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Despite solid support for Safe Passage and Pomp And Power in the antepost market, bookmaker Lance Michael says the older horses will come out on top in Saturday’s R5m Durban July.
“We are seeing plenty of bets for Safe Passage and Richard Fourie’s mount Pomp And Power, but my view is the winner will come from an older runner — Linebacker ticks a lot of boxes and can give Vaughan Marshall his first July,” said Michael.
Michael confirmed he has laid a decent bet on Astrix at odds of 70-1, but believes the best outsider is 2020 winner, Belgarion, the mount of Piere Strydom. “Belgarion has had a good prep, but his big weight is a worry.”
Two other runners Michael is opposing are Al Muthana and Queen’s Plate winner, Jet Dark. “In my book, both could have stamina limitations.”
Michael adds that those punters wanting to get off on the right foot on Greyville’s 12-race card should support Strydom’s mount, Miss Daisy, in the first race. The daughter of Crusade boasts two wins and three places from her five starts.
There’s an eight-race programme at Turffontein on Thursday and though he doesn’t train the gelding Corné Spies will be interested to see how Castletown fares in the fifth race,
Castletown ran third behind Spies’s three-year-old William Robertson last time out and that horse has an important date in the grade2 Post Merchants at Greyville on Saturday.
Castletown, a R500,000 buy as a yearling, is a three-time winner and finished fifth behind July favourite, Safe Passage, in the Dingaans in November.
Sean Tarry’s four-year-old, Bowie, looks certain to pose a big threat to Castletown, particularly as he cast a show in his latest outing when fourth behind Indlamu.
Keagan De Melo rides Waterberry Lane in the July and his mount, Ultra Quick, rates an each-way chance from a favourable draw.
Leading owner Suzette Viljoen is set for a big day on Saturday with Hoedspruit sporting her familiar red-and-pink colours in the July and Captain’s Ransom, whom most pundits will regard as a banker bet in the grade1 Garden Province Stakes.
At Turffontein, Fanie Bronkhurst saddles Viljoen’s two-year-old, Mo Jive, in the second race, and the son of Royal Mo can leave the maiden ranks.
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren will saddle two July runners on Saturday, Puerto Manzano and Second Base, and he’ll be hoping to win the first race at the city track with his two-year-old filly, Gobsmacked.
The daughter of Querari justified favouritism on her debut winning in facile fashion by three lengths. Her main danger will be Mike de Kock’s runner Tayooba.
• Durban-based jockey, Serino Moodley, will replace Rachael Venniker on Red Saxon in Saturday’s Durban July.
Venniker was injured in an accident at Greyville on Monday. She sustained concussion and has been ruled out of the race.
1st race: (1) Gobsmacked (7) Tayooba (2) Gimme The Flame (5) On The Guest List
2nd race: (1) Mercantour (2) Ridgerunner (9) Nyali Beach (6) Dungeons
3rd race: (6) Arilena (5) Red Hot (7) Always Better (2) Full Go
4th race: (9) Mo Jive (10) Twice The Storm (1) Allaroundtheworld (2) Gimme Royalty
5th race: (2) Castletown (1) Bowie (4) Ultra Quick (3) City By The Sea
6th race: (6) Last Cheer (4) Code Zero (5) Let There Be Light (7) Cap Estel
7th race: (4) Hollywoodbound (1) Ululate (2) Anne Boleyn (10) Wokonda
8th race: (1) Hotchiwitchi (5) Halloween (2) Princess Philippa (7) Toto’s Dream
DURBAN JULY BETTING
4-1 Safe Passage, Linebacker
13-2 Sparkling Water
15-2 Pomp And Power
10-1 Do It Again
12-1 Aragosta, Hoedspruit
15-1 Jet Dark
16-1 Waterberry Lane
22-1 Al Muthana
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.