Durban July Trainer Comments 2013

The 2013 R3.5 million Vodacom July Handicap, run over the Greyville 2 200m on Saturday 6 July could be considered one of the most controversial in years. Nevertheless, it has attracted a decent field and looks to be very competitive. Winning Form got comments from all the trainers on what they think their horses chances are in Africa's richest race.

Popular trainer Sean Tarry will be back to defend the title he won last year with POMODORO. He has four top class contenders headed by Pomodoro. In a remarkably frank discussion with Winning Form, Sean had this to say,

“I am very happy with Pomodoro. His prep has gone spot on and he is very well as he showed in his gallop at Greyville last Thursday morning. He is eating well and is very happy in himself. I am happy with his draw of 7 and with Piere Strydom, he has an outstanding chance.” When asked which horse he thought could beat him he quickly replied, “E-Jet.”

E-JET has the right weight and everything has gone well for him. He has a wide draw but has a wonderfully experienced jockey in Schofield riding him. I would say that Pomodoro has the most to fear from him.”

HEAVY METAL is back to form and his preparation has gone very well. I expect him to run a good race.”

WHITELINE FEVER has done everything asked of him in his preparation and with the tote paying 6 places it might be worth backing him for a place.” All in all, Sean is extremely happy with his four runners, with Pomodoro the cherry on the top.

Vaughan Marshall is having a brilliant season and his two runners, HILL FIFTY FOUR and TRIBAL DANCE will be carrying his flag high. “The July has been Hill Fifty Four’s mission for many months now. He is a simple horse to train and I could not have him better than he is. If I have to say which horse we have to beat, I would say Pomodoro.”

“My other horse, Tribal Dance, is the best I have ever had him. I expect him to be right there but having said that my stable pick is Hill Fifty Four.”

Gavin van Zyl was all business when spoken to on Monday morning. “SEAL has come off his race in the Jubilee Handicap bouncing and happy. He has never been better and I am hoping for a big run.”

SHOGUNNAR has also come on nicely since the Jubilee and should run a big race.”

NO WORRIES is getting better and better. He has a bad draw to overcome but Brandon Lerena is very experienced and has the ability to make the best of it. He will be even better in a couple of months’ time but is very well right now.”

Charles Laird recently had a big back operation and he has taken it very well and is up and about. He has been training the well-travelled ASTRO NEWS since February.

“Astro News has been with me since February and has been getting better and better. He is quite high in the weights but I make this an open race and I expect him to finish in the money. Jockey Kevin Shea has done a lot of work with him and is very happy with him.”

With two of the most fancied runners in the race Justin Snaith was remarkably cool, calm and collected. “RUN FOR IT is doing great with no problems whatsoever. I was very happy with his gallop at Greyville and he will be 100% on the big day.”

Justin was equally confident about the chance of JET EXPLORER. “I have been extremely fortunate in that the preparation of my horses has gone so well, without any setbacks. He is fit and ready to run a big race.” Justin added that the forecast was for rain but he was not worried as his horses can handle soft going. Good news for their supporters if it does come up wet.

Dean Kannemeyer is a journalist’s dream as he is always willing to give of his time and his opinions in an honest and frank way. When asked about CAPETOWN NOIR he had this to say. “My horse could be considered unlucky in that in all his defeats to date the result could have gone his way if things had gone a little differently. In his four defeats thus far he has been beaten less than a length. His wide draw is not in his favour but in Karl Neisius, he has one of the best and most experienced jockeys riding in South Africa. He is an absolutely sound horse and has never had any leg problems. His jockey believes he will get the trip and I am expecting another honest run from him.”

Trainer Weiho Marwing was short and sweet with his comment with regards to WYLIE HALL. “I decided to make the July his mission after he won the Derby in April. He is very fit and well and I am expecting a big run from him in the race.”

Geoff Woodruff always has firm opinions when asked about his horses and he was no different when asked about DO YOU REMEMBER’s chance. “I don’t know whether I am being over optimistic but I give my filly a good chance. Against her, I think she has been harshly treated by the handicapper and she might have a kilo or two, too much to carry.” When asked about his main rivals he said, “If  Run For It is over his problems he should run a big race but the horse I think will win is Hill Fifty Four.”

Well-known Tellytrack presenter, Stan Elley, is the trainer of PUNTA ARENAS. “Garth Puller has been looking after my horse for 2 ½ months and is really pleased with him. I have been flying up from Cape Town on a regular basis and have been happy with his progress. His gallop at Greyville was spot on but he does have a wide draw to overcome. I decided after winning the Winter Derby in Cape Town last year that he would be aimed at the July and since then his main mission has been this race.”

Paul Lafferty, who had come in for some criticism for his decision to run LOVE STRUCK in both the KZN Breeders Milliion and the July, within the space of 6 days had this to say. “Love Struck’s run on Sunday, at Clairwood, should be ignored. The track was in a deplorable condition and his jockey stopped riding him 300m from the line in order to avoid the danger of him injuring his legs. Fortunately, he is completely sound today (Monday) and is showing no ill effects from the race. As far as the July goes I think he is very well-weighted and he should be up with the speed. He won a Turffontein Grade 1 in the soft so if it does come up soft it will not adversely affect him. I am confident that he will get the trip and I am hoping for a top 6 finish. I say this in the firm belief that he has the ability to run into the top 6.”

Joey Soma is a true gentleman of the turf and it is a pleasure to talk to him. Joey has recently undergone a sad time but he is philosophical about this and say’s that being involved in the racing game has helped him cope with the rough time he has had. “It was decided to aim WAGNER at the July as soon as he had won the Summer Cup in December. I have had no problems with his preparation and he is peaking at just the right time,” said Joe.

Trainer Kom Naidoo was full of confidence when asked about GOTHIC. When questioned as to how it came about that Gothic was nominated for the July he said, “His owners were looking for a horse specifically to run in the July. After looking at his form, and the fact that he is by in-form sire Silvano, I said they should go ahead and buy him and that we would nominate him for the July. Fortunately, he has done very well since I got him and I was really pleased with his public gallop at Greyville. He is looking great, is eating well and is in great shape to run a big race on Saturday.” Confident words from Kom who added that it would be great to have the honour to saddle the first one time winner in the July.

Of all the trainers spoken to Jeff Freedman, who trains WILD ONE, was probably the most bullish. “Months ago it was decided to aim Wild One at the Derby Trial, the Derby and then the July. In my opinion he was desperately unlucky in both the Derby Trial and the Derby. His prep has gone very well and right now he is bouncing around the yard and is eating his head off.” When asked which horse he had to beat Jeff laughingly said, “I am focused on winning. I don’t have to beat them,  they have to beat me. You can quote me that I am here to win and I am very bullish.”

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