Champion Season excitement with announcement of 1st July Entries

Vodacom Durban July News - Horse Racing - 2018

The starting gates to South Africa’s Champions Season will burst open at Greyville in two weeks time and to set the adrenaline flowing early for the thoroughbred racing fans, Gold Circle has released the names of the 69 first entries for Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event and core attraction of the three month festival, the R4.25-million, Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July.

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With the cream of the country’s middle distance runners featuring in the list, the fact that 18 of the nominees are of the fairer sex could well become the talking point of the season with fillies like Sun Met winner Oh Susanna, Irish-bred Cascapedia and the gutsy mare Nother Russia likely to be considered as strong contenders for the ultimate honour.

With Mike de Kock, Sean Tarry and Justin Snaith responsible for 28 of the entries, notable stables missing from the entry list are those of Cape trainers Candice Bass-Robinson and Joey Ramsden that have won the last two runnings of the race with Marinaresco and The Conglomerate respectively.

Champion trainer Tarry has nominated 12 horses and De Kock eight while the Snaith team has entered eight of which the three-year-old filly Oh Susanna  could be the leader of the pack. Having beaten a strong Sun Met field under weight-for-age conditions, the Australian-bred daughter of Street Cry is something special.

Cascapedia has won her last three races for De Kock including the Yellowwood and the London News while Nother Russia nearly upset super star Legal Eagle in the Horse Chestnut Stakes recently.

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Another exciting young filly is the daughter of Visionaire, Takingthepeace, that won both the Gauteng Fillies Guineas and SA Fillies Classic for De Kock.

Snaith’s other entries include the 2014 winner of the blue ribbon event, Legislate, that has been brought back into racing following a stint as a stallion. The seven-year-old has not raced since failing to make the frame in the Drill Hall Stakes at Greyville two years ago.

Among the colts and geldings there are some smart young horses including De Kock’s Like A Panther that ran a good third in the SA Classic and Snaith’s Do It Again that was beaten less than two lengths by Eyes Wide Open in the Investec Cape Derby.

Surcharge was second in both the Gauteng Guineas and SA Classic for Stuart Pettigrew while looking to the older runners, the five-year-old Dynasty gelding Liege caused a 14-1 upset when winning the Summer Cup last November for Tarry.

Journalist: Richard McMillan

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