How important is a wide draw in the Vodacom Durban July?
This is always a point of discussion and this year is no different, as four of trainer Justin Snaith’s runners are drawn wide, including Belgarion (17) and Do It Again (18).
One jockey who knows what it takes to win the race and deal with wide draws is Piere Strydom.
“I’ve won the July four times and each time the scenario has been different,” he said.
“I led start to finish on London News, came from behind on Trademark and won on Pomodoro and The Conglomerate, from the widest draws of all.”
Two other horses who have won from the outside draw are Dynasty and Flaming Rock.
“Dynasty’s win from draw No 20 was remarkable as he raced wide and beat a top horse in Yard-Arm, who was my ride. I don’t know how he won, but he must have been a phenomenal horse,” he said.
“With Pomodoro and The Conglomerate I was lucky because when I hit the turn at the 1,600m, I had managed to overcome the draw.
“I got a good jump, took a straight line to the first bend and tried to place them without bustling them.
“They go very fast after the start to get positions and then start to ease back, and that’s when I managed to get them positioned.
“I was then racing quite handy, one off the fence, and could dictate from there.
“The horse on my inside was trapped on the rail and the other horses had to come around me. So, I was in charge at that point, controlling the race.
“I would imagine those with wide draws would attempt to ride the race as I did.”
He points out that in every big race, a jockey needs some luck.
“That is especially true of the July because Greyville is a tight track with too many runners. You can have the right horse but no luck and get beaten.”
Strydom doesn’t have a ride this year and his first choice is Rainbow Bridge. But he has respect for Bunker Hunt, Belgarion, Soqrat, and Twist of Fate.