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Scratched Zapatillas opens way for Airways Law

Gareth Wright will be riding reserve runner Airways Law after the scratching of Zapatillas.

Gareth Wright will be riding reserve runner Airways Law after the scratching of Zapatillas.

Published Jul 2, 2022

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Andrew Harrison

Durban - KRA Guineas winner Zapatillas will not take his place in today’s Hollywoodbets Durban July after he pulled up lame in his preparation for the race and was yesterday scratched by trainer Brett Crawford.

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His withdrawal came just in time for first reserve runner Airways Law to take his place and Andre Nel’s charge will jump from gate 6 and be ridden by regular pilot Gareth Wright, who has his first ride in the race. Many pundits were of the opinion that Airways Law should have been included in the original line-up, but how often does a reserve runner upset the odds? Bookmakers have priced Airways Law up at 25-1.

The lifting of all the Covid restrictions came a little too late to up-size “tent town”, but Gold Circle expect the numbers to swell at Hollywoodbets Greyville racecourse for the running of South Africa’s greatest horse race.

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Gold Circle marketing executive Stephen Marshall said pre-sales at Computicket were almost at 25 000, but he predicted a late rush and is expecting the crowd to swell to between 30 and 35 000, a comfortable number with elbow room for all.

Tickets can still be bought through Computicket but will be available at the gate at a cost of R230.

When the final 18-horse field was announced, the headlines were all about apprentice Rachel Venniker becoming the first woman to ride in the race. She was carded to partner Red Saxon for Highveld trainer Joey Soma. However, fate played a cruel blow as she was injured in a starting stall accident and was stood down for a mandatory two weeks with concussion.

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This left Soma hunting for a rider experienced around the Greyville circuit and the lot fell to Sereno Moodley, who will have his first ride in the race.

On the comeback trail is former Champion Jockey Piere Strydom who has been side-lined with a detached retina for almost a year. The 54-year-old Strydom had indicated that if he did not get a ride in this year’s July, he would probably retire 11 short of his goal of 6 000 winners.

But Justin Snaith, who has five runners in the race, threw him a lifeline and he will partner former July winner Belgarion. Just to show that he had not lost his edge, Strydom scored a narrow victory in the KZN Breeders Mile aboard the Snaith-trained Nexus. Strydom has won this race four times and a fifth would put him in a tie with Anton Marcus. Marcus has been out of action for some time and will miss riding in the race for the first time in many years.

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One of the doyens of South African racing, Michael Rattray, died earlier this year, his ambition of winning the July unfulfilled. However, Waterberry Lane will carry his famous red and white silks, and his wife Norma will be on hand to lead in Waterberry Lane should Dean Kannemeyer’s charge land the spoils.

On the betting front, Track & Ball CEO Colin Fourie said there had been a lot more interest in this year’s race for obvious reasons. He said there had been support for Vaughan Marshall’s runner Linebacker and the Mike de Kock-trained Aragosta, while stable companion Safe Passage was relatively friendless in the market. There had also been some money for Waterberry Lane.

One of the biggest betting moves on the card was for the Peter Muscutt-trained Bevies Delight in the Gr2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper. The race was being posted as a match between Maharanee and Sweet Pepper but Bevies Delight has been backed in from an opening call of 66-1 to 7-1 currently.

There are two big carryovers with the Pick 6 pool expected to reach R12 million and the Quartet pool on the Hollywooders Durban July expected to top R10 million.

For those at home, the meeting will receive extensive live coverage on SuperSport 4 (204) from 1pm to 5pm on DStv, all day on Galloptv.co.za and channel 240 on DStv.

Latest betting on the R5 million Gr1 Hollywoodbets Durban July due off at 4pm.

  • 4-1 Safe Passage
  • 5-1 Linebacker
  • 7-1 Pomp And Power
  • 8-1 Aragosta
  • 10-1 Do It Again
  • 25-2 Sparkling Water, Kommetdieding
  • 14-1 Hoedspruit
  • 16-1 Jet Dark
  • 20-1 Waterberry Lane
  • 25-1 Airways Law, Belgarion
  • 33-1 Al Muthana
  • 40-1 Red Saxon, Second Base, Flying Carpet
  • 66-1 Puerto Manzano, Astrix.

The Independent on Saturday

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