Top draw for El Sa­hem

The Star Early Edition - - RACING - RICHARD MCMIL­LAN

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.

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