Previous 10 years recaps


Staying true to its long established status as Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event in attracting the country’s best horses in all classes and the biggest single day crowd at a sporting event, the 122nd running of the R4.25-million Vodacom Durban July was another outstanding success.

The horses, trainers, jockeys and the general public came from all corners of the country and many others travelled to Greyville from various overseas centres for the 2 200m event that is rated among the top iconic races in the world.

And from the Western Cape came a racing team that has grown in stature to become one of the leading yards with trainer Justin Snaith being installed as the champion conditioner for the season.

From that team came five of the 18 runners that faced the starter for the famous Grade 1 event and after the dust had settled and the result was posted, Snaith runners filled the first three places and another finished fifth. It was one of the most outstanding performances by a racing stable since the legendary trainer Terrance Millard dominated the racing scene in South Africa in the 1980s.

The Snaith runners headed the betting for the Vodacom Durban July with the Dynasty gelding African Night Sky topping the boards after his impressive victory in the Cup Trial. With top former South African jockey Jeff Lloyd – now riding very successfully in Australia – aboard the other Dynasty gelding from the Snaith team, Made To Conquer, and on a mission to finally win the big race that had eluded him, the four-year-old as well as another Snaith runner, Do It Again, were also among the shorter priced runners in the race.

Overall, it looked a very open race with a number of runners having performed admirably in their build-up feature events around the country displaying talent putting them in the picture as having the ability to feature prominently in the finish.

For “the Guv”, with the race moving into its final stage, his bid for victory on Made To Conquer was looking pretty good as the field stormed down the home straight with stable companions African Night Sky, Elusive Silva and Do It Again looking dangerous along with Majestic Mambo and Rocket Countdown.

Aboard the Twice Over gelding Do It Again jockey Anton Marcus had his eye on favourite African Night Sky at the head of the field who he assessed was over racing as well as Made To Conquer that was staying on strongly. He made his bid on Do It Again down the centre of the track, swooping through to snatch the victory. Made To Conquer kept on to take second place ahead of Elusive Silva and Majestic Mambo with favourite African Night Sky in fifth place.

Under sunny skies it was a day of incredible excitement and the 50 000 crowd that filled the Theatre of Champions were entertained by a variety of musical and fashion events, absorbing the excitement and anticipation of the occasion with the high-class 12-race programme keeping the tote machines spinning at high speed as punters plunged expectantly into the multi-million exotic bet pools.

Building the excitement towards the big event later in the day, the Grade 3 Betting World 2200 got the feature programme underway with Keagan de Melo getting Head Honcho across the line for trainer Andre Nel. Then it was time for the big-chested stayers to take centre stage in the Grade 3 DStv Gold Vase over 3 000 and here it was the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Dynasty gelding It’s My Turn that proved too good for his opposition to take the honours.

The country’s top juveniles were the next to strut their stuff with the Captain Al filly Celtic Sea winning the Grade 2 Samsung Golden Slipper and Barahin from the powerful Mike de Kock stable taking the Grade 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe.

After its sensational victory in the Vodacom Durban July, the Snaith stable were on a high and expecting their superstar filly and short-priced favourite, Snowdance, to comfortably lift the R625 000 winner’s cheque in the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes in spite of having been touched off in the two feature events she had contested after arriving in KwaZulu-Natal.

But, as racing has proven so many times, there is no such thing as a certainty in racing and once again the beautiful daughter of Captain Al had to settle for second place when she was touched off by a whisker in the 1 600m clash by the Sean Tarry-trained Western Winter filly Redberry Lane.

As the shadows began to lengthen and the racing continued through to the evening, the many hospitality venues were in full swing with a mix of celebration and tears – depending on the fortunes of the revelers – and eventually, Vodacom Durban July 2018 came to an end marking another fitting and satisfying celebration of Africa’s greatest horseracing and social event.



Marinaresco storms to victory in 2017 Vodacom Durban July

Last year’s runner up Marinaresco defied carrying the heaviest weight to race to a spectacular win under Bernard Fayd’Herbe to win the R4,25 million Vodacom Durban July at Greyville Racecourse, giving trainer Candice Bass-Robinson her maiden win in Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event.

Fayd’Herbe engineered a spectacular charge through the middle of the field in the closing two hundred metres to win from a resurgent Al Sahem and another pre-race favourite Edict Of Nantes edging ahead of outsider Krambambuli and the filly Nightingale.

There were joyous scenes on the track as Fayb’Herbe was congratulated by his brother Robert, who has overseen much of Marinaresco’s training at the Bass yard at the Summerveld Training Centre.

The capacity crowd revelled in the fever pitch excitement as the thoroughbreds turned into the home straight, and needed replays to confirm that Marinaresco was indeed the 2017 champion.

The massive crowd then returned to the lavishly appointed suites and the vibrant Marquee Village to celebrate the occasion that will be remembered for it’s mild weather, and a distinct leaning towards bling, glitz and glamour and away from the bizarre.

The totes did a brisk business throughout the day, and it was clear that, despite the reality of economic recession, racegoers were not going to curtail their extravagance on the day.

Off the track, lovers of high fashion were treated to a visual feast as six new designers were crowned champions of the catwalk.

DUT student Katekani Moreku rewrote the record books when his defiantly funky, colourful menswear design, complete with makarapa, won the prestigious Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair.

Another rising star of the Durban fashion scene Tiloné Viljoen grabbed the other pre-raceday fashion scalp, winning the Vodacom Durban Fashion Challenge title with his angular yet feminine design that spoke to the balance between a woman having to be tough, yet retain her femininity.

The on-the-day competition for classic female racewear went to Prince Nsibande, with Naseem Nazeer taking the equivalent award for menswear. Catherine Nolan scooped the Huawei Best Dressed Couple Award and the Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator title went to Zandile Maphumulo.


  1.  Marinaresco
  2. Al Sahem
  3. Edict of Nantes
  4. Krambambuli
  5. Nightingale
  6. Horizon

The Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award presented by Durban Fashion Fair:

  1. Katekani Moreku (DUT)
  2. Hlengiwe Queeneth Mdunge (DUT)
  3. Nazreen Paruk (DUT)

The Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge presented by Durban Fashion Fair:

  1. Tiloné Viljoen
  2. Martin Steenkamp
  3. Alice Rash

Vodacom Durban July Classic Racewear – female

  1. Prince Nsibande
  2.  Kireshen Chetty
  3.  Kat Shoesmith

Vodacom Durban July Classic Racewear – Male

  1. Naseem Nazeer
  2.  Mnotho Ngema
  3.  Prince Shongwe

Vodacom Durban July Huawei Best Dressed Couple

  1. Catherine Nolan
  2. Pregasen Govender
  3.  Monique Talita

Vodacom Durban July Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator

  1. Zandile Maphumulo
  2. Sphenelele Ntuli
  3.  Pregasen Govender

Thousands of punters and party-seekers braved the chilly July weather to enjoy the 120th instalment of Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event with the fabled seventh race enthralling all as unfancied The Conglomerate gave trainer Joey Ramsden his first Vodacom Durban July winner at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday.

Race Seven lived up to the expectation with the final furlong producing all the action as the pre-race favourites all fell by the wayside which left The Conglomerate, starting from the extreme outside draw of eighteen and ridden by Vodacom Durban July veteran Piere Strydom, and Marinaresco to fight it out over the final lengths with the former winning and claiming the R4.25 Million prize with Mac de Lago finishing in third position.
A thrilled Strydom heaped praise on the four year old, saying he had more than enough to hold off the challenge from Marinaresco, with the fancied Bela-Bela failing to mount a challenge in the finish straight after straightening on the inside.

There was no denying that field fashion was on form this year, with plenty of ‘Leader of the Pack’ inspired ensembles gracing the track and many designers vying for a coveted place amongst the winners of the celebrated raceday competitions.

After some tough judging from industry experts designers saw Pregasen Govender, Zandile Masondo, Martin Steenkamp and Madelain Clark secure first place in the Gold Circle Most Striking Couple, Exceptional Raceday Hat or Fascinator and Classic Racewear for Male and Female categories respectively.

The Action Stage also played host to the dazzling finals of the Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award and Fashion Challenge presented by Durban Fashion Fair, where Leona Magdelene Pillay from the School of Fashion Design (Pietermaritzburg) and Kimosha Ganas lived the real life fairytale of winning the prestigious pre-race day fashion competitions respectively.

As part of the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Experience racing fans were also treated to a magical showcase of theme inspired collections from South Africa’s kings and queens of fashion, Durban Invited Designers Karen Monk Klijnstra, Kathrin Kidger, Zama Mathe, Francois Vedemme, Hanrie Lues with Paledi Segapo and Shaldon Kopman from Johannesburg and Tamara Chèrie Dyson from Cape Town.

Pos]  No. Horse      Jockey  Trainer  Wt. Dr.   Lengths  Time
1st]  14  The Conglomerate P Strydom J Ramsden 55.5 18 0   133.5
2nd] 13 Marinaresco G van Niekerk M W Bass 55.5 17 0.25 133.55
3rd]  2   Mac De Lago B Fayd’Herbe W H Marwing 59.5 14 2.25  133.92
4th]   9    It’s My Turn R Fourie S J Snaith 55.5 12 2.35  133.94
5th]  17   Saratoga Dancer C Zackey D C Howells 55.5 16 2.40 133.95
6th]  18   Bela-Bela (Fav) A Delpech S J Snaith 54.5 3 2.60 133.99
7th]   5    Black Arthur D Whyte S J Snaith 55.5 15 2.75 134.01
8th]   12  Ten Gun Salute M Yeni D C Howells 55.5 9 3.25 134.1
9th]   4    Master Sabina G Lerena G V Woodruff 56.5 8 3.35 134.12
10th] 11 Mambo Mime K de Melo D Kannemeyer 55.5 11 3.85 134.22
11th] 1    French Navy W Marwing S G Tarry 60 4 3.90 134.23
12th] 15 Dynamic * L Hewitson S J Snaith 55.5 1 3.95 134.23
13th] 3    Abashiri K Zechner M G Azzie 59 2 4.70 134.38
14th] 19 Trophy Wife S Khumalo S G Tarry 54.5 13 4.80 134.39
15th] 10 Rocketball W Kennedy G H Van Zyl 55.5 7 9.30 135.24
16th] 7    Samurai Blade A Fortune S G Tarry 55.5 6 14.55 136.25
17th] 16 St Tropez  A Marcus J Ramsden 55.5 2 14.60 136.26
18th] 8    Solid Speed S Randolph D Kannemeyer 55.5 5 24.60 138.21

“Everybody wants to win the Vodacom Durban July.”

The Vodacom Durban July has become South Africa’s premier crowd gathering event due to the perfect blend of sport and glamour .
Winning trainer Dean Kannemeyer shares his views in the aftermath of the event.

Kannemeyer compared his victory on Saturday with his previous two July wins, “The first time I won it with Dynasty (2003) I was over the moon. When I won it with Eyeofthetiger (2006) it was just as exciting and today was even more exciting. Owners, trainers, breeders, jockeys, everybody wants to win the Vodacom Durban July. When you win the July you walk off the grandstand and it is like putting on your Springbok jersey and saying you have arrived. Gary Player says it’s like winning The Masters.”

A particularly satisfying aspect to this year’s win was that he had done it for one of his most loyal, big spending owners Lady Christine Laidlaw. He said, “It was the first time Lady Christine had come to Durban, it was fantastic for her, she’s flown in for the week to see her horses run and the other one Solid Speed ran a very good race (third in the Gr 2 SABC Gold Vase). She was absolutely thrilled and I’m thrilled for my whole team.”

Jehan Malherbe from Form Bloodstock found and bought Power King and added another honour to his glittering career as a bloodstock agent. He also found and bought Eyeofthetiger as a yearling, while he clinched the deals with two Vodacom Durban July winners that Mike de Kock bought in training, Bold Silvano and Igugu.

Kannemeyer spoke of the continual improvement Power King had shown since being gelded last November and said he had also enjoyed an excellent preparation. He had viewed him as well handicapped on his Betting World 1900 run, in which he made up some twelve lengths in the straight to finish second, and on the weight turnarounds with a few horses he met during the Cape Summer Of Champions Season. Furthermore, he was well drawn and receiving weight from some of the three-year-olds and was one of the of the stand outs at Summerveld in the week of the July.

Kannemeyer said, “On all of that we just needed a bit of luck and I thought we’d come into play. In the race I was very happy with where he was sitting, I was actually surprised, I thought he would be further back. So Stuey (Stauart Randolph) got him into a nice position, he came into the straight and had to look for room and then he quickened up well.”

Regarding the objection he said, “You’re always going to worry but the way I read the race was that the second horse was causing interference and my horse was staying in a straight line. But the decision was the right decision by the board so I was pleased about that.”

Kannemeyer continued, “Well done to Maine Chance Farms and Silvano. We bought a few Silvanos this year, we are always a great supporter of Silvano, he is a top stallion. They take a bit of time, but it all worked out. I have a great team behind me.”

Kannemeyer was also pleased to have buried a false perception by winning the July with a four-year-old as opposed to his two previous wins with three-year-olds and quipped, “Some people say Kannemeyer can only train three-year-olds … aah haa … I did also win the Gold Cup with In Writing as a seven-year-old. And I won the Gold Cup with a filly (Colonial Girl 2000), they said I could only train colts!”

A Vodacom Durban July-winning conditioner will usually only bask in glory for an evening, knowing that in this fickle sport you are only as good as your last win.

He will soon have to return to the grindstone, pouring through catalogues and pounding the sales grounds looking for the next champion, early mornings preparing horses and identifying those that will go far. These special individuals must take the baby step of their first race, a nerve-wracking moment for any trainer, and they must then be nurtured along until they are ready to face the cream of their generation.

They can’t be underdone if they are to produce their best and it is even worse if they are “over the top”. Illness and injury are always close at hand with a breed that is notoriously fragile. If ever there are people that are slaves to their profession it is the racehorse trainer, but they usually become very fond of their horses and critical remarks about their horses are not taken kindly. The pressure is great and trainers with July runners often become more and more edgy as the race approaches. Taking all this into account, it is not surprising that the joyous moment of Vodacom Durban July victory can be likened to the release of a steam valve and is usually accompanied by much emotion.

Legislate wins after objection

There was high drama and a dramatic twist to the outcome of the 2014 Vodacom Durban July, with the final result resting with the stipendiary stewards.

An objection is not the scenario anyone would have wished for prior to the race and the result of this one will be debated ad nauseam for years to come.
Outsider Wylie Hall (33-1) and second favourite Legislate (5-1) fought a desperate duel over the final 600m with the pair coming together on at least four occasions. The official winning margin was a head with Futura third and Tellina in fourth.

The horses had barely cross the finishing line than jockey Richard Fourie raced back to lodge a protest. The general consensus on course was that the result would stand but after a lengthy deliberation the stipendiary stewards reversed the result, giving the race to Legislate.

As predicted, pace was always going to be a problem with no natural front-runner to set the gallop. As a result Richard Fourie took matters into his own hands and sent Legislate to the front.

“His instructions were to drop the horse in but he used his initiative,” said assistant trainer Jonathan Snaith. “From his wide draw he went to the front and then moved onto the rail, forcing runners to go around him.”

The first to go was Wylie Hall followed by Halve The Deficit with Legislate next best.

At the top of the straight Legislate moved in to challenge Wylie Hall and these two fought neck and neck to the line. However, after giving Wylie Hall an initial bump, Wylie Hall began shifting out and slowly carried Legislate across the track making contact on at least three occasions.

Bernard Fayd’Herbe, who was watching from behind on King Of Pain, said he thought the objection result was justified. “I watched “MJ” carrying Richard across and I said to him on the way back that I thought he was in trouble.”

There were some other hard luck stories. In the early scrimmaging Louis The King clipped the heels of Captain America and nearly fell while Rake’s Chestnut took a hefty bump and was forced very wide. Earlier, Captain America, who was pulling hard for his head, clipped the heels of In The Fast Lane and also pecked badly.

The victory cemented Justin Snaith’s unassailable position at the top of the training log with less than a month of the season still to run.

Heavy Metal and S’manga Khumalo clinch it

In true “July Day” tradition, Africa’s greatest horseracing spectacle once again proved to be a magical experience with a capacity crowd of 55 000 cramming the Greyville course in Durban to witness another epic clash in the country’s most famous race, the R3.5-million, Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July.

Not even a soggy and muddy outfield from overnight rain with the possibility of more to come could dampen the spirits of those stricken by July fever and the crowds streamed in from all parts of the country and from overseas. The fleshy displays of frills and folds, exotic headgear and dazzling colours adorned the long-legged models in the on-course fashion parade that traditionally sets the scene for this annual racing and entertainment extravaganza.

As a precaution to protect the hallowed turf on which the “big one” would be run late in the afternoon, the first two races on the card were abandoned. But when the action began it went straight into top gear with race after race, interspersed with a variety of entertainment, keeping the masses enthralled into the early evening and then partying into the night.

The “July magic” was palpable from the start but no stronger than when the 20 gladiators strode out confidently to the 2 200m starting position on the back straight for the country’s premier event. There was the customary deathly silence as the field was loaded and then the mighty roar as the bell rang and the Vodacom Durban July 2013 was underway.

There was the usual hustle and bustle as the runners fought for position in the run down to the Drill Hall with lightly-weighted, front-running Summer Cup winner Wagner leading the charge with E-Jet keeping him company. The field settled into its rhythm as riders gathered their thoughts and prepared for the final dash for the line when they swung into the home straight and headed for the judge.

Run For It, Jet Explorer, Do You Remember, Heavy Metal and No Worries had tracked the leaders along the rail as the race progressed and it was Anthony Delpech who kicked Jet Explorer into the lead coming off the false rail. The previous year’s winner Pomodoro, along with Shogunner, Punta Arenas and Wylie Hall were all in contention along with Run For It, the only filly in the race Do You Remember and Heavy Metal in the initial charge to the line – it looked wide open.

Jet Explorer made a gallant bid to retain his lead but could not hold off the fast-finishing trio of Run For It, Heavy Metal and Do You Remember and they were left to fight the final battle to the line where it was Heavy Metal who prevailed by a neck from Run For It with the filly a long head back in third place.

It was an historical moment in South African racing history as S’Manga Khumalo became the first black rider to win the Vodacom Durban July with Heavy Metal’s owner Chris van Niekerk and trainer Sean Tarry scoring a July “double” having won the race the previous year with Pomodoro. Khumalo had earlier won the Grade 1 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper for the Van Niekerk-Tarry team that had, prior to that, won the Grade 2 Mercedes-Benz Gold Vase with Kolkata ridden by Piere Strydom.

The Grade 1 Durban Golden Horseshoe was won by the Alec Laird-trained Judpot colt Forest Indigo with Beach Beauty from the Dennis Drier stable pulverising her opposition in the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes to complete the Grade 1 programme for the day.

Pomodoro wins from widest draw of all

Pomodoro roared into the Vodacom Durban July record books at Greyville yesterday, getting up in the final stride to pip the outsider Smanjemanje, giving Piere ‘Striker’ Strydom his third victory in the big race and the first for both trainer Sean Tarry and owner and breeder Chris van Niekerk. Tarry and Van Niekerk buried the memory of their close second with Buy And Sell in 2007 thanks to a brilliant ride by Strydom, and Pomodoro joined the likes of the top horses Dynasty and Flaming Rock to have won the race from the widest draw of all. However, it was a very close call as the Tyrone Zackey-trained Smanjemanje, a rank outsider at 50-1 ridden by July debutant Grant van Niekerk, came from behind to get his nose in front, only for Pomodoro to fight back and win by a whisker.

The Mike Bass-trained Chesalon finished third, giving Jeff Lloyd an amazing ninth third place finish in the big race. Lloyd flew out from Australia hoping to bury his July hoodoo and when his mount quickened well from midfield to hit the front close to home, he felt he could win the race. But Chesalon tired late and Lloyd had to hold him on a straight line as the horse began hanging in.

The Gavin van Zyl-trained Eton Square cocked a snoot at a few people by staying on strongly from a handy position for fourth place in just his fifth career outing, as there were some who felt he hadn’t done enough to justify his place in the final field. However, punters were left stunned when Jackson, who had been a hot favourite since the first nominations, found nothing in the straight having found a handy position from a wide draw. Jackson was slightly keen early on and that together with his weight of 57kg might have been his undoing.

Another surprise was that there were no Mike de Kock runners in the first four, although Solo Traveller and Vettel finished in the all important fifth and sixth places, with the Tote paying six places.

Jackson started 18-10 favourite while Ilha Bela was supported into 11-2 with English Garden and Gorongosa being the only other two in single figures at 15-2.
Pomodoro was a 20-1 shot.

Top Seller set the pace at a decent clip and there was a scramble for position with Jackson fighting the rider for a moment towards the outside. Strydom meanwhile chose to bide his time coming up the hill in the back straight on the outside of runners. Jackson managed to slot on to the rail as they came around the turn behind Top Seller and Vettel. Strydom then made his move and joined Jackson on his outside. Eton Square was also handy, Chesalon and Smanjemanje were in midfield positions, while the fancied Ilha Bela and Pierre Jourdan were both way back.

There was a calvary charge off the false rail and Pomodoro quickened well but then Chesalon appeared on the outside running on strongly with Smanjemanje also going well just on his inside. Jackson had found daylight but didn’t quicken in the fashion the public have become used to. Chesalon wobbled late and when Smanjemanje caught Pomodoro a massive upset looked on the cards, but the latter fought back and they went across the line as one. The replay showed that Pomodoro had got his head down at the right time to win by a nostril.
Tarry praised Strydom for the ride and said modestly that he couldn’t take much of the credit. In reality he did an amazing job in preparing the horse, giving him one Durban run in the Daily News 2000, having come off a hard run when sharing the Grade 1 SA Derby over 2 450m at Turffontein just five weeks earlier. A shoulder niggle on Pomodoro was discovered and sorted out after his Daily News run and Tarry reckoned in the build up to the big race that the three-year-old Jet Master colt had never moved better. Van Niekerk, a loyal owner of Tarry’s, was initially unsure whether he had won, but was thrilled when the result was displayed. Pomodoro was also bred by Van Niekerk.

Igugu wins

Igugu was the princess of Greyville yesterday when converting favouritism to win the Vodacom Durban July and stamp herself as one of the best three-year-old fillies ever seen in this country, but the race was marred by tragedy as the 2009 winner Big City Life had to be euthanized after breaking down past the post.

It was the second year in a row that the maestro trainer Mike de Kock and one of his chief stable jockeys Anthony Delpech had won the race and it was a fourth July win for both of them respectively.

Delpech joined Harold “Tiger” Wright and Anton Marcus as the only jockey to ever ride four July winners, while de Kock is fast on his way to matching the race’s training greats, Syd Laird (seven winners) and Terrance Millard (six).

It was an especially wonderful day for Andre and Joyce Macdonald, who splashed out R1 million to buy Igugu.
It was a double triumph for Mick Goss’ Summerhill Stud and their brainchild the Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Sale.

Igugu is by one of the world’s top stallions, Galileo, and was purchased in Australia by Mick Goss’ Summerhill Stud, who then put her on the Ready To Run Sale.

The second horse over the line, the Gary Alexander-trained Piere Jourdan, was bred by Summerhill and was also sold on the Ready To Run Sale, for a mere R60,000.

Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Mike de Kock’s chief client, later came into Igugu as a partner with Macdonald and she now runs in his colours.

The de Kock yard delivered a sucker punch when the horse that everybody thought would set the pace, Safwan, missed the break and was dropped out to last.

The race was very rough in the early stages and Black Wing appeared to be the chief sufferer.
Igugu was soon prominent and sat in second place the whole way after Happy Landing had gone to the front.
Emerald Cove, Bravura and the 2009 winner, Big City Life, were right there, while Piere Jourdan was in midfield.
In the straight Igugu delivered her famous kick to claim the advantage.

Pierre Jourdan, known around the country as “the People’s Horse”, emerged as the danger and put up a gallant effort to catch her, while all of the Glen Kotzen-trained Big City Life, the Mike Bass-trained English Garden and the Gavin van Zyl pair of The Apache and Bulsara were also putting up tremendous fights.
However, the superstar filly kept going superbly with her giant stride and won by a length from Pierre Jourdan, with English Garden a length further back in third.

The Apache was a further 0,15 lengths back, a shorthead in front of the surprise package of the race Bulsara.
Big City Life was courageous to the last and finished a shorthead further back in sixth.

The places paid out to the first six for the first time.

Delpech revealed that de Kock had told him that Safwan would not set the pace, but that he shouldn’t worry.
“He said to me ‘one will lead and you sit second’.”, he said, “I was so happy when I got a good position for free. I will never ride a filly as good this.”

De Kock said, “She has a culture of winning, she always wants to win. She has heart and things have gone so well into the race, we had to be quietly confident. Yebo Igugu!”

De Kock then took a swipe at South Africa’s trading partners, who make import, export and travel so difficult for our thoroughbreds due to African Horse Sickness, which is not a contagious disease and the chances of passing it to an overseas destination are practically nil.

“They should hang their heads in shame,” said de Kock.

An ecstatic Andre Macdonald said, “I can’t think straight and can’t tell u how I feel. They were coming at her and I thought they were going to catch her but everybody screamed and I think we all pushed her over the line.”
This was the tenth year of the Vodacom Sponsorship and in it’s first year the race was also won by a Mike de Kock-trained three-year-old filly, the great Ipi Tombe.

Igugu means “jewel” in Zulu and she was thus an appropriate winner in the year of two Royal Weddings and with the big day’s theme being “A Right Royal Affair”.

Bold Silvano wins

Bold Silvano and Irish Flame rounded off a brilliant season for champion trainer Mike de Kock as they thundered to victory in the R3 million Vodacom Durban July at Greyville yesterday. Roared on by a capacity crowd of 50 000 people, the two fought a thrilling duel down the home straight with Bold Silvano holding on to win by a length. Given a copybook ride by jockey Anthony Delpech, Bold Silvano kicked for home crossing the subway, getting first run on his stable companion Irish Flame ridden by Kevin Shea.

This move proved decisive as Bold Silvano battled all the way to the line to win by a length from Irish Flame with Orbison running on late to snatch third ahead of rank outsider Service Ace with the grey Happy Valley in fifth.

Bold Silvano started at 13-2 with Irish Flame the warm favourite at 33-10.

De Kock said post race that it was great to win a race with the State President, Jacob Zuma, in attendance. He also said that both Bold Silvano and Irish Flame had unbelievable preparations for the big race. “Nothing went wrong which is unusual for a July.”

Delpech said he was always travelling well and was going well at the top of the straight. “Kevin was just behind me and I thought that if I quickened up better than him I would win.”

This was victory number three for both De Kock and Delpech. De Kock had previously won with the brilliant filly Ipi Tombe and Greys Inn while Delpech had won on Classic Flag and also Greys Inn. For the people who believe in these things, Delpech’s three wins came six years apart and Bold Silvano carried saddle cloth number six.

For people’s favourite Pocket Power, it was not to be as the champion raced wide throughout and never got in a blow while his full sister River Jetez was also never seen in the race with a chance.

Massive excitement as Big City Life wins

Big City Life stormed to victory in the 2009 Vodacom Durban July, giving both trainer Glen Kotzen and jockey Greg Cheyne their first wins in the big race. The result confirmed the confidence of Kotzen, who had described the bay three-year-old colt as a “freak” in the lead up to the big race.

The horse had repeated the feat of the great Dynasty in winning all of the Grade 1 Cape Derby, the Grade 2 KRA Guineas, the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and the Vodacom Durban July in his three-year-old season.

Sired by Casey Tibbs, Big City Life was bred by Kotzen’s mother-in-law and was named by Kotzen’s young son, Kuyan.

The horse was sent to the Equimark Ready To Run Sale as a two-year-old and was bought by bloodstock agent, Tony Warren. The syndicate of owners Raymond Deacon, Andre Hauptfleisch, Glen Mitchell and Kotzen himself was then assembled. Before the July, Hennie Basson, a business partner of Andre Hauptfleisch’s, also became a shareholder.

The owners were ecstatic with the win. Deacon entertained the crowd with his animated celebrations before describing the win as a “dream come true.” He described how his love of horseracing had started as a young six-year-old and he recalled pretending to ride the July horse, Chichester, on the family couch during the radio commentary of the 1972 July.

The day brought disappointment for the legion of Pocket Power fans, who had flocked to the course hoping to see the six-year-old champion write yet another chapter in his great career. He ran a great race, considering the slow pace, but finished just out of the placings.

The first three places were filled by three-year-olds. This was a surprise to many pundits, who had questioned the strength of the three-year-old crop throughout the season. The second and third place finishers were 55-1 shot Zirconeum and 100-1 shot Forest Path, both trained by current champion trainer, Mike de Kock, and ridden by Anthony Delpech and Warren Kennedy respectively. Thundering Jet, a 70-1 shot who gave young Muzi Yeni his first ride in the big race, denied his Mike Bass yard stable companion, Pocket Power, the fourth place cheque. The quartet paid a massive R416533.20.

All four of the placed horses lay in handy positions in the running. Pocket Power came in for heavy support on course and started 12-10 favourite, while Big City Life started 11-2 second favourite together with Kapil. Big City Life broke very well and Greg Cheyne rushed him to the front where he secured the rail before Forest Path took over in front. Aluminium lay second, Big City Life third, Zirconeum fourth and Thundering Jet fifth.

As they turned for home Cheyne made the winning move as he angled Big City Life outward and sliced through a gap between the front two horses. The field resembled an arrowhead with Big City Life out in front as they charged down the straight. Zirconeum loomed up dangerously at the 300m mark, while Forest Path was also staying on.
Pocket Power and his sister River Jetez had started running on from behind on the outside, but the slow pace had left them with too hard a task.

In the latter stages Big City Life found extra and doggedly repelled Zirconeum to win by 0,75 lengths with Forest Path a further 1,25 lengths back. Thundering Jet was 0,75 lengths behind Forest Path. Pocket Power did well to come from as far back as he did to finish just a head behind the placed horses.

Big City Life had looked an absolute picture in the parade ring, with a brilliant shine to his coat, and it was no surprise to see him come home victorious.