Tips for Durban July

Lionel Derbyshire

Lionel Derbyshire

It will be the 111th Vodacom Durban July Handicap, the most prestigious and glamorous horse racing event in Africa, tomorrow at Greyville.

So, is the number 7 pointing to the final result in race 7, which is the R2500000 Vodacom Durban July Handicap?

If you are influenced by numbers, then horse number 7, which is a well-bred three-year-old gelding called Pick Six, will be your choice.

Or you might even follow the number seven starting stall which will be occupied by Badger's Gift, which is a long shot six-year-old mare.

If you not too sure which of the two to pick, then join Pick Six and Badger's Gift in a swinger, or each way bet by applying one of racing's oldest tricks number 7 and draw 7.

But if numbers are not your game then find the July 2007 winner in the form facts based on the last six performances of the top horses in the 2007 July class.

This year's July field is strong, but there can only be one or two or three winners and not a dead heat of 20 runners as all of the runners have winning chances.

The top form contender in this race is the five-year-old gelding Successful Bidder which has already beaten half of his opposition in the race in earlier clashes. Some have even been beaten twice by this winning machine trained by Gauteng-based trainer Sean Tarry.

You will have to be brave to bet against Successful Bidder as his last two wins were outstanding when beating National Spirit and Pocket Power at 58kg.

Successful Bidder will race at only 55kg for the July and is drawn at 15. According to trainer Tarry both of his runners have equal chances.

Successful Bidder was not disgraced in this year's J&B Met when finishing in fourth place against Pocket Power after suffering some interference during the running of that race over 2000m at Kenilworth.

Buy And Sell is coupled with Successful Bidder and this three-year-old gelding won his last three feature races by good margins.

This one has been beaten by Pick Six and Kildonan in earlier lower division races and the Tarry stable will be counting more on Successful Bidder.

Kildonan is currently the July favourite at 9-2 and is the only Mike de Kock runner in the race.

Kildonan is a three-year-old well-bred Rich Man's Gold colt which will have his first Greyville 2200m run and is drawn 14 with 55kg to shoulder.

In his last outing he was caught at the finish by Successful Bidder to finish in an eventual third place, but you can write that run off as a warm-up to the July.

Jockey Weichong Mawing will be making sure that Kildonan will go one better against Successful Bidder and a thrilling challenge is on the cards between these two runners.

The powerful Mike Bass stable has three winning contenders in Pocket Power, Hillgrove and the very dangerous Australian-bred Sun Classique.

Pocket Power's is the top weighted contender whose claim to fame is winning the J&B Met 2007 under a brilliant ride from jockey Jeff Lloyd.

This four-year-old gelding has a good draw and will have only his second run in KwaZulu-Natal after finishing in second place against Successful Bidder at Clairwood Park in his last run.

Trainer Bass is a little concerned about his workout at Greyville after the interference of recent rain in Kwazulu-Natal.

Bass won the July in 2005 and 2001 with Dunford and Trademark and is likely to have Pocket Power ready for Greyville.

Sun Classique is a definite winning contender with Piere Strydom in the saddle.

Hillgrove has not taken well to Greyville and was beaten twice by Successful Bidder over a mile.

This four-year-old gelding has scope for more improvement over this longer trip and should be considered as trifecta and quartet material.

There is also a lot of talk and fancy in the betting about the two J's, Jagged Ice and Jay Peg.

Jay Peg finished fifth to Successful Bidder in his last run and will be partnered by jockey, Jeff Lloyd.

Jagged Ice has the best of the draw and should finish strongly again for trainer Dean Kannemeyer who also has two memorable July wins with Eyeofthetiger last year and Dynasty in 2003.

Jagged Ice is an all sorts and can be anything on the day. This four-year-old gelding finished in seventh place against Successful Bidder after a strong late run from the back over 1600m.

Trainer Charles Laird has two runners in Hunting Tower and Pick Six.

Hunting Tower was beaten by Pick Six and Successful Bidder and could be found wanting again though Anton Marcus will be his pilot, so watch out!

Pick Six is currently in hot form and should stand up against Successful Bidder in their first clash.

The Woodruff stable cannot be ignored with Royal Air Force and the Mark Khan riding Ravishing which will be making a Greyville debut.

My selection is Successful Bidder from Pick Six, Kildonan, Sun Classique, Jay Peg and, of course, Pocket Power.

Singing Sword and Buy and Sell will try harder.

Don't miss the bet and enjoy the race at 16.20pm on Saturday!