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If someone had told Durban July legends Syd Laird and Terrance Millard that one day the famous race would be fought out by two black jockeys, they would have looked at them as if they had just landed from Mars.
That, however, is very much on the cards in the Hollywoodbets-sponsored race at Greyville on Saturday with 36-year-old S’manga Khumalo booked for Sparkling Water and 35-year-old Muzi Yeni on Safe Passage.
Sparkling Water, one of four runners from Mike de Kock’s stable, was put forward as an early July choice back in February at 33-1 so readers who took that price are sitting pretty. Particularly if they took 5-1 a place.
Sparkling Water could give De Kock his third female winner of the race after Ipi Tombe (2002) and Igugu (2011) and Khumalo has elected to partner the filly in preference to Jet Dark.
Khumalo is one up on Yeni as he won the race on Heavy Metal in 2013, but Safe Passage looks to have had a perfect preparation and could see the 35-year-old levelling the score.
Linebacker has to be on everyone’s shortlist as a possible winner as the four-year-old bids to go one better than his second-place finish 12 months ago. It is an interesting call by Vaughan Marshall to fit the blinkers for the first time.
One horse suddenly on the radar is Aragosta and the prospects of the SA Derby winner have surely been enhanced by the booking of champion jockey-elect Warren Kennedy.
Some pundits and jockeys have voiced the opinion that stall one could be the “death knell” for the Rafeef gelding but expert James Goodman has an answer to that. “People seem to forget there probably isn’t a better jockey that rides Greyville than Kennedy.”
Richard Fourie rode Aragosta in the Derby and it would be interesting to know if — given the choice — he would now switch to the son of Rafeef. He will be on Pomp And Power, who has tons of ability, but just might boil over in front of such a large crowd.
Kommetdieding has 7kg more to carry than last year and a repeat win looks unlikely. He is not certain to beat home Do It Again, who is only a month away from his eighth birthday. It is interesting, though, that dual winner Do It Again has his fifth different jockey in his last seven outings — Aldo Domeyer will be doing the steering this time.
Jet Dark is a runner punters need to throw into their exotic bets because if the Queen’s Plate winner gets the trip one feels he will take a hand in the finish. The booking of Bernard Fayd’Herbe — chasing his third July win — is a shrewd move as there will be no dead weight.
Waterberry Lane falls into the same category and has stamina to prove, but he has a light weight and a favourable draw. Even so, one feels his sixth-place finish in the KZN Guineas was a below-par effort.
Owner Suzette Viljoen has enjoyed huge success in the sport in a short space of time and Hoedspruit could spring a surprise. His supporters can point to his being 5kg better off with Linebacker for a three–lengths beating in the Met.
Zapatillas’ dam, Moggytwoshoes, did not win further than 1,600m, which is a worry about his chances, while the best distance for Al Muthana has always looked in the 1,400m to 1,600m region.
In the final analysis, Sparkling Water gets the vote to beat Linebacker, Aragosta and Safe Passage.
Captain’s Ransom will be nearly everyone’s banker in the Brentford FC Garden Province Stakes, though last year’s winner, Zarina, might rise to the big occasion once again. Her trainer, Candice Bass-Robinson, was in hot form at Durbanville on Wednesday.
The racing grapevine is putting forward Bright Green as the right horse in the Golden Horseshoe, but Dean Kannemeyer’s youngster is drawn near the beach and swingers with better-drawn Imposing could be the best way to bet.
1 (12) SPARKLING WATER
2 (4) LINEBACKER
3 (1) ARAGOSTA
4 (10) SAFE PASSAGE
1st Race: (1) Butterfly Beauty (8) Canadian Summer (4) Clean Living (7) Miss Daisy
2nd Race: (10) Taikonaut (2) Now I Got You (12) Pure Maverick (1) Thymetoshine
3rd Race: (10) One Way Traffic (11) Airways Law (3) Flying Bull (6) Shango
4th Race: (8) Black Thorn (4) Salvator Mundi (10) Rex Union (1) Smoking Hot
5th Race: (9) Maharanee (4) Sweet Pepper (3) Bevies Delight (7) Ameena
6th Race: (1) Imposing (14) Bright Green (12) Laguna Verde (7) Grinkov
8th Race: (8) Captain’s Ransom (4) Zarina (3) Under Your Spell (10) Marina
9th Race: (12) William Robertson (1) Coin Spinner (6) Sound Of Warning (8) Socrates
10th Race: (6) Xavion (7) Warrior (3) Supreme Dance (1) Arctic Drift
11th Race: (3) Sunday Island (1) Grimaldi (5) Willow’s Wish (10) Snow Palace
12th Race: (7) Just Be Nice (5) My Cherie Amour (3) Lady Macbeth (10) Mel’s Princess
Durban July betting
(supplied by bookmaker Lance Michael)
3.75-1 Safe Passage
7-1 Sparkling Water
15-2 Pomp And Power
11-1 Do It Again
13-1 Hoedspruit, Kommetdieding
15-1 Jet Dark
20-1 Waterberry Lane
25-1 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.