They announced the final July field yesterday – and my big race ante-post bets are still very much alive.
In my column three months ago, I said back “Ten Gun” at 40-1 and 10-1 a place and also have a saving bet on Nightingale.
So – because Duncan Howells’ Aussie import won the Betting World 1900 – he was always guaranteed a place in the 18-runner line up.
Whether the gelding can win is open to question and I confess my place stake is four times that of my win bet.
Yet – as I stressed three months ago – he comes into SA’s most famous race a fresh horse. He bypassed both the Cape and Highveld seasons.
Now – in the next 10 days – I’ll be looking to put doubles together with Nightingale for – unlike one of her stablemates – she never runs a bad race.
She got many out of jail when winning the Klawervlei Majorca Stakes on Sun Met Day and she’s shown she can handle the tight Greyville track.
I really don’t know what to make of stablemate, Marinaresco. I crawled out of my sick bed to get to a bookies shop in Reigate (south of London) as I thought Bernard Fayd’Herbe’s mount was a “shooin” for the Cup Trial.
I suggested to a couple of local punters that they should take the Black Arthur-Marinaresco double.
An hour or so later one came over and said: “Hey, mate, maybe you should stick to soccer bets.”
If Marinaresco had been beaten a couple of lengths, then one could have accepted that. But last year’s July runner-up was seven lengths adrift at the end of the Cup Trial.
It will take a brave man to ignore the formbook. And – if he does win – the stipes will be wanting to have a word with Candice.
But the Vodacom Durban July is not the only attraction of July Day. Indeed some are saying there’s a stylish sextet who could very well steal some of the thunder from the day’s big event.
You see this particular sextet are female thoroughbreds and they’re all set to clash in the Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes, sponsored by Jonsson Workwear, at Greyville on July Day.
The six in question are “premier league” quality. They are Bela-Bela, Just Sensual, Star Express, Polyphonic, Gimme Six and Final Judgement.
After her Tibouchina Stakes win, Just Sensual looks certain to be sent off favourite and she deserves that position as she’s looked pretty special from day one.However, I’m going to take her on and my suggestion to this column’s readers that an Eachway punt on Star Express might put you in the payout queue.
Yes, I fully realise that the Justin Snaith inmate could only manage fourth behind Just Sensual in the Tibouchina, but she may fall into the same category as Black Arthur.
The filly may have needed that run and – after all – the Garden Province has been her objective, not the Tibouchina.
Bela-Bela’s switch to the Garden Province instead of the July is a boost for the race. Exactly a year ago, Anthony Delpech was telling everyone he thought she could give him his fifth July success, but she failed to feature in the finish and cost punters plenty.
It remains to be seen whether she can pick up the winning thread in the Garden Province. It was also a year ago that most pundits – including myself – pencilled in Polyphonic as the July meeting’s Pick 6 banker. We knew our fate early. Possibly, she could raise her game this time round, yet she may have to run the race of her life to get the better of Just Sensual, Bela- Bela or Star Express.
So the bet now is a win and place double (particularly the place) on Ten Gun Salute in the July and Star Express in the Garden Province.
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