Vodacom Durban July Gallops

Vodacom Durban July Gallops

Pierre Jourdan kicked off the morning, partnered by Mystic Tigress. Image: Candiese Marnewick Racehorses being walked after arrival, in the parade ring at Greyville. Image: Candiese Marnewick Tales Of Bravery with companion All Is Secret. Image: Candiese Marnewick

This morning saw the running of the annual Vodacom Durban July Gallops on a beautiful fresh and bright morning, which saw the event being well attended by the public, with binoculars, race-cards, coffee and sticky buns in hand. The big race day will take place 7 July.

Amongst the crowd were the models with their ensembles for the theme “A Material World”, as well as Heather Morkel and her very neatly dressed students from Summerhill Stud’s School Of Excellence, who all thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to attend the early morning at the gallops.

Pierre Jourdan was first out on the course with Robbie Fradd, accompanied by stable companion Mystic Tigress, ridden by Muzi Yeni. Pierre Jourdan put up an impressively good gallop, running the 800m in 47.97. The big Summerhill-bred gelding, a R60 000 two year old who has now earned well over R4-million ran second in this race to Igugu last year and looks to have a chance and his new owners must be looking forward to the big day ahead.

Grade 2 Drill Hall Stakes winner, Tales Of Bravery by Kahal, was giving nothing away under Felix Coetzee. With his galloping partner All Is Secret, under Anton Marcus, the two kept together down the straight. He is a typical son of Kahal – besides being a big brown bay, he is strong and workmanlike.

The pre-recorded gallops shown after Greyville were that of the two KZN-breds, Smanjemanje and Eton Square.

Another son of Kahal, Smanjemanje, Johannesburg’s giant killer, put up pleasing work in his official televised Vodacom Durban July gallop on the Turffontein sand on Tuesday and trainer Tyrone Zackey said he was very pleased with his overall preparation. Zackey gave Smanjemanje a break after the Champions Challenge, so was very happy with his staying on three lengths third in the Grade 3 Jubilee over 1800m last time out.

Students from the School Of Excellence, Summerhill Stud, enjoying the morning gallops amongst the crowd with Heather Morkel. Image: Candiese Marnewick Models and the morning crowd. Image: Candiese Marnewick Sangoma making his prediction this year. Image: Candiese Marnewick

“He still needed it and he had to carry 60kg,” he said. “You don’t want to overcook a July horse. The July has been his mission and he will come on from that run.” Zackey added, “There has been no pressure on him to win any races to get into the July, thank goodness.” Smanjemanje will be 5kg better off with the Jubilee winner Eton Lad. Zackey has prepared him especially for the tight Greyville track. He has shortened his work, wary that he will need an instant turn of foot at the top of the short 450m straight. Karl Zechner substituted Smanjemanje’s big race jockey Grant van Niekerk for Tuesday’s gallop.

“It was a very nice gallop,” said Zackey. “We didn’t push him too hard as he is super fit.” Regarding his draw of 11, Zackey said, “He will be out of the trouble. The jockeys are all trying to find the fence, but you need a lot of gate speed to do that from his draw and he hasn’t got that.” Zackey described how rough a race the July often was, but this didn’t decrease his confidence in the inexperienced Van Niekerk, who will be having his first July ride.

“The horse and rider go very well together,” he said. “I have confidence in the rider especially on that horse.” Smanjemanje finished a good fourth in the Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes over 1600m at Clairwood as a two-year-old. However, he choked up in one of his subsequent races and was found to have a soft palate. A Cornel Collar was fitted, while he was also gelded, and Zackey said these measures brought tremendous improvement.

Smanjemanje ran disappointingly in the J&B Met with van Niekerk aboard in January, but Zackey reckoned that race could be ignored. “It’s a helluva journey to get to the Met. Then he pecked coming out of the pens and took a big bump before he could recover. Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong, so he wasn’t disgraced finishing eight lengths behind a champion filly like Igugu. I think he will do quite well and will hold his own provided he gets luck in running.”

After the Gallops were concluded everyone gathered to see the Sangoma make his prediction. After throwing his shells he stated that third place would be Ilha Bela, second to Jackson (current favourite) and the winner would another Summerhill-bred, Smanjemanje. Following that conclusion an informative panel discussion comprising of Kevin Shea, Gavin Van Zyl, Garth Puller and Paul Lafferty gave the crowd insight into who they thought was in with a shout this year.

Gavin Van Zyl is confident of Eton Squares’ (by Miesque’s Approval) chances and puts him not far behind the favourite. Eton Square has had just four starts, winning two (including the recent Gr 3 Jubilee Handicap) and two close seconds. He defeated Smanjemanje into third, with Grade 1 winning Seal finishing 6th behind him.

The July favourite Jackson appeared last, partnered with another July entrant Polar Bound. The crowd all stood and moved closer to get a better look at him and he didn’t disappoint, with a murmur of approval given after they passed the finish line. However Jackson has a wide draw of 18 to overcome and he certainly has competition from the KZN-breds on the day!

Panel discussion comprising of Kevin Shea, Gavin Van Zyl, Garth Puller and Paul Lafferty. Image: Candiese Marnewick Gallops. Image: Candiese Marnewick The finish line, every owners' dream. Image: Candiese Marnewick

View our complete gallery of photos of the Gallops at Greyville today on our Facebook page, follow the link.

Information source courtesy of www.goldcircle.co.za

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