Only one horse has won the Vodacom Durban July under top weight since El Picha scored for the second time in 2000 and that was Pocket Power in 2008. Marinaresco carries the same Marsh Shirtliff colours and Candice Bass-Robinson has not forgotten how unlucky he was in last year’s race.
“Besides being good enough, your horse needs to have a bit of luck in running and have things go his way,” she says. “It’s a tough ask for Marinaresco with 60kg on his back (he had only 55.5kg 12 months ago) but he is fit and well, he is fresh and has a draw I am happy with. He always tries his best and I am sure he will run a good race.”
The bookies have lost faith in the one-time favourite and have pushed him right out to 16-1, two points longer than Majorca winner Nightingale who has the advantage of four-time July winning jockey Anthony Delpech in the irons.
“Nightingale has come on a lot as a four-year-old and she will get the trip comfortably,” says Mrs Robinson. “If she had a kilo and a half less, or even a kilo, she would be very competitive. In saying that she always runs an honest race, she has a good draw and she will maybe run into the money.”
Horizon, originally first reserve, completes the Milnerton trainer’s first July hand at 20-1. “That was a good run in the Daily News and he is a kilo better with Edict Of Nantes plus half a kilo better with Al Sahem, so he is certainly not without a chance. Unfortunately, he is not drawn well so he will need that bit of luck.”