Sport » Horses
All the talk about boat races in Durban this weekend has nothing to do with aquatic sports, but rather about equine action at Greyville. “Boat race” is horse racing lingo for a “two-horse race”, a contest in which only two of the runners are reckoned to have any chance of winning.
The term comes from the annual Oxford-Cambridge universities rowing race, where there are only two competitors. At Greyville today, there will be plenty of combatants in every race – and there’s the rub. Champion jockey Warren Kennedy was quoted this week saying he believed the Champions Cup was indeed a boat race between his mount, Rainbow Bridge, and regular adversary, Do It Again.
Kennedy expressed confidence Rainbow Bridge would reverse the Durban July order with Do It Again. The former finished sixth behind winner Belgarion in the July, while Do It Again was third. The jockey’s rationale is that Rainbow Bridge was short of a competitive outing when he tackled the July, he now has a slight weight advantage and the 1 800m of the Champions Cup will suit him better than 2 200m.
However, Do It Again is a mighty champion and his July effort was heroic. It could be argued he, too, needed better preparation. The bookmakers’ odds reveal they also see this as a two-horse affair, with the opposition easy to back at double-figure odds.
The trouble is that the hurly-burly of close-quarters galloping can throw up surprises. Golden Ducat, fourth in the July, Cirillo, third in this race last year, and Crown Towers, a well-backed favourite last time out, look the likely dangers. Punters wary of an unpleasant surprise might also want to include 33-1 shot Ikigai in their bets.
The day’s headline event, the WSB Gold Cup, is also a boat race according to the pundits – with 2018 winner It’s My Turn and up-and-coming stayer Marchingontogether the only two worth considering. But endurance events like this 3 200m are notorious for bombs dropping.
Master trainer Geoff Woodruff’s two challengers, Sunshine Silk and Dharma, may be upset material. Similarly, champion trainer Sean Tarry’s Shenanigans and Before Noon are decent performers at lengthy odds. And Piere Strydom, aboard Imperial Ruby, is more than able to plot the downfall of a favourite or two. – firstname.lastname@example.org
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