan Marshall’s runner Linebacker, the 9-2 second favourite. “His preparation seems to have gone without a hitch and I believe he can achieve what Legislate did in 2014 by winning the Cape Derby, KZN Guineas, Daily News and July,” said Michael.

He nominated dual winner Do It Again and Got The Greenlight as the dangers to Linebacker—  the former is attempting to become the first horse to win the race three times.

Asked whether there is a horse Michael is keen to lay and his immediate answer was: “Yes, Rainbow Bridge. He’s now six years old and no horse of that age has won since Beau Art in 1980.”

July betting has been open for a couple of months and Michael has laid Nexus at a big price. “Of the outsiders, a win by him wouldn’t be good news but I don’t see it happening.”

The five-year-old, one of four Snaith runners and the mount of Craig Zackey, is on offer at 50-1 but may end up paying more on the tote.

Michael nominated Kommetdieding as the “best outsider” but the popular Cape horse hardly falls into that category as he is a 11-1 chance in the market. Gavin Lerena will have to overcome the worst draw on the Elusive Fort colt.

In a media release, Gold Circle announced: “On course attendance at all race meetings from June 28 until further notice will be limited to essential personnel: trainers, jockeys, grooms, NHA [National Horseracing Authority] staff and Gold Circle staff required to ensure each meeting can proceed.”

“No owners, Gold Circle members or box/suite holders will be permitted access to Hollywoodbets Greyville or Scottsville racetracks until further notice.”

For owners with runners in the Durban July, the level 4 lockdown means they could miss the moment of a lifetime. The chance of leading in the winner of SA’s most famous race does not come too often.


(Supplied by bookmaker Lance Michael)

5-2 Got The Greenlight

9-2 Linebacker

5-1 Rainbow Bridge

8-1 Rascallion, Do It Again

10-1 Belgarion

11-1 Kommetdieding

25-1 She’s A Keeper

35-1 Crown Towers

40-1 Sovereign Spirit

45-1 Cirillo

50-1 Nexus

66-1 Johnny Hero

70-1 Shah Ahbas, ExpressfromtheUS

80-1 Matterhorn, Running Brave, Tristful


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