The World’s Most Colourful Race Is Here – The Durban July!

Durban July – what an atmosphere.

It’s here, it’s upon us, tomorrow (Saturday) is the one, the only Durban July meeting from Greyville, a once a year feast that attacks each and every one of your senses and is an experience I will never ever grow tired of. A full crowd that have to be seen to be believed (I’ll try and get some photos for the review article), with colour the one word I would use if asked to describe the day, though the crowd are better behaved that recent racegoers at Newmarket for example, and I have yet to witness any trouble. Sensible entry prices, good food (and a good variety as well), plentiful drink stalls, and an all-round happy vibe make for a good day out regardless of backing a winner or not (that’s called covering my back in advance), and I genuinely cannot wait to rock up on the day even I do have to break out the suit and wear a tie for a change.

Looking at the card in advance and twelve races is a bit of a marathon when you are used to six or seven in the UK, and I will be flagging by the end (drink or no drink), but if I focus on the classier races and pick and chose our bets, hopefully we can all come out on top.

In Race 5, better known as the Gold Circle Golden Slipper, up to fourteen juvenile fillies will go to post for the ZAR600,000 prize over the 1400mtrs. None of these races will be easy to win and I was originally drawn to Alec Laird’s Green Top who I am convinced will run a big race whatever her price, but common sense prevails and my main bet will be on Sean Tarry’s Desert Rhythm who ran well enough on her prep race when a two and a half length fourth to Green Plains over a wholly inadequate 1160mtrs at Turffontein last month. This is more her trip and she does look to have been trained with this race in mind, and although no good thing, she has to have a solid each way chance.

A close finish seems assured – but have we found the winner?

Varallo would be my choice in the Golden Horseshoe, the equivalent race for colts but this does look far too competitive for my liking and although I will be betting on track, he does not make my short list of recommended bets. At least that way I will have time to catch my breath ahead of the big one at 16:20 when a full field is expected for the Durban July even with the withdrawal of Elusive Silva. There needs to be a word that outdoes competitive as this is just ridiculous and any one of about a dozen could win this without me falling over in surprise. I have always like Joey Ramsden and will be expecting a big run from last year’s winner The Conglomerate, but have nailed my colours to Edict Of Nantes for some time now and am not the sort to change his mind. Brett Crawford has had this race in mind for some time now and the son of Count Dubois does look well weighted for a horse with five wins from just the twelve starts and although no good thing, he ought to be there or thereabouts in the finish.

Brett Crawford -trains my big race suggestion.

In the hope that Brett Crawford doesn’t have a good day but has an excellent day, my last suggestion will be for Al Mariachi in the KZN Yearling Sale Million at 17:55pm over the 1300mtrs. Corne Orffer rides the son of Great Britain who won his maiden at Kenilworth in March and was placed third to Sand And Sea at Scottsville last time out in the Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion last month. That run gives him the beating of these on pure form and if he can repeat that in what looks like it may be a slightly weaker race, then he has every chance of a big run as well so fingers and toes crossed for a profitable day all round.

Finally, for those who asked if I was running in the thirteenth race, the answer is, not at my age. I am not going to go in to detail on a family website but suffice to day video exist on youtube and elsewhere and I’ll leave it up to you if you want to investigate further!

Sean’s Suggestions:

Desert Rhythm each way 14:25pm Local time Greyville Saturday

Edict of Nantes Each Way 16:20pm Local Time Greyville Saturday 

Al Mariachi Each Way 17:55pm Local Time Greyville Saturday.

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