Do It Again will try to make history with a third win in a row
We highlight two horses for punters to back
Do It Again winning the Durban July in 2018. (Getty)
We take a look through the betting for this prestigious handicap and provide readers with two 2020 Durban July Tips.
Greyville racecourse will stage the rescheduled 2020 Durban July on Saturday 25th July. Sadly, the global Covid-19 pandemic means no fans will be allowed to attend what is usually a wonderfully social event. Never the less, racing fans have an excellent card to enjoy on Durban July day, with the namesake race of the meeting the undoubted main event.
Topping the current betting we find Belgarion, who carried a hat-trick of handicap wins into the recent World Sports Betting 1900. Justin Snaith’s charge was backed into odds-on before the off, and duly obliged with a bloodless Grade Two triumph.
Belgarion enters the Durban July at the bottom of the weights and has won well over ten furlongs. However, this will be the first time he’s ever run in Grade One company, and the form of the Grade Two Belgarion won looks modest, at best. Snaith’s charge is in with many horses who’re far more experienced at the highest level. Belgarion looks gettable to me.
All eyes will be on Do It Again, as Justin Snaith’s star bids to become the first three-time winner of this historic race. Do It Again won well as a three-year-old in 2018, and narrowly edged out Rainbow Bridge to retain her crown 12 months ago.
Obviously, Do It Again cannot be discounted. Yet, he hasn’t looked in as good a form going into the race as he was the previous two years, and there’ve been only four winners over the age of four in the last 30 years.
Rainbow Bridge also has to overcome that stat, but he brings much better form to the table than Do It Again. Since that narrow defeat here 12 months ago, Eric Sands’ charge placed third in the Queen’s Plate and second in the SunMet, before winning the Gold Challenge by almost a length.
Like Do It Again, Rainbow Bridge will have to carry a top weight of 60kg on his back, but that shouldn’t stop him mounting a serious challenge.
Vardy scored in the Queen's Plate, before a poor performance in the SunMet, where he found himself too far back to make any inroads. Adam Marcus dropped him back down to seven furlongs and a mile on his next two starts, and Vardy was beaten in both the Drill Hall Stakes and the Golden Challenge. I’m not convinced he really enjoyed the extended trip in the SunMet, so he could struggle over a furlong further in the Durban July.
Bunker Hunt showed an excellent turn of foot when beating Vardy in the Drill Hall Stakes, and could be Justin Snaith’s third entrant in this great race. Although he ran well to place fifth as a 25/1 shot in the SunMet, the way he won over seven the other day suggests Bunker Hunt is much better suited to shorter trips
The only other runner sitting on a single-figure price is Got The Green Light, who’ll represent the three-year-old crop. Joey Sama’s charge looked to be coming with a winning run in the SA Derby, only to run out of steam and get relegated to third in the strides before the line. Got The Greenlight then bolted up in the Daily News 2000 over course-and-distance, and returns to Greyville as a live challenger.
There’s then a huge gap in the betting before we reach Mike De Kock’s only entrant, Soqrat. He went to post as the second favourite for the Queen's Plate, Chestnut Stakes and the Champions Challenge, but could only finish ninth, sixth and a four-length second respectively. Those defeats certainly raise question marks, and Soqrat doesn’t look particularly well-treated at the weights.
Golden Ducat won the Cape Derby in February, and was backed into favouritism for the Daily News 2000 before the off. Eric Sands’ charge could only finish third behind stablemate Got The Greenlight that day, but was finishing off the race nicely and could be one that each-way players latch onto.
Twist Of Fate, Eyes Wide Open and Miyabi Gold filled the third, fourth and fifth places in last year’s race. While I can’t see Twist Of Fate or Eyes Wide Open repeating those performances, Miyabi Gold comes into this on the back of a very good Listed victory, and could mount another challenge for the places.
Capoeira forced his owners to stump up the supplementary fee for the Durban July after scoring in the Cup Trial at Scottsville. That didn’t look a deep race, though, and he has a little to find on the leading fancies.
Tierra Del Fuego is a five-time winner over seven furlongs and a mile, but has been comfortably beaten on all of his starts over longer trips. Shango has some ground to make up on his fellow three-year-olds and Padre Pio has two lengths to make up on Got The Greenlight.
It would be incredible to see Do It Again land the hat-trick and Rainbow Bridge brings the best form to the table. However, as I mentioned earlier, horses older than four have a terrible recent record in the Durban July, and I think it could be worth siding with three-year-old GOT THE GREENLIGHT.
Eric Sands’ charge was a Grade One winner as a juvenile and went into the SA Derby on the back of an excellent win in the Grade One SA Classic. Callan Murray’s mount travelled beautifully in the Derby, hitting the front three from home, only to get run down in the closing stages.
In the Daily News 2000, Got The Green Light moved to the head of the field at the three-pole once again. This time, Bernard Fayd'Herbe’s mount didn’t fade, comfortably holding his rivals at arm’s length to seal the third Grade One win of his career.
Got The Greenlight is a course-and-distance winner, with plenty of class and he’ll be gaining weight on practically all of his older rivals. To me, he looks like the best bet in this year’s renewal of the Durban July.
For my second selection, I’m going to side with the supposed fifth-string of Justin Snaith’s Durban July squad, SILVANO'S PRIDE.
Snaith’s mare was a 16/1 shot when she cruised to an excellent victory in the Grade One Woolavington 2000 over ten furlongs here at Greyville. Silvano's Pride then suffered three comfortable defeats during the autumn and winter, but returned to action with a comfortable victory Tibouchina Stakes last month.
Although that Grade Two was only run over seven furlongs, Silvano's Pride has proven form over a mile-and-a-quarter, and I doubt she’ll have trouble seeing out that extra furlong. Snaith’s four-year-old also carries the minimum weight into battle, and has the ability to run well beyond her current odds.
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