There was little change in the betting market for next Saturday’s Durban July after the official gallops at Greyville Racecourse on Thursday. The biggest crowd in years turned out for the festive tune-up event, but the action on-course didn’t set off a rush to the bookmakers.
That’s not to say the action wasn’t engaging and impressive. Indeed, almost all the horses worked around the Greyville sward looked in top nick and stirred expectation for a momentous day on 2 July.
The consensus seemed to be that defending Durban July champion Kommetdieding put up the best gallop of the morning, for trainer Michelle Rix and under the hands of big-race rider Gavin Lerena.
All of trainer Mike de Kock’s quartet – race favourite Safe Passage, sole filly Sparkling Water, Al Muthana and Aragosta – were adjudged to be not far behind.
Two-time July winner Do It Again had pundits purring, too.
But punters spent more time tucking into the early-morning coffee and buns than clicking up their betting sites.
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To be fair, the July public gallops seldom provide major revelations. The horses are on a knife-edge in terms of timing of their preparation for South Africa’s premier race and trainers will not allow any histrionics. The most watchers can learn is perhaps from a below-par effort here and there.
In that sense, second favourite Linebacker did not have people babbling excitedly, while Hoedspruit and Pomp And Power had a few brows furrowing.
The aforementioned Aragosta has been the horse on the move in recent weeks, shortening from 20-1 to 14-1. Others attracting support have been last-year’s runner-up Linebacker and long-time “talking horse” Hoedspruit.
All of Safe Passage, Pomp And Power, Do It Again and Kommetdieding have drifted ever so slightly.
BETTING FOR HOLLYWOODBETS DURBAN JULY
4-1 Safe Passage
6-1 Sparkling Water
7-1 Pomp And Power
13-1 Do It Again, Hoedspruit, Kommetdieding
15-1 Jet Dark
20-1 Zapatillas, Waterberry Lane, Al Muthana
55-1 Puerto Manzano
66-1 Red Saxon, Astrix
75-1 Flying Carpet
90-1 Second Base