The July In Jozi meeting is always fun and well attended so there should be a good atmosphere on course at Turffontein tomorrow.
The Vodacom Durban July will be contested by the best field seen in Durban for a long time and should be a thriller.
Hawwaam still has something to prove as this is the first time he will take on top class older horses, but he strikes as being something special and it speaks volumes that Anton Marcus chose him ahead of Rainbow Bridge. He has quirks and the noise on the day and the hustle and bustle of the race might get a reaction from him but hopefully it will not blunt his chief weapon, his exhilarating turn of foot. If he is within striking distance he can justify favouritism.
Last year’s winner Do It Again has developed into a magnificent specimen who just gets better and better and he will be a tough nut to crack. If he wins again, this time carrying topweight of 60kg, he can justifiably be called world class.
Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge, who is Hawwaam’s half-brother, also has an electrifying turn of foot and on pedigree will relish this trip. He also has his quirks but trainer Eric Sands said his sometimes nervous demeanour appears to be diminishing. He should be in the shake up from a good draw.
Twist Of Fate appears to have a lot of class and a big engine and has been prepared by a fine trainer. This R20,000 purchase is 2kg better off with Hawwaam for a 1,60 length beating and should be thereabouts, although he does have a tough draw to overcome.
Eyes Wide Open has come back to himself and has been looking in fine shape. Considering he beat Do It Again as a three-year-old at level weights in the Grade 1 Cape Derby and is now receiving 7kg he has to be a big runner.
It is tough to choose just one more for the all important sixth place as there are so many good horses involved.
However, the vote goes to the big-striding Head Honcho, who has enjoyed a good preparation and is probably continuing to improve.
It was tough to leave out Made To Conquer, Barahin, and Doublemint as well as three rank outsiders Lady In Black, Roy Had Enough and Camphoratus.
The Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes over 1600m is another away race to look forward to and Snowdance might upset Oh Susanna as she might well be effective running from the front. Front And Centre is also top class but due to her tendency to lug in will likely have to be dropped out from a wide draw before flying down the inside.
At Turffontein punters should get off to a good start in the first race over 1160m with Magic School, an impressive specimen who was unlucky last time. He should be too strong for this field.
Later in the eighth race Running Brave should have too much class over 1400m in an Assessment Plate and can be bankered.
The Sunday meeting at Turffontein sees some classy racing and particularly interesting is the return of the exciting prospect Buffalo Bill Cody. This horse has won all three of his races over a mile in comfortable fashion and can beat the classy Cirillo, who is not as well drawn. Soldier On is a useful sort whose form has been standing up well and he could fill third place.
By David Thiselton