|We speak to the jockeys riding in the Vodacom Durban July 2016 to get views on their rides in the big race|
Despite all the predictions and what the owners and trainers have to say, the fact of the matter is that once the gates crash open for the start of the R4.25 million Grade 1 Vodacom July Handicap, the fate of the horses lies mainly in the hands of the JOCKEYS. With that in mind, we asked the men on top to give us their views on this year's big race.
Anthony Delpech is riding at the top of his game and it is probably safe to say that he has never ridden better in his life. Many punters were probably surprised when he took the ride on BELA-BELA in the place of Black Arthur but Anthony is very happy with his ride. “Bela-Bela has proved that she is better than the fillies and now she gets her chance to show what she can do against the colts. She is working very well and I was pleased with her gallop on Thursday morning. She stays well and has a great turn of foot. All in all, I am expecting a big run from her.”
MJ Byleveld is on the highly fancied RABADA (SCRATCHED) and admits that he is not quite sure how things will work out. He was well beaten by No Worries on Saturday but I am sure Mike Azzie will have him spot on for the July”, were MJ’s concluding words.
Muzi Yeni is always a pleasure to talk to. “My horse TEN GUN SALUTE ran on strongly in the Daily News and will be even better over the extra 200m. His work has been pleasing and I know he is taking on top horses but I do give him a big chance in the race.”
Jockey Gavin Lerena sounded fresh and happy on his return from Hong Kong but he will be back in China on the 4th of July. ”I have been pleased with the work MASTER SABINA is showing me and his recent grass gallop was very nice. In my opinion, it will be tough for a three-year-old to win this time but Black Arthur may be one to do it. Master Sabina’s work is improving all the time and from his good draw I give him a big chance.”
World Class jockey Weichong Marwing took the time to phone WINNING FORM and give his views on the race. “Everything has gone right for FRENCH NAVY and his prep has been great. In the July we all need luck in running. I am happy with his 4 draw as it is better than being drawn far out. I will ride him as Sean tells me to. If I have to name any dangers I would say Bela-Bela and Black Arthur have chances but, naturally, I am hoping and do believe that French Navy will lead them home.”
Grant van Niekerk
Grant van Niekerk is fast maturing into a top class jockey. When asked about MARINARESCO he was really confident about his chance. “He is doing very well and I was pleased with his gallop. His draw is very bad but I will be hoping for a bit of luck in overcoming the draw. I will be hoping for a decent pace which will help me to get into the best position possible. He will be running on strongly and I must admit I am pretty confident.” When asked which were the horses he had to beat he had no hesitation in nominating Solid Speed, French Navy and Black Arthur.”
Richard Fourie has proved his ability wherever he has ridden in the world and he was full of confidence when asked about IT’S MY TURN. “He did his final bit of work and was absolutely flying. He is a happy horse, his coat is good and he has had no hiccups in his prep. I am ok with his draw and he is a horse who is best from the back and I will ride him this way. There are no superstars in the race so I am confident he can win. If I have to, I would say that the horse to beat is French Navy. He has had a wonderful prep and it is his 3rd run after a rest. You can say I am looking forward to the race with confidence.” Coming from a jockey of Richard’s class, It’s My Turn could be the one to upset.
50-year-old Piere Strydom is a master of his profession and what he says should be listened to. “From what I saw on TV THE CONGLOMERATE is fit and well. It is worth considering that Anton Marcus had the choice of rides and he took St Tropez instead of The Conglomerate and that is a big factor. The Conglomerate has the worst of the draw and the percentages prove that very few badly drawn horses win the July. The form of the race puts the horses really close to each other so advantages like a good draw etc, have a big say in the finish. I would love to win to put a smile on Joey’s face”, he said jokingly.
Jockey Warren Kennedy on ROCKETBALL’s chance. “He worked beautifully in the gallop and I don’t think he could be much better.” “The July is a very rough race and he will need all the luck he can get. I have ridden in 5 July’s and in all honesty, Rocketball may be the best winning chance I have yet had.“ As far as my riding tactics are concerned I must be cautious with him as he can pull very hard. I will have to see how he jumps and then slot him in from there. Neither Gavin nor Warren are known to be over confident people but it is doubtful whether they could be any more confident of a big run from Rocketball than they are.