BELGARION WINS DURBAN JULY
Belgarion won the Vodacom Durban July over 2200m at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.
Ridden by Richard Fourie and trained by Justin Snaith, Belgarion beat Got The Greenlight with Do It Again in third and Golden Ducat fourth.
As they pay six places, fifth place went to It’s My Turn with Rainbow Bridge, who went off as favourite, in sixth
Belgarion won by 0.80 lengths, with another 0.10 lengths to Do It Again and Golden Ducat ending up just 1.90 lengths behind the winner.
This was Fourie’s third win in the Durban July and Justin Snaith’s fifth, now only two short of Syd Laird’s record of seven victories.
“It’s been a long time in planning,” said Snaith. “He was a horse with problems last year so we took our time and planned to go into this race with a light weight,” said Snaith. “
Fourie, who gave his mount the perfect ride, added: “We planned this from six months back.”
With five horses in the race, Snaith was in a position to dictate the pace and with most of his runners drawn wide, a quick pace was ideal. So it was left to Silvano’s Pride to make the pace and she moved well clear of the field with Padre Pio in second, stablemates Golden Ducat and Rainbow Bridge were behind them, while Anton Marcus had got Do It Again, seeking his third win in this race, over from his outside draw and racing two thirds of the way down the field.
Got The Greenlight was further back with Belgarion, It’s My Turn and Bunker Hunt the last three.
Silvano’s Pride shot her bolt at the top of the straight and Warren Kennedy was quick to take Rainbow Bridge into the lead. Golden Ducat stuck with him and the Do It Again emerged as a threat.
In the meantime, Fourie and Muzi Yeni had switched out wide aboard Belgarion and Got The Greenlight respectively and the two came flying home on the outside rail. In the end it was well-handicapped Belgarion, who got the upper hand.
Serino Moodley, who went tearing off to the front on Silvano’s Pride, was given a severe reprimand from the stipes for going too fast.
Fourie did not escape sanction either. With the adrenalin running high he overstepped the whip rule and will face a penalty that still has to be decided upon.
Muzi Yeni, on second-placed Got The Greenlight, said his colt had every chance but had been a little quiet in the preliminaries which had been concerning but had no excuses.
Warren Kennedy who rode second favourite Rainbow Bridge said the 2200m had been too far for his mount. “At the 300m he was cruising and I thought it would be a matter of how far, but he suddenly emptied out. He just didn’t stay.”
Donovan Dillon shed over 3.5kg to make the weight on Golden Ducat. “I made it – just,” he said before the race. He felt that the Cape Derby winner had run a tremendous race. “He will be a big runner next year,” said Dillon who is unlikely to be around to ride the gelding as he has applied to join a host of South African jockeys in Australia.
Soqrat was having his last race before heading for stallion duties next season and finished eighth. “It was a fair race,” said rider Callan Murray.
But the performance of the race came from 2018 and 2019 champion Do It Again who came within 0.90 lengths of making history. “It was a great run but he had every chance,” said jockey Anton Marcus.
It is also worth noting that the draw did not turn out to be too much of an issue. The first three past the post were drawn Nos 17, 13 and 18.
No favourites won in the Pick 6 and with some massive outsiders winning, the Pick 6, with the pool reaching the expected R15 million, paid out R13.6 million to 1.09 tickets.