This is the biggest betting day annually in South Africa and there’s unprecedented excitement because of a massive R3 million carryover to the Pick 6 pool on the Durban July race meeting.
Tote betting operator TAB estimates that the hype created by the huge carryover will result in a total record pool of R11 million.
Total tote betting turnover late yesterday was 21% more than at the corresponding time last year, a clear indication that today’s event is on track to smash all betting records.
This year’s Durban July is set to be one of the most hotly contested in the race’s long history and Mike Weare of Betting World said yesterday afternoon that there was money on a wide spread of horses.
“All the three-year-olds – Louis The King, Legislate, Rake’s Chestnut, Futura, Captain America and the filly In The Fast Lane – have been backed,” he said. “Among the older horses the most support is for Capetown Noir and Espumanti.”
SA Triple Crown winner Louis The King and Legislate, who is going for his fourth big-race win in succession, are currently disputing favouritism at around 4-1, with Rake’s Chestnut third favourite at 7-1, just ahead of Futura.
This season’s three-year-olds do appear to be exceptional, but they clash with the top older horses for the first time and it’s anyone’s guess whether they are superior or inferior to their elders.
It will come as no surprise if they dominate the finish, but the four-year-olds do look better-value bets at the current odds.
The pick of them could be two of the four fillies in the field – Espumanti, from the yard of champion trainer Mike de Kock, who is out to win the race for the fifth time, and Cherry On The Top.
Espumanti has improved significantly and has much in her favour today – a handy weight, a good draw and one of the best riders in the business in De Kock’s stable jockey Anthony Delpech. She is quoted at 12-1 and looks good for each-way value.
Cherry On The Top was the champion three-year-old last season when she became only the second filly to win the Wilgerbosdrift SA Triple Tiara.
She lost her way in the first half of this season, but recent efforts indicate that she’s back to her best. The worry is that she will get going too late in the short Greyville straight, but if the leaders are in her sights 200m out she’ll give the short-priced runners a fright. At 20-1 she looks a good-value each-way bet.
There’s live coverage on SABC 3 from 2.30pm.
– Follow The Citizen’s reporting team from the Vodacom Durban July on Twitter @CitiReporter.