Rivals to be left Green With Envy at Durban July

Kannemeyer is looking for his fourth Durban July victory

There’s a well-known Christmas song which begins “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”. Obviously, those people have not experienced the thrill of the Hollywoodbets Durban July.

It also comes around just once a year and it’s a race that can electrify almost an entire nation.

This year is no exception and Saturday’s contest at Hollywoodbets Greyville will evoke every emotion you can imagine – in just over two minutes.

This year’s 12-race meeting will provide many opportunities for bettors. The two Grade 1 races – the R5- million Hollywoodbets Durban July over 2200m and the R1.5-million Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes over 1600m – are Hong Kong World Pool events, enabling punters to bet into massive pools.

There will be two BiPots, three Jackpots and R2-million carryovers on both the Pick 6 (likely pool R20 million) and the Durban July Quartet (likely pool R15 million). There is also a R500 000 carryover to Jackpot Three (Races 9 to 12) with the pool likely to reach R3 million.

Three-year-old Green With Envy currently tops the betting market at 9-2 and he should defy the weight of 56kg imposed upon him by the handicappers, who raised his merit rating four points after his narrow win in the Daily News 2000.

But this Dean Kannemeyer trained colt looks really special, and he is the one they all have to beat.

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Kannemeyer knows what it takes to win the Durban July as he will be looking for his fourth triumph. His first was in 2003 with Dynasty, then 2006 with Eyeofthetiger and again in 2015 with Power King.

Having been brought up in the racing world, he also knows a good horse when he sees one – and Green With Envy is a good one.

Craig Zackey will take the ride and he will be looking for his first win in this iconic race.

But while he realises the enormity of the task ahead, he does have full belief in his mount. “The horse is doing really well,” Zackey said on Thursday.

“I’m happy how his prep has gone. I was fortunate to do some work with him on Monday and his last bit of work this morning. I’m happy with him and proud of him and now I’m really looking forward to the race.

“I know it’s hard for a three-year-old carrying 56kg but he’s truly a smart horse and we’re still expecting a great, great performance from him.

“I believe he’s the best horse in the race and we’ll all know on Saturday.

“Obviously it’s going to be a messy race, the July always is. You need a lot of luck in running, but I have the horse to help me through and we’re all just very positive at the moment.”

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What this colt does have is an amazing turn of foot and he can move from last to first in a matter of strides.

Veteran jockey Piere Strydom rides last year’s runner-up See It Again and he believes Green With Envy is the horse they all have to beat.

“He has an unbelievable turn of foot. The way he’s been ridden in his last two at Greyville, he only has to be a couple of lengths closer coming into the straight and he should win easily,” said Strydom.

For Strydom, if one looks beyond the three-year-olds, See It Again is the horse to beat.

“He is the best older horse in the race.

“If he gets the run he had last time and he runs to his best form, he has a massive chance.”

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Then we have Royal Victory who has really come into his own this season with successes in both the Betway Summer Cup and the Premier’s Champion Challenge at Turffontein. He’s had a great prep and impressed at the gallops.

However, the best guide is to read jockey Muzi Yeni’s column on Saturday morning as he will provide the latest on Royal Victory.

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