RACE 3 – Splashout 2200 (Grade 3) – 2200M

The Futurist
Age: 5 (at last run)
Sex: g
M/Rating: 104 (at last run)
Owner: Pete & Janet Carolin, Messrs T Gujadhur & J M Lim Fat, Mrs G MacGregor & Mr A G & Mrs D Turk
Breeding: Futura – Black Mischief by Black Minnaloushe (USA)

The Futurist is not the easiest horse to predict how he will run on any given day. He has to be in the mood, as to have a decent draw, a good rapport with his jockey and has to get to the lead. However, if he is in the mood on Saturday and gets to the lead, he could run above his Merit rating.

The Brett Crawford-trained five-year-old Futura gelding has the rapport with Anthony Andrews and is drawn handily at seven. He will try and lead, and with the short Greyville straight there is a good opportunity for him to lead this field into the stretch. If Anthony can keep him balanced and time his fractions the field might struggle to peg him back.

He ran an incredible race in the Pocket Power Stakes (Grade 3) at his last start, winning by a massive nine lengths where he dictated from the front and ran on all the way to the line. He races under sufferance only versus Hluhluwe (a scratching from the Hollywoodbets Durban July where he was an emergency acceptor) and with the light weight so could be a live runner here at a big price.

RACE 3 – Splashout 2200 (Grade 3) – 2200M

Pomodoro’s Jet
Age: 5 (at last run)
Sex: g
M/Rating: 93 (at last run)
Owner: Khaya Stables (Pty) Ltd
Breeding: Pomodoro – Gorgeous Al by Captain Al

Pomodoro’s Jet has it all to do at the weights. Despite having a good galloping weight, a reasonable draw and in form Kabelo Matsunyane in the saddle, he is only rated a 93 and meets most of the field under marginal sufferance. In his last run he seemed to need the run, staying on to finish a good fifth in the Grade three Jubilee Stakes over 1800M.

He would have come on from that run and will strip a much fitter horse on Saturday. However, he will be going the over the 2200M for the first time which should suit him on the way he finishes his race although he faces stronger on Saturday.

He will therefore have to run above his current merit rating and will need Kabelo to be at his brilliant best to extract every ounce from the gelding which saw him collar Kitchakal under a good ride from Craig Zackey at Kenilworth in March 2024. Hitting a little flat spot at the top of the straight, he regained his stride at the 400M to hit the line hard and win going away. If he stays up with the pace and hits his straps in the straight with his customary kick, he will be running at the leaders strongly in the last 200M on Saturday.

RACE 5 – Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper (Grade 2) – 1400M

Fatal Flaw
Age: 2 (at last run)
Sex: f
M/Rating: 92 (at last run)
Owner: ASSM Racing Syndicate (Nom: Mr A Chadha)
Breeding: New Predator (AUS) – Alinga (AUS) by Rock of Gibraltar (IRE)

Fatal Flaw has done very little wrong in her 4 racecourse appearances. In her first run she was green but ran on well in a 1200M down the Vaal straight finishing four lengths off Across the Pond. She then ran a close second to Queen of Fire, finally breaking her Maiden at her third start beating Oxalis Gold comfortably in her first run around the turn despite still showing a tinge of greenness. She then ran a very good second to the rated Tarry filly World of Alice just being run down in the last fifty metres to lose by a short head in a Juvenile Plate over 1600M. She reverts to the 1400M on Saturday but has a wide draw and a lower merit rating than most of the field to overcome, especially with the conditions of the race meaning that all the runners carry 60 kilograms.

She will therefore not only have to overcome her wide draw but will have to run above her merit rating to feature in this field. However, the magic of Pierre Strydom in the saddle, coupled to the drop in distance and her propensity to enjoy racing up with the pace, could see her run a forward race for her owners.

RACE 7 – Hollywoodbets Durban July (Grade 1) – 2200M

Winchester Mansion
Age: 5 (at last run)
Sex: g
M/Rating: 124 (at last run)
Owner: Drakenstein Stud (Nom: Mrs G A Rupert)
Breeding: Trippi (USA) – Sea Point by Spectrum (IRE)

The Crawford Racing trained five-year-old Trippi colt, Winchester Mansion, will be trying to become one of a select few that has won the Hollywoodbets Durban July two years in succession. Last year he won the race after a sterling duel with See It Again, getting the better of the Michael Roberts colt in the last 100M to give Kabelo Matsunyane his maiden Grade One victory.

His two runs post his win in the July were fair, finishing 1 length and 4 lengths respectively off Puerto Manzano and Royal Victory. He was then rested for five months, coming back to the racecourse in the Grade One World Pool Premier’s Champion Challenge over 2000M at Turffontein Racecourse in Gauteng.

He took up the running strongly in the last 200M just running out of puff in the last 100M to be collared on the line by Royal Victory at level weights. With that run under the belt after the layoff and receiving 1.5 kilograms from Royal Victory on Saturday he should be right in the firing line when the whips are cracking in the last 200M, and a second successive Hollywoodbets Durban July victory is not out of the question.

RACE 7 – Hollywoodbets Durban July (Grade 1) – 2200M

Oriental Charm
Sex: Colt Age: 3
Breeder: Cheveley Stud
Owner: Messrs Greg Bortz & Leon Ellman & Ms Gina Goldsmith

Oriental Charm’s run in the Cape Splashout Derby announced himself as a possible contender for the Hollywoodbets Durban July when he ran three lengths off current favourite Green With Envy. In his previous run he finished just over five lengths behind the same horse receiving six kilograms from Green With Envy, but in the Derby, he was just over three lengths behind, at level weights.

His next two runs were even more impressive, when in the World Sports Betting 1900 (Grade 2), at Greyville Racecourse, he went out and made the running, only to be caught in the shadow of the post by Future Swing. He has a three-kilogram swing in the weights with the Snaith inmate for a 0.3 length beating, which theoretically should see him finish ahead of the Richard Fourie mount.

His last run was arguably his best in the Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial. Giving weight to the entire field as the highest merit rated horse in the field, and jumping from a ten draw, he took up the running soon after the start. Under a perfectly judges ride from JP V’D Merwe, he continued finding all the way down the lane, hitting the line in workmanlike fashion to win by over a length.

Oriental Charm has improved race by race during his campaign in KwaZulu Natal and seems to be ready to run a big race in the Hollywoodbets Durban July on Saturday. The Dean Kannemeyer trained colt Green With Envy deserves his place at the top of the boards, but the improvement that the Messrs Greg Bortz, Leon Ellman & Ms Gina Goldsmith three-year-old colt has shown coupled to the weight turnaround with his main protagonists, and this being his third run after a three-month break, puts Oriental Charm alongside the favourites with a definite winning chance.

RACE 8 – Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes (Grade 1)

Happy Chance
Age: 4 (at last run)
Sex: f
M/Rating: 112 (at last run)
Owner: Hollywood Syndicate (Nom: Mr A Delpech)
Breeder: Ridgemont Highlands
Trainer: Brett Crawford
Breeding: Dynasty – Three Blue Cranes by Captain Al

In her final start of 2023, Happy Chance ran an exceptional race, dueling the East Coast Cup winner Saartjie all the way down the straight before succumbing in the final strides in the Grade three Victress Stakes. However, this Hollywood Syndicate owned four-year-old filly Happy Chance has had an indifferent start to her 2024 racing campaign. At her first start in 2024, over 1800M at the Kenilworth Racecourse, she finished just over a half a length off the highly regarded Beach Bomb and superstar filly Princess Calla in the Grade One Cartier Paddock Stakes.

Since then, she has had two relatively average runs, a layoff, and at her last start over 1400M at the Greyville track, she finished fifth, just over five lengths off the highly regarded Double Grand Slam in the Grade 2 East Coast Tibouchina Stakes. On Saturday she is back over her more favoured 1600M trip and with Kabelo back in the saddle and a very favourable draw of one and the run back after the four-month layoff, she should strip a much fitter horse.

The conditions of the race mean that she does have to give weight to fillies that have a higher merit rating than what she does, but the one draw and going the slightly longer distance could negative weight differentials. Double Grand Slam receives weight from Happy Chance despite being the highest MR horse at 118 vs Happy Chance MR of 112. However. if Happy Chance can be well positioned soon after the start, she will be running on strongly in the Greyville straight and 25/1 is great value for a filly that ran 0.3 lengths off Princess Calla in receipt of a half a kilo in a Grade One.

RACE 9 – Post Merchants (Grade 2)

At My Command
Age: 4 (at last run)
Sex: g
M/Rating: 119 (at last run)
Owner: Khaya Stables (Pty) Ltd
Breeding: Querari (GER) – Imperious Girl by National Emblem

I am Giant’s last run in the Grade 1 Golden Horse Sprint at Scottsville Racecourse was a brilliant run (he’s the second nose from the left in the above picture). Despite racing under sufferance versus most of the field, he sat up with the pace, running on strongly under a top ride from Kabelo Matsunyane with four horses flashing past the post as one.

In his penultimate run he finished 0.4 lengths off Lucky Lad in the Senor Santa Stakes, and therefore his merit rating has been increased from 104 two runs ago by a hefty 14 points to a 118 which he runs off on Saturday. He prefers racing up with the pace, and therefore his barrier position of fourteen will be a disadvantage especially around the tight Greyville circuit with its short run in.

However, despite the draw, the Hollywood Syndicate owned colt is very consistent, has the hands of Kabelo to settle him and negotiate the draw, and has the gate speed to jump well and settle just off the pace. His last run was a particularly good one and there is no reason to think that he cannot improve again despite the increase in his merit rating and give the horses at the top of the betting boards a run for their money.

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