Counting down to the Durban July, hopefully with some winners first.

The more I cover South African racing the more I fall in love with the place, though as we are in the middle of the high season the top class competitive races just keep on coming thick and fast, as we start the final countdown for the biggest race on the South African calendar – the Durban July at Greyville on Saturday the first of July and once again, I hope to be  reporting from there, covering all the action all the colour – and trying to get myself invited to an after racing party or two (of course).

carry on alice
Carry On Alice – boosts the form of the NAP today.

As I write the various horses are jockeying for position at the head of the ante post market but I reserve judgement with regard to my selection until a lot nearer race time though rest assured I will be nailing my colours to a mast or two in advance and you will be the first to know.

Before then Greyville put on a superb card this Saturday with ten races from 11:30 to 17:00 inclusive, two of them Listed, plus a Grade Three and  a Grade Two so we are talking about a serious days entertainment. Cloudy but dry weather is currently forecast so the surface should be absolutely perfect by race day, with no excuses for anyone, though that includes me of course and builds up the pressure when it comes to trying to find us all some winners.

Sean Tarry looks all set to dominate the opener for two-year-olds with all the early money for both Code Writer (Bernard Fayd’Herbe) and the once raced Rockin Russian who seems to be the choice of S’manga Khumalo. A daughter of Seventh Rock she won over a furlong shorter at Turffontein on her only run to date by a length from the more experienced Let It Flow who franked the form with a win next time out, and as she ran on strongly that day and has an extra 200mtrs to race over now, a big run is eagerly anticipated

smanga khumalo
S’manga Khumalo – rides Rockin Russian in the opener.

Alistair Gordon is not a trainer I can remember writing about before to be honest, but he has a good looking son of Querari on his hands who goes by the name of Monks Hood and caught the eye at Scottsville last month when hacking up by seven and a half lengths barely breaking sweat. He had clearly been showing plenty at home before his debut and was backed form 5/1 to 5/2 when the stalls opened and if he handles the step up in trip today then he could well go on to be a very decent sort, leaving his owners dreaming of bigger and better things in the months and years ahead.

One more bet for me today (we mustn’t be greedy and I want to save up some serious betting money for the Durban July card), and that honour falls to the Joey Ramsden trained Just Sensual in the Tibouchina Stakes. Unlike some writers (colder ones than me), I freely admit that I have a bias towards certain stables, and Joey has always been both polite and forthcoming whenever I have been lucky enough to speak to him, so I suppose I do look out for his horses more than most. Confession over, and the truth is the daughter of the legendary Dynasty has a superb chance on the form book after finishing just a length behind Carry On Alice at Scottsville in the South African Fillies’ Sprint (Grade One) last month. Anyone keeping even the faintest eye on South African racing will be aware that the winner is a class act who will be sorely missed now she is off for her new career as a broodmare, making the form rock solid, but better still, she is even more effective over this 1400mtrs trip. I really really like her chances here granted a clear run when needed in this fourteen runner field and if I had to have a NAP (and I don’t), then she would be the one.

Sean’s Suggestions:

Rockin Russian 11:30am local time Greyville Saturday

Monks Hood 12.05pm local time Greyville Saturday 

Just Sensual 14.00pm local time Greyville Saturday

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