Hunting Tower wins
With just one win to his credit in the previous 12 months, few believed the four-year-old Fort Wood gelding had it in him to conquer the country’s best in the toughest race on the African continent, the Vodacom Durban July.
Hunting Tower had shown very little, if anything, to be considered a major contender for South Africa’s premier honour except, of course, for jockey Anton Marcus who chose him above his better-performed stable companion.
But there is no substitute for class and the chestnut son of Stirrup Cup, a daughter of former Vodacom Durban July winner, Royal Chalice, had given notice as a three-year-old that he had star potential. He had won six of his 14 starts with placings in the other eight before finishing seventh to Eyeofthetiger in Africa’s greatest horseracing event of 2006.
In the ensuing year his only moments of glory had been when fourth twice over 1 600m and when winning the London News at Newmarket over 1 800m. . . . but Anton knew that the ability was still there and trainer Charles Laird had prepared him to the minute.
When he flashed across the finish line it gave Laird his first win in the race, Marcus’s fourth and placed the famous name of his owner, Mrs. Bridgett Oppenheimer, on the famed trophy for the fourth time.
In the end, coming through the traffic from midfield with 400m to run, it was his class, outstanding jockeyship and his blistering finish that carried him to victory and immortality in the annals of South African racing.
A champion among champions – Hunting Tower we salute you.
The Vodacom Durban July 2007 Result:
1. 5 Hunting Tower
2. 15 Buy and Sell
3. 9 Jagged Ice
4. 1 Pocket Power
Greyville Racecourse and Gold Circle played host to a highly successful Vodacom Durban July Race meeting on Saturday but the cherry on the top was the announcement by Vodacom’s Regional Manager in KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Alberts Breedt, that sponsors Vodacom had exercised their options to renew their contract for a further three years.
Breedt said that he had been extremely happy with Saturday’s event and was delighted to announce Vodacom’s support for a further three years.
Official attendance at Greyville on Saturday was 53 002 and the betting on this year’s Vodacom Durban July showed a healthy increase as total SAFtote takings on the day rose to R79,4 million, a 21% increase on last year’s R65,8 million.
However, Gold Circle CEO, Michel Nairac, pointed out that some of the increase was due to co-mingling of certain pools with international clients. Gold Circle’s turnover on the day was up 13% from R43 million last year to R49,1 million this year. The main contributing factor to the big increases was the co-mingling on the Win, Place and Trifecta pools on the Vodacom Durban July.
The Win pool showed a 28% increase from R7,5 million to R9,6 million while the Place pool showed a 23% increase, up from R5,5 million to 6,7 million. The Trifecta jumped a staggering 49%, up from R4 million last year to R6 million this year. The net Place Accumulator Pool reached R3,6 million while the Pick 6 net pool topped R4,2 million. The two Jackpots on the day amounted to a combined nett pool of R2,5 million