Cape Town - Horseracing legend Michael 'Muis' Roberts and veteran jockey Piere 'Striker' Strydom will be looking to enter the history books at the 2023 Hollywoodbets Durban July at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday 1 July.
Roberts, an 11-time South African champion jockey, rode the 1997 Durban July winner Super Quality. He is now looking to enter the winner’s enclosure as a trainer of ante-post favourite See It Again.
Roberts will be relying on Strydom to land the winner's crown of Africa’s greatest horseracing event. Strydom is a four-time winner of the race (2016, 2012, 2001, 1996), and will be looking to equal the five wins by Anton Marcus (1993, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2018). Strydom shares the July four-wins tag with Harold 'Tiger Wright and Anthony Delpech.
The chestnut See It Again won the Daily News last month and also has a chance to make it into the history books by landing a double should it win the Durban July. Only three horses have claimed that double. They are Dynasty (2003), Big City Life (2009) and Legislate (2014).
The capacity field of 20, including 2 reserves for the 127th renewal of the Hollywoodbets Durban July on Saturday 1 July, was announced on Tuesday.
Champion trainer Justin Snaith, with five runners in the 18-horse field, holds a strong hand in this year’s R5 million Gr1 race, over 2200m on Saturday, July 1 when a full house of 55 000 people is expected through the turnstiles.
There were 23 runners left at final acceptances and the three which failed to make the cut were Aragosta, Union Square and Electric Gold. Nebraas and Jimmy Don were awarded the status of the two reserve runners. They will come into play should any one of the final 18 be withdrawn prior to Friday, June 30.
The race will have an international flavour with Mike de Kock engaging a champion Belgian jockey based in France, Christophe Soumillon, to ride Safe Passage.
Soumillon arrives on the Friday before the race and jets out shortly after. Safe Passage was a close-up second to Puerto Manzano in the G1 Betway Summer Cup.
Puerto Manzano was always an automatic entry after that win, but gave notice of his well-being by recently winning the Gr3 WSB Jubilee Stakes for Johan Janse van Vuuren.
Top weight Trip of Fortune was supplemented into the race with his connections forking out R30 195 for the privilege of running in the race, despite being allotted top weight of 60kg and never having run further than 1600m. Aldo Domeyer will be aboard for trainer Candice Bass-Robinson.
Bernard Fayde’Herbe, with a riding infraction hanging over his head in Mauritius, has been given the green light to partner Pomp And Power for Justin Snaith.
A twice winner of the race, the Snaith-trained Do It Again completed his preparation in the recent Gr1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge. This will be his record sixth run in the race and Gavin Lerena, successful on Kommetdieding in 2020, will be aboard.
Also in the Snaith armoury is Without Question, beaten odds-on favourite in the Gr1 SplashOut Cape Derby, third in the Gr1 Daily News 2000 and winner of the Gr3 Variety Club Mile. First-call stable rider, Richard Fourie, had the pick of the Snaith runners so his decision could be significant.