Track And Ball yesterday cut Do It Again from 5-1 to 3.85-1 clear second favourite for the Vodacom Durban July. Hawwaam still heads the market but he has been eased from 16-10 to 2.1-1 while Rainbow Bridge is out from 5.25-1 to 6.25-1. Other major layers have done much the same although at least one is still offering 5-1 about Do It Again
Punters are now weighing up whether to take advantage or whether to wait, and indeed whether Do It Again’s chances three weeks on Saturday have actually improved as a result of Saturday’s performance. History is all against last year’s winner and there is more to it than simply no horse succeeding in winning the country’s greatest race twice since El Picha at the turn of the century.
In truth, the Rising Sun Gold Challenge has been a poor guide to the July. Since Flaming Rock won both races back in 1991 only one horse has won the Gold Challenge and the July in the same season and that was the dead-heater Dancer’s Daughter 11 years ago. Possibly significantly both horses were trained by a Snaith. But in addition the July winner has not even run in the Gold Challenge in nine of the last ten seasons.
Do It Again will need to overcome the dreaded second-run-after-a-rest syndrome and apparently also temperament problems that were revealed for the first time on Saturday – Justin Snaith: “I was very nervous. We had a few hiccups in the parade ring and I could see his head was starting to turn. He was getting annoyed.” Snaith had even taken the precaution of flying in the famous horse whisperer Malan du Toit from Cape Town (“and thank goodness we did”).
And those whose price has lengthened? Well, Rainbow Bridge would surely not have been beaten anything like the official length and three-quarters had Anton Marcus not been forced to switch as he was making his run while the supremely talented shadow of Hawwaam hovers over the race like a colossus. His price will surely shorten if Mike de Kock is given the green light.
By Michael Clower