Justin Snaith achieved the most dominant finish in Vodacom Durban July history last season and his filly Miyabi Gold was the first of this year’s July entries to put up her hand when winning the Listed Scarlet Lady over 1750m at Scottsville on Sunday under Richard Fourie.
There were a number of July entries engaged in the Sledgehammer, a race which was scheduled to follow the Scarlet Lady, but it was postponed until next Sunday due to unsafe conditions around the turn caused by steady rainfall.
Miyabi Gold has one big factor in her favour as a July candidate and that is she is by Champion Stallion Silvano. The latter has a superb record in the July, siring four winners, Bold Silvano (2010), Heavy Metal (2013), Power King (2015) and Marinaresco (2017). Furthermore in 2015 he sired the first three past the post, an unprecedented feat.
Miyabi Gold ran off a 105 merit rating on Sunday, which fortunately put her at the top of one of the merit rated bands under the conditions of the race. She is typical of a Silvano filly in that she has strengthened and matured as a four-year-old. From a handy position she stayed on well in the straight to win by a cosy one length. Sabina’s Dynasty made a fine debut for the Brett Crawford yard, running for the first time in the Ridgemont Stud colours, who are new part-owners. She ran on strongly from off the pace for second and is one to follow. The talented Folk Dance bounced back to form in only her second attempt at a trip beyond a mile. She appeared to relish the rain softened ground and finished a 2,60 length third. She is trained by Paul Peter, who previously trained Sabina’s Dynasty.
Prolific Durban-based owner Nick Jonsson owns Miyabi Gold. Last year Jonsson part-owned the one-two in the July and the runner up, Made To Conquer, had started his SA Champions Season campaign with an easy victory at Scottsville, so perhaps history will repeat itself with Miyabi Gold. The filly enjoys Greyville having finished a 2,25 length fourth to Oh Susanna in last year’s Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 and then following that with victory in the Grade 2 Kuda Gold Bracelet over 2000m on Gold Cup day. In December she gave the useful Fresnaye 2kg in the Grade 3 WSB Victress Stakes over 1800m at Kenilworth and was beaten into second by only 1,50 lengths. She followed that with a disappointing run in the Grade 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes, beaten 8,1 lengths by Oh Susanna and she was also unplaced in the Grade 1 Bidvest Majorca Stakes over the too sharp 1600m. However, she proved on Sunday she is thriving in Durban and appears to be coming into her own.
Her current odds July odds with Track And Ball are 60/1.
Snaith and Fourie had earlier combined to win with Jonsson’s first-timer Miss Florida. This two-year-old Captain Al filly has speed and class and pulled away to win a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1000m by a comfortable 2,10 lengths, despite being green.
The other feature run on the day was the Non-Black Type Highland Night Cup over 2400m and this also saw success for Silvano, who sired the first two past the post. The Andre Nel-trained Silver Rose won by a comfortable two lengths under Gareth Wright from the Snaith-trained Strathdon. There was a promising third-place finish in this race by the Gareth Van Zyl-trained Noble Tune three-year-old gelding Paths Of Victory and he is going to be one to follow over staying trips.
Dennis Drier’s two-year-olds must always be noted at this time of the year as he has a magnificent record in the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion. His Captain Al colt Cartel Captain will almost certainly be a contender in that race at the Festival Of Speed Meeting on May 25, having come from off the pace in the first race over 1000m on Sunday with long strides to win in impressive style on debut under Sean Veale. Drier had a treble on the day, also winning with In The Stars under Veale and Cabo Da Cruz under Gavin Lerena.
The Robbie and Shannon Hill yard recently clinched their first Grade 1 win with Camphoratus and they have a promising two-year-old in Visionaire gelding Into The Future, who was an easy winner on debut in the second over 1200m.
On Friday Snaith won the Listed East Cape Oaks over 2000m at Fairview with Drakenstein Stud’s Dynasty home-bred Madonna, who was ridden by Ryan Munger, and she will now be on her way to join Snaith Summerveld’s Champions Season string. The Woolavington 2000 is likely her chief target.
By David Thiselton