Securing a berth in the 18-horse field for this year’s Grade 1 R2-million Vodacom Durban July will be a scrap up until final acceptances on Monday 21 June, with 54 names on the list at the first entries stage this week.
All the country’s big guns have been entered for South Africa’s most famous horse race and it will be a game of chess for trainers as they try to make sure of a July gate and at the same time protect their merit ratings.
The July will be run at Hollywoodbets Greyville over 2200m on Saturday 3 July.
Rainbow Bridge, a touch disappointing last year when sixth but the recent winner of the Cape Town Met, will almost certainly top the handicap and will be back for another tilt, all being well.
Trainer Eric Sands has also nominated stable companion and half-brother Golden Ducat, fourth in last year’s race.
Last year’s runner-up Got The Greenlight will be out to go one better for Joey Soma and extract revenge on the winner Belgarion, also among the nominations and one of 11 entries from the Justin Snaith yard.
The four highest rated fillies are also entered, namely recent Grade 1 HSH Charlene Empress Club winner and last year’s Equus Horse of the
Year Summer Pudding; facile Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara heroine War Of Athena; Captain’s Ransom, winner of both the Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas and the Grade 1 Majorca Stakes, and Running Brave, second to Summer Pudding in the Empress Club and the Grade 1 Gauteng Summer Cup. Other notable female entries are last Sunday’s WSB Scarlet Lady winner She’s A Keeper and the highly rated Princess Calla.
Master trainer Mike de Kock has indicated that Triple Crown winner Malmoos may not take his place in the July, but the colt is among the entries, along with the cream of the country’s sophomore males. De Kock has also entered Barahin, who is on the comeback trail after being winless since his triumph in the Grade 1 Emperors Palace Charity Mile back in November 2019.
Snaith’s highest-rated three-year-old, Jet Dark, winner of the Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate beating Rainbow Bridge, has been entered along with three-year-old stable companions Hoedspruit, The Gatekeeper and Sachdev.
Unbeaten Grade 2 Politician Stakes winner Kommetdieding, trained by father and daughter combination of Harold Crawford and Michelle Rix, is already based at Summerveld in KwaZulu-Natal and could have his first outing in the province the Grade 2 WSB Guineas on Saturday 2 May.
Vaughan Marshall has entered Cape Derby winner Linebacker and Derby runner-up Rascallion, while fellow Capetonian Dean Kannemeyer has entered Cape Guineas champ Russian Rock.
National champion trainer Sean Tarry has entered eight runners and Johan Janse van Vuuren’s three entries include the progressive
Argentine import Puerto Manzano.
In all, this year’s Vodacom Durban July field could stack up into one of the strongest in many a year. – Gold Circle
First entries for the Grade 1, R2-million, 2200m VODACOM DURBAN JULY (horse, trainer, merit rating):
AFRICAN NIGHT SKY Justin Snaith 107
ATYAAB Zietsman Oosthuizen 115
AZORES Dean Kannemeyer 107
BABY SHOOZ Peter Muscutt 96
BARAHIN Mike de Kock 119
BELGARION Justin Snaith 130
BLACKBALL Gavin van Zyl 110
CAPTAIN’S RANSOM Justin Snaith 126
CIRILLO Sean Tarry 120
CROWN TOWERS Justin Snaith 115
DIVINE ODYSSEY JA Janse van Vuuren 110
DO IT AGAIN Justin Snaith 129
DOUBLEMINT Justin Snaith 118
DR DOOLITTLE Paul Peter 105
EXPRESSFROMTHEUS Stuart Pettigrew 118
FLYING CARPET Sean Tarry 108
FULL BLAST Michael Miller 86
GOLDEN DUCAT Eric Sands 128
GOT THE GREENLIGHT Joe Soma 124
HOEDSPRUIT Justin Snaith 108
JET DARK Justin Snaith 130
KOMMETDIEDING HWJ Crawford/M Rix 117
LEGITIMATE Dean Kannemeyer 101
LINEBACKER Vaughan Marshal 115
MALMOOS Mike de Kock 125
MARCHINGONTOGETHER Gavin van Zyl 106
MATTERHORN Alyson Wright 100
NETTA Paul Peter 102
PACK LEADER Alec Laird 109
PRINCESS CALLA Adam Marcus 118
PROMISEOFAMASTER Candice Dawson 101
PUERTO MANZANO JA Janse van Vuuren 110
RAINBOW BRIDGE Eric Sands 134
RASCALLION Vaughan Marshal 111
RUNNING BRAVE Fanie Bronkhorst 119
RUSSIAN ROCK Dean Kannemeyer 114
SACHDEV Justin Snaith 108
SECOND BASE JA Janse van Vuuren 116
SEEHAAM Sean Tarry 107
SHAH AKBAR Sean Tarry 108
SHANGO Sean Tarry 116
SHE’S A KEEPER Gareth van Zyl 90
SILVER HOST Justin Snaith 110
SOVEREIGN SPIRIT Candice Bass-Robinson 124
SUMMER PUDDING Paul Peter 129
SUPER SILVANO Brett Crawford 104
THE GATEKEEPER Justin Snaith 110
TIERRA DEL FUEGO Sean Tarry 116
TREE TUMBO Sean Tarry 109
TRIP TO AFRICA Duncan Howells 101
TRISTFUL Tony Rivalland 113
WAR OF ATHENA Paul Matchett 122
YOUCANTHURRYLOVE Fabian Habib 112
ZILLZAAL Sean Tarry 116