The first of the really big Vodacom Durban July big guns flexes his muscles this weekend on KZN turf and the outcome will have an effect on the betting when it re-adjusts in the days afterwards.
It’s the World Sports Betting 1900, a Grade 2 event over 1900m at Greyville on Sunday where last year’s July winner Belgarion makes his KwaZulu-Natal debut as part of his big-race preparations.
Back in the day this event was a strong pointer towards the July, but in recent times the formline hasn’t been as reliable, although the result is nevertheless worth digesting. Belgarion in fact won the WSB 1900 last year before going straight into the July and winning that too, helped by his weight of 53kg. This year he’s going to be near the top of the weights, which is probably why he’s currently trading at 10/1 in the July betting.
But, first things first and the WSB 1900.
Tristful finished to Belgarion in the 1900 last year and went on to finish second in the July consolation on the big race day as well.
Belgarion is the obvious standout on paper and comes into the race after a 106-day rest, having finished second in the Cape Town Met behind Rainbow Bridge. He was third in the Queen’s Plate before that, which came off the back of six successive wins, including the WSB 1900 and the July “double”. He’s an eight-time winner from 12 starts and has a merit rating 130.
All of which tells the story why he is 9/10 in the betting.
Given the nature of the opposition and the fact that he is, despite carrying 62kg the best weighted, he should come through for his supporters but I’m not taking the 9/10 on offer. He will probably only be 80 percent fit and while that should be enough here, I prefer to sit this out from a betting perspective. However, if you’re prepared to take the 9/10 for him to win here, then the 10/1 on offer for the July looks a steal because if he wins he will be cut into single figures come Monday.
The dark horse has to be the promising filly She’s A Keeper and she receives 12kg from Belgarion, although having said that she’s still some 8kg out at the weights. But she does have Warren Kennedy in the saddle and he’s riding for all his worth ahead of a pending permanent move overseas.
I should, but won’t banker Belgarion in the Pick Six, and will be looking at stablemate Doublemint as the possible upset. He ran on nicely when winning his last start over the Kenilworth mile and will prefer this rip. He has had his problems and is nearer seven-years-old than six, but from a handy draw can’t be completely discounted.
Yes, Belgarion should win, and win handily and don’t be put off by the fact that stable jockey Richard Fourie has opted to ride the front-running Crown Towers. If you watch the Justin Snaith bookings closely, yes Fourie is given first choice of ride for the stable, but he also has an agreement to ride horses owned by Nic Jonsson and I’m guessing this is why he’s on Crown Towers and not Belgarion.
This last week saw jockey Lyle Hewitson hit the 200 winners for the season mark and he’s riding with confidence and determination. He has picked up the ride on Zillzaal in Sunday’s race and could be one for the back end of the quartet.
The East Cape Derby is at Fairview on Friday and Bass Racing, partnered by GGGaming, has a presence in the improving three-year-old filly Swazi Queen. There is confidence about her ability to finish in the top three.
The next Cape meeting is on Monday and Kariba Hall in race five could be the horse to point all your doubles and trebles towards.