(Photo : Gold Circle)
“GENES : VODACOM DURBAN JULY - Chasing History”
If Vodacom Durban July challenger, London Guest, wins the big race on Saturday, he will become the first horse to ever follow in the footsteps of both his sire and grandsire as a winner of Africa’s greatest horserace.
David Thiselton writes that London Guest’s sire, London News, trained by Alec Laird, won the July in 1996 and was himself the son of a previous winner, the 1987 winner Bush Telegraph, who was trained by Bert Abercrombie.
There have been a few July winning progeny of previous winners but the sequence has never before reached a third generation.
In 1911 Nobleman became the first and only ever two-year-old winner of the July and it was also the first time the progeny of a previous winner had won the race. His mother, Peerless, had won in 1903. Nobleman was ridden by Alec Laird, the father of record-breaking seven-time winning July trainer Syd Laird and grandfather of current trainers Alec and Charles Laird, who have each won one July.
In 1915 Winnipeg became the first horse sired by a previous winner, 1909 winner King’s Favourite.
C’est Si Bon, winner in 1954, put Sadri II into the record books as the only July winner to have sired two winners of South Africa’s premier horse race.