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Not even a juicy apple or crunchy carrot could distract the great Jackson from his goal of winning the Vodacom Durban July this weekend.
In fact, he doesn’t even |like carrots and one bite of |the apple was enough for him before his expression changed to one of disdain, as if to |say: “Apples are for children’s ponies, not great champions like me” before spitting it |out.
Long-time friend and groom, Zamulungiswa Tengwa, who has known the colt since he arrived at Summerveld two years ago, says he is strong and will run a good race.
Trainer Brett Crawford says Jackson, the favourite for the annual race and fashion fest on Saturday, relishes the challenge.
“I’ve never known a horse who asserts himself like he does when he arrives at a race meeting. His whole demeanour changes.
“He’s a showman and has presence. He knows when the cameras are out and he knows he is a champion.”
The trainer also dismisses any concerns about the draw which sees the imposing three-year-old son of Dynasty having to emulate his famous father by winning the race from the wide draw which is now at 16 after Seal and Bulsara scratched late last week.
And how does Crawford feel about coming up against the long-time Durban July-winning trainer Mike de Kock’s star filly Ilha Bela, who was also drawn badly at 19?
“I believe you are only as good as your horse. Jackson is the best horse in the race.
“He is at peak fitness and since the day he got here as a colt he has been an absolute professional.
“His preparation has been flawless and he is still good enough to win despite the draw,” said Crawford.