Owners Markus and Ingrid Jooste won their first Vodacom Durban July last year when The Conglomerate beat home Marinaresco.
The Australian-bred son of Lonhro is back to defend his title in the R5.25-million race over 2200m at Greyville on 1 July, one of two horses running in the name of Jooste’s Mayfair Speculators (Pty) Ltd.
The other representative is three-year-old Edict Of Nantes, winner of two Grade 1 races – the Investec Cape Derby at Kenilworth and Daily News 2000 at Greyville.
Joey Ramsden trains The Conglomerate who will be ridden this time by Callan Murray, who tweeted that he was “Very excited to be flying home next week” to ride the gelding.
However, what is significant is that Mayfair Speculators’ retained jockey, Anton Marcus, has chosen to ride Edict Of Nantes – and get down to 54kg to ride the Brett Crawford-trained colt.
“I am extremely happy where both of them are right now,” Derek Brugman, nominee for Mayfair Speculators, said yesterday.
“They are both in an excellent space right now.”
As far as The Conglomerate is concerned Brugman would not be surprised to see the gelding pull off the double.
“He won it from draw No 20 last year and this time he is drawn No 3, which is effectively No 2 as the second reserve runner, Nebula, is drawn there at the moment.
“Things worked out well for him last year but you can take nothing away from the horse. He seems to come well at this time of the year. Right now he is sound and happy but in this race luck can sometimes play a bigger role than ability.”
Edict Of Nantes did not have good fortune when the draws were made and will have to jump from barrier No 13. However, if Brugman is accurate in his assessment that the three-year-olds, as a whole, could be have 2kg to 3kg on their older rivals that could count in favour of the Count Dubois colt.
“I’m not saying they should have merit ratings of 120 or that a bunch of Sea Co ages, I’m talking purely on handicapping.”
He has looked at Gold Standard and now-retired William Longsword as a guideline. “Gold Standard ran fourth in the Sun Met (beaten 2.80 lengths by Whisky Baron) and was just 0.50 lengths behind William Longsword in the Cape Guineas.
“As a population the threeyear- olds have been rated too low. If they had to run against the older horses on a regular basis at those weights I think the threeyear- olds will beat the older horses most of the time.
“Both our horses are well and it is now in the hands of the racing gods.”
Marinaresco carries top weight of 60kg and will need to improve on g his last performance in which he ran a 6.35-length 11th behind Captain America in the Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge. Bernard Fayd’Herbe takes the ride for the Candice Bass-Robinson yard.
Based on their run in the Daily News 2000 there should be little to choose between Edict Of Nantes and A Sahem. Just 0.50 lengths separated the pair at the finish and Sean Tarry’s charge is now 0.5kg be better off . Al Shame, however, will jump from barrier No 1. Piere Strydom has won the Durban July four times and the last two – Pomodoro and The Conglomerate – had to do it from No 20 draw. This year he rides It’s My Turn for the Justin Snaith yard and once again will have to use all his experience to get his mount over from No 17 draw.
It’s My Turn is well weighted and will carry the same weight as last year when he finished fourth, just 2.5kg behind The Conglomerate.
The Betting World 1900 is always seen as a good pointer to the Durban July and winner Ten Gun Salute will have plenty of supporters. Trainer Duncan Howells always said we would only see the best of his charge as a four-year old and that could well be the case. Muzi Yeni takes the ride.
FINAL FIELD FOR THE R4.25-MILLION VODACOM DURBAN JULY GRADE 1
OVER 2200M AT GREYVILLE ON SATURDAY 1 JULY
1 9 MARINARESCO C L Bass-Robinson B Fayd’Herbe 60.0 115
2 16 FRENCH NAVY S G Tarry L Hewitson 57.5 110
3 4 MASTER SABINA S J Snaith) 57.5 110
4 20 BRAZUCA J A Janse van Vuuren G Lerena 56.5 108
5 19 KRAMBAMBULI S J Snaith A Domeyer 56.0 107
6 7 SARATOGA DANCER D C Howells C Zackey 56.0 107
7 3 THE CONGLOMERATE J Ramsden C Murray 56.0 107
8 17 IT’S MY TURN S J Snaith P Strydom 55.5 106
9 5 TEN GUN SALUTE D C Howells M Yeni 55.5 106
10 6 NIGHTINGALE C L Bass-Robinson A Delpech 55.0 105
11 8 BLACK ARTHUR S J Snaith G van Niekerk 54.5 104
12 13 EDICT OF NANTES B Crawford A Marcus 54.0 107
13 1 AL SAHEM S G Tarry S Khumalo 53.5 106
14 10 MR WINSOME D Kannemeyer W Kennedy 53.5 102
15 15 ELUSIVE SILVA S J Snaith R Fourie 53.0 101
16 14 PAGODA G V Woodruff C Maujean 53.0 101
17 11 TILBURY FORT S G Tarry G Cheyne 53.0 100
18 12 SAFE HARBOUR S G Tarry N Juglall 52.0 103
19 18 HORIZON C L Bass-Robinson Reserve 1 53.0 100
20 2 NEBULA B Crawford Reserve 2 53.0 101
Same Trainer:(1,10,19) (2,13,17,18) (3,5,8,11,15) (6,9) (12,20)