Race season for turf champions

THE first entries for this year's R3million Vodacom Durban July are due today as KwaZulu-Natal prepares to host Champions Season.

THE first entries for this year's R3million Vodacom Durban July are due today as KwaZulu-Natal prepares to host Champions Season.

First nominations are due by 11am but entries will only be revealed at a function to launch the season the following day.

There are also two supplementary entry stages, the first on Monday, June 7 and the second on Monday, July 5, but entry into the country's premier horse race becomes progressively more expensive.

This year's Vodacom Durban July will take place on July 31, the last day of SA's racing season, a fitting climax to Champions Season.

The Clairwood stables are filling rapidly as visiting trainers settle in their strings for Champions Season with former Vodacom Durban July winner Pocket Power arriving last Monday along with nine stable companions from the Mike Bass yard.

The balance of the Bass string arrived today and includes J&B Met winner River Jetez.

The first wave of horses from the Dean Kannemeyer yard have also taken up residence, including the Bloodstock SA Cape Guineas winner Noordhoek Flyer.

Justin Snaith has his first runner at Scottsville on Sunday where Maureen De Lago contests the Sunday Tribune Strelitzia Stakes (Grade 3) while Darryl Hodgson, once a familiar face in the KwaZulu-Natal trainers ranks before moving to Cape Town, has got off the mark with Play Nice winning at Greyville last week and due to face hot-pot favourite Imperious Star in the Sunday Tribune Umzimkhulu Stakes (Grade 3) also to be run at Scottsville on Sunday.

Champions Season will be launched at a function at Greyville Racecourse tomorrow but only gets under way with the running of the KRA Guineas (Grade 2) and KRA Fillies Guineas (Grade 2) on Sunday, May 2. - Gold Circle

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