Do It Again wrote himself into the record books as he became only the fourth horse in the 126-year history of the Vodacom Durban July to win back-to-back races, emulating El Picha at the turn of this century, Milisia Pride 1949/50 and Campanajo who won the first two running’s back in 1897/98?
It was a superb performance from a super racehorse who stamped himself as head and shoulders above his peers.
Justin Snaith declared his hand early and would not hear of defeat for his champion in the build-up. “He’s the best horse in the country at weight for age and now he’s shown that he’s the best horse in the country which ever way you look at it.”
Earlier in the week he declared, “I think 4/1 is a crazy price (about Do It Again). There is no ways he is a 4/1 shot in any race in South Africa you put him into. You can give him 65kg and he should be 2/1.”
Prophetic words as Richard Fourie gave him the perfect ride, staying out of trouble and giving his mount a clear run to the line to hold off the challenge of Rainbow Bridge with Twist Of Fate third and Eyes Wide Open fourth.
Mike Rattray, one of the doyens of South African racing, will have to wait another year for a win in the race he has most wanted to win. Rainbow Bridge was game in defeat but found one too good. “When a pressed the button I thought I had the race,” said jockey Gavin Lerena. “He ran all the way to the line but we just couldn’t get there.”
The race was not without drama. Favourite Hawwaam’s hot temperament is well documented and all seemed to be on track as he paraded without fuss. The last to be bundled into the starting stalls, he rushed the front gate and was release from his stall.
Anton Marcus was quick to jump ship and Hawwaam was backed out. It was evident to all that Hawwaam was feeling the effects of his antics and the course vet Roehann Sutherland had no choice but to withdraw him from the race. A clearly upset Sutherland said, “We are here to put on a show and entertain, but I had no choice.”
“It was the right decision,” said a sporting Mike de Kock post-race. “The best horse won and I hope this doesn’t make all the headlines.”
It was poignant win for owners Bernard Kantor and Nick Jonsson and Helga Mitchell, whose husband Jack having passed away a month or two back.
With under a month to go, in a relatively tight battle for the trainer’s championship, Sean Tarry extended his slender lead over De Kock and Snaith with victory in the Gr Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes as Celtic Sea gave Tarry back-to-back wins in the race. Redberry Lane gave current champion jockey Lyle Hewitson his first Gr1 victory as she touched off favourite Snowdance last year and yesterday he gave Celtic Sea another tremendous ride, shooting up the inside rail to hold off favourite Oh Susanna and the luckless Snowdance.
Earlier Tobie Spies showed why he is a master at preparing two-year-olds with a one-two in the Gr2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper. Cockney Pride caused something of an upset as t 18/1 shot was given a copybook ride by Craig Zackey. He tracked the early pace, took a split through the middle of the pack and never looked like losing in spite of the attentions of stable companion What You Are.
Not to be outdone, Sean Tarry emulated the feat in the Gr2 Durban Golden Horseshoe as the well fancied Eden Roc got the better of stable sibling Putontheredlight and Invidia.
By Andrew Harrison