One of the controversies surrounding this year’s Vodacom Durban July was resolved yesterday when Rabada was withdrawn from the R4.25 million race to be run over 2 200m at Greyville in Durban on Saturday.
This allowed first reserve Trophy Wife to join the final field.
Champion trainer Sean Tarry had criticised the Durban July selection panel for omitting his charge in the first place and choosing runners with lower merit ratings and mediocre form.
Rabada raced last on Sunday in the KwaZulu-Natal Breeders Million Mile at Greyville and the connections felt he had insufficient time to recover.
Trainer Michael Azzie said on Tuesday the decision whether Rabada would run in the Durban July had been left to the owners’ racing manager, Derek Brugman.
The horse is owned by Ingrid and Markus Jooste.
“Derek and the vets have been inspecting Rabada daily and he will let me know one way or the other whether the horse will run,” said Azzie at the time.
Trophy Wife is owned by Chris van Niekerk, who won this race in 2012 with Pomodoro and in 2013 with Heavy Metal.
Tarry also trains second favourite French Navy, also owned by Van Niekerk, and Samurai Blade.
The late change means that former champion jockey and current log leader S’manga Khumalo will have a ride in the Grade 1 race after all. He will be on Trophy Wife, now the second filly in the race.
he other is current 5-1 favourite Bela-Bela. The change did not affect the betting as Rabada had been quoted at 28-1 and Trophy Wife slotted in at the same price.