“Barring bad luck, Jackson will take a lot of beating.”

That was the sentiment yesterday from top trainer Mike de Kock, whose training ring is just up the path from Brett Crawford, trainer of Jackson, the hot favourite for today’s Vodacom Durban July.

Jackson finished off his preparation with an easy canter on the sand at Summerveld yesterday morning and trainer Crawford declared his charge ready.

Alarmingly though, the colt has been on the drift in the betting. Late yesterday he was on offer at 22-10 after being as short as 14-10 before the draw for barrier positions was made.

Ominously, three of De Kock’s runners, Ilha Bela, Vettel and Gorongosa, were bracketed on 8-1 joint second favourites. Of the trio, Gorongosa has been the “money” horse, shortening from 20-1 earlier in the week.

However, Crawford, relaxed in front of a foreign media contingent, was quietly confident that he had got his charge spot on. Although expressing concern over Jackson’s wide draw and weight, he thought he had the best horse in the race.

De Kock agreed, declaring yesterday that the favourite would be hard to beat.

“I’ve been watching and I think Brett’s done everything right. Barring bad luck Jackson will take a lot of beating,” he said.

De Kock also heaped praise on Jackson’s rider, Karis Teetan. “He is one of the best three or four jockeys in the country so I don’t think there are any worries there.”

However, he was not giving much away on his runners. “They will have to go to beat Jackson, but my one benefit is that three of my four jockeys have been July winners so they know what it’s about.”

Independent on Saturday