Justin Snaith will be a little closer to sorting out his contingent for the Vodacom Durban July after the races at Greyville tomorrow. Snaith has nine entered for the race come the first Saturday in July, three of those at the bottom of the log published by Gold Circle a fortnight back.
Currently, Doublemint is 16th and a guaranteed place for a run according to the first July log, with Magnificent Seven and Miyabi Gold two slots lower in what is a maximum field of 18.
All three are set to do duty tomorrow, Doublemint and Magnificent Seven in the Gr2 World Sports Betting 1900 and Miyabi Gold in the Listed East Coast Cup.
With the Vodacom Durban July in mind, there is a lot at stake for a host of runners, some borderline cases and others, almost certain of a place in the field, warming up.
Being a borderline case, Doublemint will cement his place with victory in the WSB 1900 and Snaith has booked master pilot Anton Marcus to do the job. Marcus partnered the colt in a 1400m spin at Greyville last week so will know exactly what he has under him and also what he is up against as there appears to be very little between Doublemint and Kampala Campari, although Andre Nel’s runner is not nominated for the July.
Double Mint was a neck clear of his rival in the Gr3 Peninsula Handicap and a similar distance ahead in the Sun Met. Doublemint is a little closer in the weights this time around so the race could pan out into a battle of wits between two of the best, Marcus and Bernard Fayd’herbe.
But there are others with fish to fry. The experiment with blinkers in the Sun Met did not work for Made To Conquer but he is still 12th on the July log after finishing second with Jeff Lloyd aboard last year and he galloped along with Doublemint on the course last week. A forward showing should keep him from slipping down the list.
An interesting runner is recent The Sledgehammer winner, Orpheus. His easy end-to-end victory is still under the microscope but his performance prompted a supplementary entry into the July on Tuesday.
Others that need good showings are former Cape Derby winner Eyes Wide Open, Dawn Assault, Magnificent Seven and the filly Fiorella.
Fiorella, down the field in last year’s July but a head back to Oh Susanna in the Gr1 Woolavington 2000, will need a similar showing if she is to make this year’s line-up. Duncan Howells has been at pains to point out that there have been no races over a suitable trip for his filly because of her high merit rating, so although she has the worst of the draw she cannot be written off.
Miyabi Gold, 18th on the July log, overcame heavy underfoot conditions in The Scarlet Lady at Scottsville before the meeting was abandoned but Sabina’s Dynasty was rattling home behind her and possibly put up the better showing.
The two meet again at level weights in the Listed East Coast Cup and considering that Sabina’s Dynasty was having her first run for Brett Crawford, one can expect a similar performance tomorrow where the extra 250m may swing things in her favour.
Possibly best bet on an otherwise tricky card is July entry Head Honcho in the Pinnacle Stakes, eighth race on the card. Although he has not run since the Sun Met where he looked a possible winner before being caught late by Rainbow Bridge and Do It Again, beaten less than a length, he looks a cut above this field in spite of the mile possibly being a touch on the short side for him.
Andre Nel made sure that this race held up for Head Honcho, saddling four of the seven runners, and even though he is up against course and distance specialist Matador Man and a lively Snaith runner in Platinum Prince, he should prove too classy.
By Andrew Harrison