Three-year-olds head the charge to impress as Vodacom Durban July contenders when Champions Season opens at Greyville in Durban on Friday, May 3, promising an exciting opening to one of the world’s greatest horseracing festivals.
Six of the 13 runners in the R600 000, Grade 2 KRA Guineas are entries for Africa’s greatest race on the first Saturday in July including top Derby performers Charles, that finished second for trainer Brett Crawford in the premier three-year-old classic, the Gr1 Cape Derby at Kenilworth, and Samurai Warrior from the Weiho Marwing yard that won the Gauteng version, the Gr1 South African Derby, at Turffontein.
The KRA Guineas and the R500 000, Grade 2 KRA Fillies Guineas open the campaign for three-year-olds in the three months of Champions Season 2019 and feature prominently on the programme hosting the R500 000, Grade 2 Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes where sensational Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge from the Eric Sands stable opens his campaign for the Vodacom Durban July.
The Ideal World gelding is one of two July entries in the Drill Hall and has some competitive opposition to deal with including the exciting son of former July winner Pomodoro, Cirillo, from the Sean Tarry stable that ran a good second to the exciting Mike de Kock stable inmate Soqrat that won to Horse Chestnut and before that finished second to July winner Do It Again in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate. Tarry has opted to take on the older horses in this race instead of challenging his fellow three-year-olds in the KRA Guineas.
An exciting acceptor for this 1 400m event is the smart daughter of Dynasty, Lady In Black, from the Dennis Drier stable. She was second in the two premier Cape filly clashes, the Paddock Stakes and the Majorca Stakes and, having beaten Horse Of The Year Oh Susanna at level weights in the Cape before that, she is a special individual and worth following.
Top of the card for the KRA Guineas is Soqrat who will be joined by one of De Kock’s seven Vodacom Durban July entries, Alyaasaat, that needs to make a better impression than he has in his recent performances while Bunker Hill – fourth in the Investec Cape Derby – will carry the flag for the Justin Snaith stable. Crawford sends out Jamaica Handicap winner Princess Irene as well as Cape Fillies Guineas winner Front And Centre in the KRA Fillies Guineas with the latter having run third behind Clouds Unfold in the Majorca Stakes. This pair will face strong opposition from the likes of Running Brave, Silvano’s Pride and Nafaayes.