Mike Moon
Horse racing correspondent
3 minute read
20 May 2022
1:15 pm

The case for Do It Again to do it again in the Durban July 

Mike Moon

If you fancy a horse for the 1900, you surely rate him better than 33-1 for the July. 

Do it Again will be going all out for a third Durban July win this year. Picture: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

If Do It Again makes history by becoming the first horse to win the Durban July three times a few people will be kicking themselves. Me included. 

Before the seven-year-old warhorse won the WSB 1900 at Greyville this past weekend, I pointed out that his 15-10 odds for that race were wildly out of synch with his 33-1 quote for the July. After all, the 1900 has always been a key preparatory race for the big one – and a key form pointer for punters. If you fancy a horse for the 1900, you surely rate him better than 33-1 for the July. 

That was the moment to plunge on Do It Again for the July. 

He duly won the 1900 and in double-quick time bookmakers hewed his July price to 12-1, some even to 10-1. For those of us who didn’t take the cue, it was a missed opportunity. But there’s nothing to say we can’t still back trainer Justin Snaith’s doughty charge – and there’s plenty of argument to suggest we should. 

Lost spark

Remarkably, the handicappers did not increase Do It Again’s merit rating after Saturday’s impressive performance, using their curious logic to decide he ran below his capabilities and leaving him on a mark of 126. 

That’s his lowest level since he claimed the 2019 July and was shoved up to an international significant rating of 136. 

Following that high, Snaith has revealed, Do It Again lost a bit of his spark. But there was still enough racehorse there for his connections to keep him in training and, indeed, challenging at the very top. He put up one of the best public gallops for the 2021 July and attracted a wave of wagering. Snaith murmured very positive things about his erstwhile champ at that time, saying he was just about back to his best. 

Many TV watchers – for the 2021 race was run without spectators – reckoned Do It Again was unlucky not to nail the elusive No 3 that day, having a troubled passage in finishing fourth to Kommetdieding. 

Soon thereafter he was less than a length adrift of Jet Dark in the Grade 1 Champions Cup, also at Greyville. Back home in Cape Town and following a nice long rest, the son of Twice Over started his build up to yet another season, which included a feisty fifth in the Cape Town Met.

Old fight

Freshened for Durban, he showed his old fight last weekend and was quickly scribbled onto every pundit’s July shortlist. 

On the first July log, published by operator Gold Circle this week, Do It Again sits at position No 8 and is the joint-fourth highest ranked entrant. This means he’ll probably carry something like the 57.5kg he lugged so willingly last year – and less than old foes Jet Dark (top of the log) and Kommetdieding (second). 

Snaith has a number of entrants in the July, including Jet Dark, 2020 July victor Belgarion and current 6-1 favourite Pomp And Power, the lowest-ranked horse on the “likely” list who has a golden ticket thanks to his Cape Derby triumph. When final declarations are made next month, the champion trainer’s jockey bookings will be closely watched to see where the stable choice might lie. 

Jockey options

Anton Marcus, who rode Do It Again to his 2018 July triumph, was back aboard for the 1900 win. However, Marcus has been the preferred option on well-backed Double Superlative, often dubbed Snaith’s 2022 “July horse”. 

Richard Fourie, Do It Again’s winning partner in 2019, is no longer numero uno in the Snaith setup but still gets a juicy bone thrown his way fairly often – most notably Pomp And Power. 

S’Manga Khumalo has been elbowing his way through the Snaith doorway and has done a superb job on the less-than-easy Jet Dark. 

Which jockey gets the “old man” and a chance at July immortality?