Top draw for El Sahem
THE die is cast and the 18 top thoroughbreds to contest Africa’s greatest race, the R4.25-million, Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July over 2 200m at Greyville on July 1, have been announced.
With two reserve runners, the final field together with jockeys and barrier draws was revealed at a special function at Greyville yesterday and considering the recent July Log standings, there were no real surprises although the odd eyebrow might have been raised.
But it was the draw that threw the cat among the pigeons with second favourite Al Sahem drawing the plum gate at one while favourite Edict Of Nantes will have to jump from draw 13. There is little between the two on form them having fought out the finish of the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and apart from the draw, the Sean Tarry-trained Al Sahem has a 0.5kg weight advantage over his rival.
After his wide draw last year from which he won the race, Joey Ramsden drew three for The Conglomerate and Callan Murray will be flying back from Hong Kong to ride him while third favourite before the final field was announced, Elusive Silva, did not fare as well and will have to break from gate 15.
Black Arthur and Marinaresco will jump from gates eight and nine respectively with Ten Gun Salute at five and the filly Nightingale on his outside.
No jockey has been announced for Summer Cup winner Master Sabina, now with the Justin Snaith stable, but Gavin Larena will fly back from the United Kingdom to ride Brazuca, Callan Murray will return from Hong Kong for the race and Muzi Yeni will make his way back from Mauritius to throw a leg over Ten Gun Salute.
Graeme Hawkins, Gold Circle’s Marketing Executive, announced during the luncheon the exciting tote expectations for the big day including a guaranteed Pick 6 pool of R10-million which is expected to reach R11-million plus and a massive guaranteed Quartet pool on the Vodacom Durban July of R13-million which is expected to reach R15-million.
There will be place payouts on the first six placed horses and the pool for this bet is expected to reach R8-million.