VODACOM DURBAN JULY (Grade 1)
Greyville, Turf, 2200m
7 July 2012
1 - PIERRE JOURDAN
Trainer Gary Alexander’s charge ran second to Igugu in the Durban July last year. He has been a hard act to follow this season, winning the Charity Mile early in the campaign but running poorly in the Sansui Summer Cup and the Horse Chestnut Stakes. Showed signs of renewed enthusiasm when third to Variety Club and Castlethorpe (1kg better off) in recent 1600m Gold Challenge. Wide draw and big weight, but enters the reckoning.
Record: 21 runs; 9 wins; 9 places. Stakes R4,580,675.
2 - TALES OF BRAVERY
One of trainer Vaughan Marshall’s runners, his preparation has gone to order with a win over Chesalon (1.5kg better off) in the 1400m Drill Hall Stakes and a fourth behind Variety Club in the Gold Challenge to show from two runs in KwaZulu-Natal this season. Cherryripe now, but has a wide draw and might have stamina limitations, having placed only once in five runs beyond 1800m.
Record: 26 runs; 9 wins; 9 places. Stakes R1,351,770.
3 - CASTLETHORPE (AUS)
One of Mike Bass’ three runners, he ran his best race to date when second to 1.25 length winner Variety Club in the Gold Challenge over 1600m at Clairwood recently after which his merit rating was increased three points. Was hampered when 12th in this race last year under a lighter weight and from a much better draw. His overall form suggests he is better over shorter distances and others make more appeal.
Record: 20 runs; 7 wins; 6 places. Stakes R653,635.
4 - BEACH BEAUTY
Talented filly trained by Dennis Drier. Cleverly campaigned, she ran several good races in Cape features this summer and has done well in her two races so far this winter, going down 1.50 lengths to Princess Victoria over 1200m at Clairwood and then beating subsequent KZN Derby winner Master Plan in the Greyville 1900. Close between her, Chesalon and Solo Traveller on Greyville 1900 form. First time this far.
Record: 14 runs; 7 wins; 6 places. Stakes R1,120,850.
5 - CHESALON
This Mike Bass-trained runner has run well over 2400m before so he will stay this 2200m. Two promising recent runs, finishing a 1.75-length second to Tales Of Bravery (1.5kg worse off) in the 1400m Drill Hall Stakes and a 1.55-length third behind Beach beauty (1.5kg worse off) in the Greyville 1900. Jeff Lloyd returns from Australia to ride him and he is drawn midfield. Sound prospects of finishing in the placings.
Record: 15 runs; 5 wins; 7 places. Stakes R615,786.
6 - JACKSON
The champion three-year-old and many experts would rate trainer Brett Crawford’s runner a certainty if he had not drawn wide in the ballot for starting gate positions. Theoretically he has two lengths in hand over the rest of the field and should only have to run to form to win. But he will be racing against the best older horses for the first time and could easily run into traffic problems from No 16 draw. Worthy favourite, the one to beat.
Record: 7 runs; 5 wins; 1 place. Stakes R1,256,205.
7 - POLAR BOUND
The second runner from the Crawford stable, he will have to improve on his recent form if he is to make an impact. Never got into the race when downfield from a wide draw in the Greyville 1900 and then hung and had to be checked when sixth to Gold Onyx (2.5kg worse off) in the Cup Trial last time out. Has drawn well and has won at this track before, but tries further than 1900m for the first time and looks out of his depth.
Record: 20 runs; 6 wins; 6 places. Stakes R455,310.
8 - SMANJEMANJE
Tyrone Zackey’s charge sometimes pops up when you least expect him to, as in the Victory Moon Handicap and the London News Stakes this season. Has finished third in his last two runs, the first when beaten a length behind Europa Point after trying to make all in the President’s Champions Challenge and the latest when beaten three lengths by Eton Square (4.5kg worse off) in the Jubilee Handicap. Not out of it.
Record: 39 runs; 5 wins; 14 places. Stakes R996,700.
9 - ENGLISH GARDEN
Mike Bass’ charge finished a great third behind Igugu and Pierre Jourdan (0.5kg worse off) in the Durban July last year. Disappointing on the Highveld this autumn, but two fair preparatory races in Durban recently, beating Whiteline Fever (1.5kg better off) over the Greyville 1800m before finishing fast for third behind Gold Onyx (2.5kg worse off) in the 1800m Cup Trial. Could prove a profitable Eachway bet if he runs to form.
Record: 18 runs; 4 wins; 6 places. Stakes R2,077,340.
10 - TOP SELLER
The Cape Derby winner of January 2011 hails from the Vaughan Marshall stable. Hasn’t done that much racing since and might have been flat in his second run after a layoff when eighth behind Beach Beauty (1.5kg worse off) in the Greyville 1900 last time. Only 0.50 lengths behind Gold Onyx (3kg worse off) over 1800m before that. Choice of stable jockey and has claims, but not well drawn and has obviously had his problems.
Record: 17 runs; 3 wins; 8 places. Stakes R1,088,630.
11 - GOLD ONYX (NZ)
One of three runners from the Sean Tarry stable, he has recovered his early promise recently and has won three of his last four starts in good fashion, including trouncing stablemate Buy And Sell in an oddly run Cup Trial. Only seventh behind Beach Beauty (1kg better off) in the Greyville 1900 and has his work cut out at the weights. But he’s on a roll and has a good draw so it will be no surprise to see him do well.
Record: 24 runs; 6 wins; 4 places. Stakes R833,325.
12 - SOLO TRAVELLER
One of four runners from the stable of champion trainer Mike de Kock, he has been disappointing since winning the Guineas at Greyville last year and will be equipped with blinkers for the first time in an apparent bid to rekindle his enthusiasm. Did not do badly when fourth behind Beach Beauty (1.5kg worse off) in the Greyville 1900 and was striding short when seventh in the Cup Trial after that. Stablemates make more appeal.
Record: 20 runs; 5 wins; 10 places. Stakes R1,363,225.
13 - SAGE THRONE
Trainer Colin Scott has been campaigning this gelding in Durban and Johannesburg with some success. Finished fourth behind Europa Point in the President’s Champions Challenge over 2000m at Turffontein before finishing powerfully and failing by a neck to land the 2400m Lonsdale Stirrup Cup at Greyville. Weighted to turn the tables on Smanjemanje on Champions Challenge form and looks fair value at 33-1.
Record: 14 runs; 4 wins; 3 places. Stakes R392,400.
14 - POMODORO
Dead-heated for first with Royal Bencher in the SA Derby in April, but the Sean Tarry-trained runner was then somewhat disappointing in the Daily News 2000 in his first run at Greyville, where a never-nearer fifth behind Jackson (2kg worse off). Hampered late that day, but that was of little significance. Has the worst draw but is much better than his last run suggests and will be ridden by top jockey Piere Strydom. Can shape.
Record: 10 runs; 5 wins; 3 places. Stakes R1,369,250.
15 - ROYAL BENCHER
Trainer Alec Laird’s runner held on to share first prize with Pomodoro in the 2450m SA Derby at Turffontein in April, but then flopped in the Daily News 2000 in which he raced wide in a small field after a slow start and trailed in seventh behind Jackson (2kg worse off). May not be suited to Greyville and will have to make huge improvement on his last effort if he’s to shape in the toughest test of his career.
Record: 10 runs; 4 wins; 1 place. Stakes R768,275.
16 - VETTEL (ARG)
Hails from the powerful Mike de Kock yard and has landed two of his three wins over long distances, so this 2200m should be sharp for him. But he is 3.5kg better off with Jackson for a 3.75 length beating in the Daily News 2000 at this track last time and that effort brings him into the reckoning. Is much better drawn than Jackson and could make a bold bid with a light weight if he can break clear of the field at the top of the straight.
Record: 8 runs; 3 wins; 5 places. Stakes R384,650.
17 - GORONGOSA (IRE)
Another Mike de Kock runner, she has the best winning average of any runner in the line-up, having won nine of her 12 career starts including both her outings at Greyville. She is at her best over much longer distances, but if there is a strong pace and the race becomes a test of stamina it will be no surprise to see her challenging the leaders at the finish. Well drawn and a must for Trifectas and Quartets.
Record: 12 runs; 9 wins; 2 places. Stakes R846,611.
18 - ILHA BELA
Arguably the stable elect of Mike de Kock’s four runners, this highly rated filly placed in the first two legs of the Triple Tiara before crushing the opposition in the SA Oaks over 2450m at Turffontein in April. Then beaten four lengths by stablemate Viva Maria when odds-on favourite in the Woolavington 2000 at Greyville, but will be fitter now. Likes to race from off the pace so a wide draw should not prove disastrous and is expected to make a bold bid.
Record: 11 runs; 4 wins; 4 places. Stakes R921,200.
19 - WHITELINE FEVER
Sean Tarry gave him a confidence-boosting run in a Graduation Plate last month and he duly obliged over 1400m at Scottsville. Should have no problems with the distance in his first start beyond 2000m because he did finish second to English Garden (1.5kg worse off) over 1800m at Greyville and then a 4.50 length fourth behind Jackson (4kg worse off) in the Daily News 2000. No 1 draw and looks a lively contender at the weights.
Record: 11 runs; 3 wins; 5 places. Stakes R339,475.
20 - ETON SQUARE
Trainer Gavin van Zyl’s runner has raced only four times and has a mountain to climb here, especially because he is carrying 1.5kg more than should be the case in terms of merit ratings. Will also be racing at Greyville for the first time, but his trainer has a huge opinion of him and he is ideally drawn in No 5 stall in the starting gate. Will be ridden by top Cape jockey Glen Hatt and could shape if he’s as good as Van Zyl thinks.
Record: 4 runs; 2 wins; 2 places. Stakes R207,875.
Extract from Tab News