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Sparkling Water sparkles at Hollywoodbets Durban July

Fans and punters egg their favourites on as Sparkling Water comes across the line in first place at the 2022 Hollywoodbets Durban July at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on Saturday

Fans and punters egg their favourites on as Sparkling Water comes across the line in first place at the 2022 Hollywoodbets Durban July at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on Saturday. Photo: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

Published Jul 2, 2022

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Cape Town — The homebred filly Sparkling Water, the proverbial rose amongst the thorns, left the Hollywoodbets Durban July field for dead as it won by four lengths at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.

The four-year-old Sparkling Water, racing in the famous Wilgerbosdrift silks of owner Mary Slack, was the lone filly in the 18-horse field. It was Slack's first Durban July winner, but as the daughter of Harry and Bridget Oppenheimer, she would have known what its like to be in the winner's enclosure since her parents owned a record six July winners.

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With jockey S'Manga Khumalo in the saddle, the slowish pace of the race suited Sparkling Water, who remained with the leaders early on before unleashing an unrivalled turn of speed about 50 metres from the finish.

For Mike de Kock it was a day for the history books since he was the trainer the last time a filly wore the winner's sash at a Durban July. The De Kock-trained Australian-bred superstar Igugu won in 2011.

It was De Kock's fifth July winner and a second for Khumalo, who in 2013 became the first black jockey to win the Durban July Handicap on the steed Heavy Metal. De Kock is now level with Justin Snaith who also has five July winners.

The minor placings in the R5 million Grade 1 field went to the Justin Snaith-trained and second-placed Jet Dark, who was followed by favourite Safe Passage (also trained by De Kock), and two-time previous winner (2020, 2019) Do It Again in fourth place.

The big Cape Town hope, Kommetdieding, last year's shock winner, finished fifth and might have done better, had little room to manoeuvre at the finish.

@Herman_Gibbs

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