WHAT THE TRAINERS SAY
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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.”