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By Mike Moon

Horse racing correspondent

Rundown of the Durban July runners

The R5-million Hollywoodbets Durban July will be contested at Greyville racecourse on Saturday 6 July.

With South Africa’s biggest horse race just days away, here’s a quick assessment of the 18 runners that will be in action at Greyville on Saturday.

(Number and draw, name, jockey, trainer, betting odds on Tuesday 2 July):

1 Royal Victory (Muzi Yeni) Nathan Kotzen 10-1

Hometown horse ridden by hometown lad. They’d be very popular winners. Decent chance.

2 Barbaresco (Gavin Lerena) Johan Janse van Vuuren 20-1

Dark horse, despite light-grey colouring. Named after an Italian red wine, named after Barbarians who sacked Rome. In other words, he could be trouble for the establishment.

3 Without Question (Rachel Venniker) Justin Snaith 25-1

Carries the first woman to ride in the July. Good jockey, good horse, without question. But there are no “ladies first” manners here.

4 Future Swing (Richard Fourie) Justin Snaith 6-1

Record-breaking jockey in compelling form. Well-weighted four-year-olds are hard to ignore in the July, but this one hasn’t bumped the best yet.

5 Green With Envy (Craig Zackey) Dean Kannemeyer 9-2

The long-time favourite and arguably the country’s best three-year-old, with an enviable record. Obvious choice for the tipsters.

6 Shoemaker (Diego de Gouveia) Mike de Kock 40-1

The shoes would need to be jet propelled.

7 Aragosta (Marco van Rensburg) Mike de Kock 40-1

The master trainer has had many better July hands down the years.

8 Purple Pitcher (Philasande Mxoli) Robyn Klaasen 20-1

Owned by the colourful Stinky Pooe, this colt, named after a flower, has done everything asked of him. Might help push the pace up front and is upset material.

9 Winchester Mansion (Kabelo Matsunyane) Brett Crawford 17-1

Defending champion. Carries more weight this time but has been coming into form lately. Place chance.

10 See It Again (Piere Strydom) Michael Roberts 9-2

Runner-up in 2023, denied by a couple of kilos and a photo-finish pic. But he is the classiest runner in the field and will surely deliver a big punch for the turf legends in his corner.

11 Oriental Charm (JP van der Merwe) Brett Crawford 8-1

Likely to be the hare. But can he hold off the hounds? Unlikely.

12 Son Of Raj (Calvin Habib) Tony Peter 20-1

Fair form but he would be the granddaddy of a shock winner.

13 Meridius (Anthony Mgudlwa) Tony Peter 50-1

A villain in the Marvel comics. That’s his role here, too.

14 Master Redoute (Corne Orffer) Andre Nel 33-1

A bit scary.

15 Cousin Casey (S’Manga Khumalo) Sean Tarry 20-1

Promising youngster but lost his way. Rekindling form in a new yard. Top trainer-jockey combo, but he’ll have his work cut out to beat some of these.

16 Double Superlative (Daniel Muscutt) Justin Snaith 33-1

Surprise 2024 Met winner. Was retired to stud, but returned to training to muddy the July waters. Doesn’t appear to have had enough prep.

17 Flag Man (Serino Moodley) Gareth van Zyl 12-1

Joker in the pack. Came from obscurity to second in the Daily News 2000 – and a 34-point merit-rating hike. Eye-catching public gallop. Watch out!

18 Future Pearl (Grant van Niekerk) Justin Snaith

Champ stayer, so being drawn on the beachfront is not a problem. Was off the boil but bounced back with good win recently. Can’t be ignored.

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