General News

And now for the Durban July!

Owner Nick Jonsson will be optimistic Piere Strydom will be roughing up his hair again after the Hollywoodbets Durban July in just over a month’s time. Strydom took the liberty after See It Again won the Grade 1 Splashout Derby at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth in January and there was no holding back on Saturday as Jonsson led in his colt after an emphatic victory in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000, one of the major pointers to the continents biggest race. It was also a triumph for Michael Roberts who became the first KwaZulu-Natal-based trainer to win the Daily News 2000 in 13 years after Gavin van Zyl-trained The Apache in 2011. Headed for retirement some six months ago, Strydom’s career has taken on a new lease of life as the big horses and big races have come his way. Topping that current list is cracking three-year-old See It Again. After Saturday’s triumph, See It Again will be a short-priced favourite for the July as Roberts bids for the double of having ridden and trained a July winner. Strydom will be hoping for his fifth win in the race and Jonsson his third, but there are still a few weeks of sleepless nights ahead. Strydom issued an ominous warning to the opposition. “You’re almost forced to sit further back than you want to because he doesn’t jump so well. “But Muis said to me rather let him relax at the back and let him run on. Sometimes there is not much you can do and you just hope your horse is good enough. But when I shook him up at the mile because I thought ‘we can’t get out of our ground’ I could feel straight away there was an engine underneath. “I still think there is a bit of meat left in the tank so I think he can peak for the July,” concluded Strydom. Roberts commented: “My main worry was to bring him here in tip top condition which we did. We had a couple of nerve-wracking days with him but you know he’s such an easy horse to work with.” Jonsson was lavish in his praise for apprentice Rachel Venniker who rides the horse in work every morning for showing great maturity and a good attitude after being replaced in the irons by Strydom. Second was pacemaker Dave The King with Without Question and Cousin Casey in the minor placings. In earlier races, Rain In Holland remained unbeaten at Hollywoodbets Greyville, having won the Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes as a two-year-old, coming from an almost impossible position, and two years later it was a little easier in the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000. S’manga Khumalo always had the favourite handily placed before taking the shortest way home as Sean Tarry’s filly scored the 11th win of her career. Time Flies and last year’s Woolavington winner Silver Darling filled the shallow end of the purse and it’s on to the Hollywoodbets Durban July for Rain In Holland. In the recent past, Ant Mgudlwa was a good jockey with limited opportunity. That has all changed since he joined forces with KZN Champion Trainer Gareth van Zyl and the pair reaped further rewards as Mgudlwa rode a classic front-running race on Sea Master to win the Grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup. Drawn No 12, Sea Master was angled in to hit the front before the Drill Hall and was not for the catching as Mgudlwa set his own pace before sprinting for the line. Aragosta loomed dangerous but failed to peg back the leader with a late charging Raiseahallelujah relegating him to third. – Gold Circle

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