Get ready for the race of the decade or even the century. The 19 horses remaining on the card after the scratching of Magnificent Seven for the R4.25-million, Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July at the Hollywoodbets Greyville circuit in Durban on July 6 all produced smart performances at the compulsory July Gallops early this morning (Thursday).
Unlike in some years in the past when some trainers did not take the official gallops seriously, every horse that worked at Greyville or at their home base on the Highveld was put through a proper gallop and every one gave notice that they were in top condition and will be at their peak on the big day.
In addition to the positive performances among the runners at the gallops, Gold Circle and Hollywoodbets announced a R10-million, three-year sponsorship for the naming of the two courses in KwaZulu-Natal being known as Hollywoodbets Greyville and Hollywoodbets Scottsville.
This added to the electric atmosphere at the Theatre Of Champions as the 13 big race runners were put through their paces while attractive and beautifully dressed models paraded at the venue.
While all the gallopers showed themselves to be in top condition, the top horses in the betting like favourite Hawwaam, Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge looked outstanding. Hawwaam had an almost regal look about him as he worked with stable companion Soqrat and Do It Again worked with purpose and a demeanour of authority that made one marvel at the beauty of the thoroughbred.
It was Rainbow Bridge that set the best time over the final 400m when he stopped the clock in 22.65 secs with the Dynasty filly Lady In Black recording the second best time of 22.93 secs even though she appeared to be moving sedately through her work.
Head Honcho impressed with a solid piece of work and Legal Eagle, that has not inspired a great deal of confidence recently, looked sharp when moving with stable companion and reserve runner Zillzaal.
None of the runners could be faulted. In fact they all produced top-class work that shouts to all and sundry that the Vodacom Durban July of 2019 is going to be a fierce contest where, in spite of the looks of the top runners in the betting, the chances of a surprise result cannot be ruled out and the Quartet in this race, where the pool could reach R16-million, might well be the best bet on the day.
– Journalist: Richard McMillan