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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

S'manga Khumalo made bosses proud at the Vodacom Durban July 2013!

Trainer Sean Tarry and owner Chris van Niekerk won the R3.5-million Vodacom Durban July at Greyville for the second year running when jockey S’Manga Khumalo drove the four-year-old Silvano gelding Heavy Metal across the finish line just a neck ahead of Run For It with the filly Do You Remember running a massive race to finish just a head back in third.

It was an historic moment in the 117-year history of Africa’s greatest race with Khumalo being the first black rider to win the iconic event and on a day that the 50 000-strong crowd stood together to honour ailing former president Nelson Mandela with a 67 sec tribute of prayer and the emotional singing of the South African National Anthem.

It will be a day that Tarry is never likely to forget being his second straight win in the race after Pomodoro did it for him last year and a payday that will have surpassed anything he had experienced before with stake earnings just over R2 800 000. 

The R2 093 759 winning stake from the Vodacom Durban July was boosted by the R375 000 from his win with the filly For The Lads in the Grade 1 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper and the R250 000 stake from his win with Kolkata in the Grade 2 Mercedes-Benz Gold Vase.

It was a great day for young Khumalo as well for it was he who partnered For The Lads in the juvenile race as well and with his Vodacom Durban July victory he has in the past year won three of the richest races in the country having taken the R2-million, Grade 1 Sansui Summer Cup at Turffontein in November and the R2-million, Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Challenge at the Highveld venue in April.

Possibly the most spectacular performance of the day was that of the brilliant mare Beach Beauty in the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes. Having been drawn wide at 16 and the going conditions there were some fears that she might be beaten on the day and Sean Cormack settled her in one off the rail just short of midfield. But when the field swept off the false race Cormack gave the daughter of Dynasty her head and she cut through the leading group in spectacular fashion to win as she liked and easing up by more than a length.

The Mike de Kock-trained Espumanti finished strongly for second place ahead of pacemaker Louvre with Princess Victoria filling the fourth place.

But it was a day that saw punters taking a considerable pummelling resulting in a Pick 6 dividend of R916 318.70 and a whopping Place Accumulator dividend of R30 840.10. The Quartet dividend on the Vodacom Durban July was R151 722.10.

The going conditions were said to be the reason for some of the unexpected results but after winning the 10th race with November Rain, trained Justin Snaith congratulated the Gold Circle track staff for the preparation of the surface and jockey Anthony Delpech said the track was “in good shape.”

The was the usual roar of the crowd as the big race field burst from the pens at the 2 200m mark and starting one of the lesser fancied members of the Tarry quartet at 16-1, Heavy Metal was smartly settled on the rail behind Run For It, Jet Explorer and Do You Remember as Wagner, as expected, set the pace. Favourite Capetown Noir was racing halfway back in the field waiting for the home straight to make a move.

Coming off the false rail where a number of horses like Jet Explorer, Pomodoro, Wylie Hall Shogunnar and Punta Arenas were still in contention, the real race was on and Run For It, Do You Remember and Heavy Metal moved through to fight out the finish. Run For It looked the likely winner as they stormed down the straight but young Khumalo asked for just a little extra from Heavy Metal and the Premier’s Champion Challenge winner responded with a final effort that propelled him to the front to win by a neck.

The filly Do You Remember from the Geoff Woodruff yard ran an incredible race under Robbie Fradd finishing more than a length ahead of No Worries that beat Jet Explorer by about a head for fourth place. Whiteline Fever held off Capetown Noir who was brought down the outside of the field for sixth place.

With the first two races on the card being abandoned to protect the racing surface for the feature events, the Grade 3 Mango 2200 got the meeting under way and was won by the Jet Master gelding Master Plan under Kevin Shea from the Alec Laird stable ahead of Patriotic Rebel and Gold Onyx. Favourite River Crossing failed to reproduce his previous two winning efforts and finished down the field.

The Mercedes-Benz Gold Vase was reduced in length from 3 000m to 2 400m due to the damage done to the course at about the 2 600m point by vehicles crossing the track. Canterbury Tale from the Mike de Kock stable was favourite to win but disappointed as the Tarry-trained Kolkata under Piere Strydom stormed through to win from Knight To Remember and Blake.

The Vaughan Marshall-trained Happy Valentine was the hot favourite to win the Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper and jockey Sean Veale took the Silvano filly to the front at a strong gallop from the start. Recently changing hands for a reported R3-million and now owned by Vanashree and Anant Singh together with Team Valor International, Happy Valentine led the field over the subway in the straight but a possible combination of the yielding going and the 1 400m trip found her faltering and she faded to finish seventh as For The Lads won by a length from Along Came Polly with Masked Lady a head back in third.

The favourite for the Grade 1 Durban Golden Horseshoe, Captain Of All from the Dennis Drier yard, nearly pulled off the front-running charge that Happy Valentine failed to do in the previous race and he led under Sean Cormack right up to the closing stages where he was caught in a photo-finish short head by the Alec Laird-trained Judpot colt Forest Indigo with Kochka from the Alyson Wright stable flying up for third.

It is seldom that a major meeting passes without a winner coming from the Mike de Kock stable and the champion trainer won the Listed Thukela Handicap with the three-year-old Argentinean-bred gelding Lehaaf and the and the eThekwini Sprint with Desert Sheik. After the latter De Kock congratulated Tarry for his big race double win and acknowledged that Tarry could possibly be ahead of him in the champion trainer battle.

However, things could still change with three weeks of racing still to go including Super Saturday at the end of the month with a number of feature races headed by the Ladbrooks Gold Cup.

The KZN Yearling Sale Million that brought the meeting to a close was won by Ace Antonius trained by
Vaughan Marshall and ridden by stable jockey MJ Odendaal. Jimmi Choo ran another gallant race for second ahead of On The Nod and 40-1 chance Van Der Scaler.

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