vodacom durban july sangomaVodacom Durban July
“4 July 2009”

A festive Vodacom Durban July Gallops staged yesterday morning at Durban’s Greyville Racecourse brought out great weather, hot coffee and sticky buns but few sureties or revelations for the big race day.

Top turf writer David Thiselton reports that every one of the 16 challengers that galloped strode out nicely and, unlike last year, none of them could be eliminated from calculations on the basis of a poor workout.

David’s analysis is as follows :

The three visually most impressive gallops were arguably Pocket Power, Our Giant and Outcome.

Pocket Power’s superiority to the rest of the field was evident as he powered down the straight, hard on the bit, head bowed and striding out well under big race jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe. Pocket Power put in a very similar gallop to last year, finishing just a half-a-length or so behind his companion, which on this occasion was Nevvay.

Our Giant quickened well at the top of the straight and strode out very well with his head down as did the course specialist Outcome.

Other eye-catching gallops were put up by Smart Banker, River Jetez and Thandolwami.

Smart Banker quickened clear of his companion impressively and stretched out well all the way to the line.

River Jetez worked with Consensual, who had thrashed her on the cinders at Milnerton in her final serious gallop before the J&B Met. However, on this occasion River Jetez, who lead the pair into the straight, pulled further and further away from Consensual down the straight in effortless fashion.

Thandolwami wasn’t asked to do much but looked comfortable as he stretched out down the straight. He worked in blinkers but Craig Eudey later decided, after consulting with jockey Raymond Danielson, that the blinkers would not be used in the big race. Raymond Danielson reported that Thandolwami had switched off very well in the running, but the blinkers had made him a touch keen before the workout had begun.

Tropical Empire also impressed and looked to be enjoying himself, while London Guest strode out well and did just enough, as is his tendency, to keep his companion at bay.

The least appealing of the gallops was that of Meteor Shower, who was left in his companion, Diamond Quest’s, wake. He clearly does not have natural speed, but will stay every inch of the 2200m.

Likeithot did not stride out quite as well as his stable companions, but did little wrong, while Cape Town and Buy And Sell put up very good work.

Thundering Jet quickened well to join his companion Golden Parachute before the pair strode out well together to the line.

The three-year-olds, Big City Life, Forest Path and Zirconeum, all strode out well, but might have lost some fans simply because their youthful frames stood out when compared to the older horses. However, this is where the gallops can be misleading and a glance at the formbook, at least in the cases of Big City Life and Zirconeum, would restore confidence.

Kapil paraded in front of the grandstand. He jarred up in the Gold Challenge but has responded extremely well to treatment and is 100% sound. He is in full work on the sand but Stan Elley did not want to risk a grass workout.

Bouquet-Garni did not arrive at the course after refusing to load.

For those seeking a more definitive indication as to what the final result might be, the traditional Vodacom Durban July Gallops Sangoma was on hand to call on the ancestors for their predictions :

1st Number 3, 2nd Number 6, 3rd Number 7, 4th Number 17.