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Trainer Vaughan Marshall will be delighted with Silver Operator’s win in Saturday’s Drill Hall Stakes at Hollywoodbets Greyville — a 6-1 winner for Business Day — but has to be concerned about the comeback run of leading Durban July candidate Linebacker. 

Last year’s July second was having his first run since the Met, and was entitled to be “ring rusty”. However, most pundits were surprised to see the four-year-old finishing in ninth place over six lengths behind his stablemate.

Silver Operator, given a perfect ride by Richard Fourie, finished the best in the grade 2 event to chalk up the sixth win of his career.

Russian Rock was also returning from a break so Dean Kannemeyer will be pleased with his effort. A favourable draw certainly helped his chance. Both the winner and runner-up were bred by Klawervlei Stud.

Paul Peter — more than R4m clear of Justin Snaith in the trainers championship — added another R40,000 to his tally of prize money with another well-drawn runner Smorgasbord finishing third.

Another July entry, Jet Dark, never got a blow in from his wide gate, but he was making significant late progress and finished four and a half lengths behind Silver Operator.

It was a good meeting for Richard Fourie. After partnering Expeditioner to an easy win in the second race, he proceeded to get an excellent tune out of Pomp And Power who finished a creditable third in the WSB Guineas over 1,600m.

Winner of the Cape Derby in February, the son of Vercingetorix put his hat firmly in the July ring and might well be Fourie’s July mount as he bids to win the famous race for the fourth time.

Full marks to trainer Brett Crawford who had Zapatillas in great shape for this grade 2 contest with Louis Mxothwa pulling out all the stops to edge out the highveld raider Supreme Warrior.

The ASSM Racing Syndicate will be delighted with the result as they bought Zapatillas’ full-brother for R400,000 at the recent National Yearling Sales in Germiston.

There was a big betting move for Waterberry Lane in this race with the stablemate of Cosmic Highway being heavily backed to start at 33-10. The gelding did not feature in this column’s selection (well beaten in the Cape Guineas) and jockey Warren Kennedy had to settle for sixth place.

Champion trainer Justin Snaith will be happy with the performance of his July entry Double Superlative who caught the eye by finishing fifth a length and a half behind Zapatillas. The Cape Guineas winner had the worst draw in the 14-strong field.

Mike and Adam Azzie have always maintained that Supreme Warrio, another son of Vercingetorix, is a top-class three-year-old. Their opinion was vindicated with Calvin Habib so nearly landing a feature race double.

In the Fillies Guineas, Habib continued his successful partnership with Sean Tarry’s talented filly Under Your Spell who looked the proverbial penalty kick after her second behind Princess Calla in the Emperor’s Club Stakes.

This race followed the form book with Supreme Quest taking second place for the Corné Spies stable with Glen Kotzen’s daughter of Jackson Kailene finishing third.

Bred by Summerhill Stud, Under Your Spell is now a six-time winner from 12 starts and added R218,750 to her bankroll.

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