DO IT AGAIN WINS JULY
Jack Milner: The question now on many people’s lips after Do It Again won the R4.25-million Vodacom Durban July on Saturday for the second successive year is: could he become the first horse in the history of the Greyville race over 2200m, to make it three in a row.
“If he does,” quipped joint owner Bernard Kantor, “we might have to change the name of his sire from Twice Over to Thrice Over.”
Do It Again became the fifth horse since the race was first run in 1897, to do the double.
It was a magnificent performance from the four-year-old gelding who was quite correctly described by trainer Justin Snaith as one of the greats of South African racing.
Unfortunately, the race was marred when Hawwaam, who had been a gentleman through the build up to the race, played up as he went into the stalls, hurting his left hind leg and was withdrawn by the vet.
“Under the circumstances the vet did the right thing,” said trainer Mike de Kock. “But I don’t want this story to grab the headlines and detract from the brilliant victory of Do It Again.”
One had to have sympathy for veterinarian Roehann Sutherland who had to make that decision and he looked under real pressure when he was explaining what happened to De Kock. De Kock’s acknowledgment of the decision clearly came as a relief.
Once they came back to the saddling enclosure Hawwaam was walked around and showed no sign of discomfort.
Do It Again, owned by Nick Jonsson, Kantor and the late Jack Mitchell, became the first horse since El Picha in 1999 and 2000 to complete the July double.
However, much of the credit for the success must go to jockey Richard Fourie. Like all champions, he knew exactly how much horse he had under him and at no stage did he panic, even when Gavin Lerena escaped on Rainbow Bridge 300m from home.
Do It Again, carrying top weight of 60kg, came charging up the centre to run Rainbow Bridge out of it 50m from home to win by 0.40 lengths.
Third place went to Twist Of Fate, a further 1.30 lengths back, with Eyes Wide Open a neck further back fourth, Miyabi Gold, fifth and Camphoratus in sixth.
This is the second Durban July win for Fourie, his first coming in 2014 when Legislate got the race on an objection. “At last I will be able to do my own lap of honour,” he said. “This horse is simply remarkable. He is such a smart horse, very intelligent and he definitely has big-match temperament.
Return Flight led the field at a pedestrian pace from Head Honcho and Twist Of Fate, who was perfectly placed on the rail from his wide draw by Nooresh Juglall. Lady in Black and Rainbow Bridge were behind them and only then came Do It Again.
Return Flight did not have much left in the tank and Lerena swept into the lead aboard Rainbow Bridge, looking a winner with 200m to run.
That was until Fourie brought Do It Again on the scene.
“He has proved how good he is,” said Snaith, “and he has now proven he should be considered among the greats of South African horseracing.”
He is unlikely to be sent overseas to race, not unless the export protocols that result in almost a six-month travelling period for the horses, change soon. So he could be back to do it all again next year.
Last year Redberry Lane broke the Justin Snaith-trained Snowdance’s heart when affording jockey Lyle Hewitson his first Grade 1 success in the Garden Province Stakes.
Fast forward a year later and the jockey-trainer combination of Hewitson and Sean Tarry have once again broken Snowdance’s heart in the same event – this time with speedy Captain Al filly Celtic Sea.
She produced a jaw-dropping turn of foot under a masterful ride by the Hong Kong-bound Hewitson, defeating 16-10 favourite Oh Susanna by a length.
“This is probably one of the best fillies I’ve had the pleasure being a part of,” said an elated Hewitson.
Oh Susanna needed to make up about four lengths with long-time leader Vistula turning for home and looked as though she would struggle to even run a place once Snowdance and Celtic Sea moved up simultaneously passing the 150m.
Once Richard Fourie got busy, Oh Susanna took off but it was a touch too late and she could only manage second.