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By Mike Moon

Horse racing correspondent

Durban July: Warm sunshine but heavy weather for punters

Record Pick 6 pays out R372,173 as long-shots disrupt best-laid betting plans.

A capacity crowd of 50 000 gloried in sunny weather, colourful fashion and thrilling racing at Greyville on Hollywoodbets Durban July day but the race results were not quite as friendly.

A number of long-shots blasted carefully laid betting strategies into the nearby Indian Ocean.

In the Grade 1, R5-million Durban July itself, South Africa’s premier horse race, the first four past the post – Oriental Charm, Cousin Casey, Royal Victory and Flag Man – started at odds of 10-1, 25-1, 10-1 and 14-1 respectively.

ALSO READ: ‘Flawless ride’ by JP won Durban July for Oriental Charm

That Quartet bet paid a handsome R24 359 – from a pool of about R12-million.

Race 4, the DStv Gold Vase, was the first leg of a record R20-million Pick 6, but live tickets were sparse after the horses had completed the 3000m marathon. Stablemates Madison Valley and Shoot The Rapids were first and second at matching odds of 16-1.

When the Pick 6 was concluded in Race 9, the dividend had climbed to a whopping R372 173. Three second favourites won three legs, but another grenade landed in Race 8 when 14-1 shot Humdinger grabbed the prize.  

The honours were fairly evenly split between the leading racing centres on Hollywoodbets Durban July day at Greyville on Saturday.

Africa’s greatest race went to a Highveld-prepared horse of a Cape Town trainer, under a Cape-based sometime Joburg jockey! A Gauteng runner was second and KZN horses third, fourth and fifth.

The main supporting feature, the Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes, was won by Humdinger from master trainer Mike de Kock’s Randjesfontein yard in Midrand.

ALSO READ: Colour and local heroes as Durban July gallops off

The Grade 2 Post Merchants trophy is on its way to Cape Town in the care of Milnerton trainer Lucinda Woodruff, whose very first Greyville raider, Café Culture, had too much speed for his rivals in the 1200m dash.

Local KZN practitioners will have been delighted with their haul from the day – a much better return than has been customary from the Durban July in recent years.

Trainer Dennis Bosch got the ball rolling with his four-year-old gelding Diani in Race 2, which was followed by neighbouring Summerveld resident Cape Eagle winning the Grade 3 Splashout 2200.

Then Frank Robinson led in the Exacta in the DStv Gold Vase – Madison Valley and Shoot The Rapids – before Barend Botes cheered home his smart juvenile filly in the Golden Slipper.

ALSO READ: Rachel Venniker making Durban July history in ‘just another race’

The home team were back in the winner’s circle after Race 10, with Mike Miller-trained Narina Trogon having left rivals trailing in a listed handicap.

Thankfully, the lights stayed on as the meeting galloped on into the evening. Memories of 2023 were put well aside. On that day, an unexplained load shedding fiasco brought a premature end to the July fixture – with three races abandoned and hundreds of millions in wagering turnover forfeited.

The brightly lit “tent town” corporate entertainment circus, on Royal Durban golf course in the centre of Greyville, was in full party swing – with the last couple of races thundering around the big bash.

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