Probably the most popular bet on Vodacom Durban July day is the quartet on the main race where punters need to forecast the first four horses past the post in the correct order.
The pool on Saturday is expected to top R16 million so if you catch it right you will earn enough to buy more than just a pie and coke.
Justin Snaith, who saddled the first three past the post last year, saddles last year’s winner DO IT AGAIN (5/1). Although he shoulders top weight his form is impeccable and from a good draw he should be right there. He is second favourite in the ante-post betting and Justin Snaith is supremely confident. Mike de Kock saddles two runners, ruling ante-post favourite Hawaamm and BARAHIN (7/1). The latter is off the minimum mark for a three-year-old colt and is probably still under the radar as far as the handicappers are concerned. He came from a long way back to win the Jubilee Handicap and he has won at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
RAINBOW BRIDGE (7/1) has had the ideal preparation and this race has been his specific target since the day he was bought by Mike Rattray after the winning the Sun Met. He has done everything right for Eric Sands and a win will not be out of turn. MADE TO CONQUER (20/1), another Snaith runner, was second last year and carries the same weight this year. He has been catching the eye of late and jockey Mark Khan is confident of a big showing. EYES WIDE OPEN (14/1) has come to hand of late and beat Do It Again in the Cape Derby last season. Here he is very well weighted in comparison to Do It Again but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since their meeting in the Derby.
HAWWAAM (22/10) is all the rage and beaten only once in his career. There is no doubt that he is a top contender and is well in at the weights with a good draw. One concern is his temperament. He can be difficult in the preliminaries and a big crowd could upset him. He also has an inside draw in what is invariably a rough race which could set him off. That said, he was perfectly behaved when winning the Daily News 2000. LADY IN BLACK (75/1) is a smart filly who is well in at the weights. Trainer Dennis Drier is supremely confident that she will run a big race. “I’m not sure if she can beat the boys but she will be right there,” he said at the gallops. “She’s been crying out for this trip.” TWIST OF FATE (16/1) was runner up to Hawaamm in the KRA Guineas and is now 2kg better off with the ruling favourite. Trainer Joey Ramsden won this race with The Conglomerate from 20 draw so knows what it takes to win this race.
For my money the bulk of the quartet will come from the top seven in the betting with HEAD HONCHO (28/1), LADY IN BLACK (75/1), MADE TO CONQUER (20/1), LEGAL EAGLE (33/1) and DOUBLEMINT (33/1) runners that could make the first four.
Remember that you can always take a percentage should your combinations exceed your budget.
By Andrew Harrison