Linebacker leads the field for South Africa’s first race, the Durban July Handicap

It’s a big weekend for international racing, but for a big racing country, it’s their biggest weekend of the year.

Saturday sees the organization of the Durban July Handicap, South Africa’s richest race. The 2,200 meter (about 1 3/8 mile) contest at Greyville Racecourse in Durban is the South African equivalent of the Kentucky Derby, Grand National, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe or Melbourne Cup – the race that attracts the most attention. non-racing fans.

It brings together the best 3-year-olds and the best aged horses and, as a handicap, it is very competitive for punters. So let’s take a look at the programming.

Most of the best three-year-olds are present. They have been relatively consistent this season. Probably the best was #10 Safe passage, who put on an outstanding performance to win the Daily News 2000 (G1). Other outstanding three-year-olds have been winners of the South African Classic (G1) #14 Saxon Redwinner of the South African Derby (G1) #1 AragostaCape Derby winner (G1) #8 Pump and Powerand Daily News 2000 fourth #7 Waterberry Lane.

Three former race winners are present: last year’s winner #13 Kommetdiewinner 2020 #11 Belgiumand #2 Do it againa seven-year veteran who won the race in 2018 and 2019. Do It Again rolled back the years by winning the World Sports Betting 1900 (G2) on May 14, while Kommetdieding earlier this season won the Sun Met (G1 ).

Kommetdieding was a little disappointing when he placed fifth in his last start, the Champions Challenge (G1) on April 30. The four horses before him that day — #17 Astrixthe filly #12 Sparkling waterborn in argentina #5 Puerto Manzanoand #18 Flying Carpet – are all back to oppose him. If Kommetdieding regains his Met form, he is right, even with 60 kg.

However, perhaps the most important preparation for the older horses will be the Gold Challenge (G1) in Greyville on June 11. It was won by #16 Al Mouthana from last year’s July finalist #4 Linebackerwith the winner of Queen’s Plate (G1) #9 Dark Jet third. Al Muthana hasn’t won beyond a mile and is a serious doubt at 2,200 yards, while Jet Dark can be hard to follow, but Linebacker looks set to run very well again.

A scraping allowed #19 Airway Law in the field, and he will not get out of it either, judging by his victory in the Cup Trial (G3) on June 11. Winner of several groups #15 Second Goal and winner of the Premier Trophy (G2) #3 Hoedspruit complete the field.

It’s a very, very difficult race to predict. But I’m going with Linebacker to do better – he’ll stick the trip, and he’s not bad at weight at 58.5kg. Safe Passage is probably the best of the three year olds, but I have a little more confidence in Pomp And Power at weights and distance. I’ll also add a sneaky airway law bet.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #4 Linebacker
  • $10 show: #19 Airway Law
  • $1 Trifecta: 4, 8 with 4, 8, 10 with 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 13, 19

Denise W. Whigham