The view from the grandstand at Greyville
By Michael Clower 6:00pM 1 JUL 2016
Preview: South Africa Saturday 3.20pm BST
Greyville: Vodacom Durban July (Grade 1 Hcap) 1m3f, turf, 3yo+
BELA-BELA (Justin Snaith/Anthony Delpech) has been well supported and victory would make her the sixth three-year-old in eight years to win South Africa’s most famous race and the first filly to score since Igugu in 2011.
Delpech, bidding for a record fifth win, said: “Igugu was the best filly I have ridden but this could be the second best. I always had a question mark in my mind about whether she would stay because she has so much speed and then she won the Woolavington. I said then to Justin ‘If you are going to run the filly in the July I am going to ride her.'”
Snaith, hoping for his third July win in nine seasons, also runs the Canon Guineas winner Black Arthur (Dougie Whyte), Cape Derby winner It’s My Turn (Richard Fourie) and Dynamic (Lyle Hewitson). He said: “Any one of the four can win. It’s just a question of how the race pans out for them.”
Traditionally the 18 runners go hard early as the jockeys vie for position and then the pace slows, invariably producing a fast finish and a string of hard luck stories.
No horse has won with more than 59.5kg (9st 5lb) but there has been sustained support for the 60kg (9st 6lb) topweight French Navy who now heads the market and ran an eye-catching third in the mile Gold Challenge here three weeks ago when his trainer warned beforehand that it was a prep run.
Durban-born 13-time Hong Kong champion Whyte was to have ridden Triple Crown winner Abashiri (Mike Azzie/Karl Zechner) until he found he was unable to reach Durban until mid-morning. Connections then reinstated Zechner.
Course winner Solid Speed (Dean Kannemeyer/Stuart Randolph) has been well backed and represents the combination that won with Power King 12 months ago but Marinaresco (Mike Bass/Grant van Niekerk) has drifted from 6-1 to 12-1 following his poor draw.
Also on Saturday
Greyville: Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+ f/m 5.35pm GMT
Cape Fillies Guineas winner Silver Mountain (Mike Bass/ Bernard Fayd’Herbe) suffered early interference when beaten little more than a head by Alexis (Brett Crawford/Corne Orffer) in the seven furlong Tibouchina here three weeks ago and has been backed to reverse the form.
Assistant trainer Candice Robinson said: “She was badly squeezed shortly after the start and nearly fell. She ended up at the back and chasing wide before the turn.”