Vodacom Durban July

VODACOM DURBAN JULY (GRADE 1) – R4,250,000 – 2200m – Hollywoodbets Greyville

1st R2,500,000, 2nd R800,000, 3rd R400,000 – July 6


       3yo b.g. by Twice Over – Sweet Virginia (Casey Tibbs)

       2nd dam: Millie Bovana (Royal Prerogative)

       3rd dam: Modern Millie (Oligarchy)

       Owners: N Jonsson, B Kantor and Late W J C Mitchell

       Bred by Northfields Stud (Pty) Ltd

       Trainer: S J Snaith

       Jockey: R Fourie

2.    Rainbow Bridge

       4yo b.g. by Ideal World – Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master)

       Owners: Mr and Mrs M L P Rattray

       Bred by Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein

3.    Twist Of Fate

       3yo b.c. by Master Of My Fate – Crescent Lily (Counter Action)

       Owner: River Palace Racing Syndicate

       Bred by Favour Stud

Then came: Eyes Wide Open, Miyabi Gold, Camphoratus, Roy Had Enough (Aus), Divine Odyssey, Doublemint, Barahin, Lady In Black, Head Honcho, Tilbury Fort, Made To Conquer, Legal Eagle, Return Flight

Non-runners: Hawwaam, Fresnaye, Zillzaal

Won by: longneck – 1.25 – neck

Time: 2-15,20

There was plenty of drama early on when favourite Hawwaam was withdrawn at the start after injuring himself in the stalls. The finish was just as dramatic, as Rainbow Bridge looked to have it sewn up until last year’s winner DO IT AGAIN came with a wet sail on the outside to nudge him in the shadow of the post. Justin Snaith’s four-year-old fully lived up to his name and became the first back-to-back winner since El Picha completed the double in the millennium year.

Last season’s champion three-year-old, the imposing bay never fails to catch the eye and boasts an enviable formline of seven wins and five places from 13 starts. Successful in three Gr1s this season – he also landed the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and last month’s Gr1 Gold Challenge – the gelding no doubt strengthened his claim to the Horse of the Year crown.

(For pedigree details, see Gold Challenge above)

JONSSON WORKWEAR GARDEN PROVINCE STAKES (GRADE 1) – R1,000,000 – 1600m – Hollywoodbets Greyville

1st R625,000, 2nd R200,000, 3rd R100,000 – July 6


      3yo b.f. by Captain Al – Ireland (Mark Of Esteem)

      2nd dam: Dear Celina (Roi Normand)

      3rd dam: La Belle Celina (Ghadeer)

      Owners: Mr A R and Mrs A B L Beck

      Bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein

      Trainer: S G Tarry

      Jockey: L Hewitson

2.   Oh Susanna (AUS)

      4yo b/br.f. by Street Cry – Sharp Susan (Touch Gold)

      Owner/Breeder: Drakenstein Stud

3.   Snowdance

      4yo b.f. by  Captain Al – Spring Lilac (Joshua Dancer)

      Owners: Drakenstein Stud and Late Mr W J C Mitchell

      Bred by Cheveley Stud

Then came: Temple Grafin, Vistula, Santa Clara, Front And Centre, Roy’s Riviera (Aus), Rose In Bloom, Being Fabulous (Aus), Elusive Heart, Twice As Smart, Desert Rhythm, Al Danza

Won by: 1 – neck – 2

Time: 1-36,38

Horse of the Year Oh Susanna was expected to dominate this Gr1 event, however, after having to switch for a clear run in the straight, she had to bow to her year younger rival, CELTIC SEA.

Sean Tarry’s blinkered three-year-old got first run on the favourite when she slipped through on the inside rail to take the lead in mid-straight and in a driving finish, held on for a cosy length victory.

This latest success, her sixth overall, came off a storming win in the 1200m Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint at Hollywoodbets Scottsville and proved that she is capable of staying the mile, notwithstanding two off-the-board efforts in the Gr1 Empress Club Stakes and Gr2 KRA Fillies Guineas prior to the Fillies Sprint.

Bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein, Celtic Sea races for Kentucky-based, Gainesway Stud master Anthony Beck and carries the silks made famous by his late father and former Highlands owner, Graham Beck.