Selections for South Africa’s hottest racing event, the Durban July, were made this week, and – as expected – there were no grand surprises. A total of twenty horses were chosen for the final field of the R3.5 million Durban July Handicap, consisting of 16 horses which form the final field and another 4 reserves. The race’s Gold Circle Board has said that if there are any scratchings before the official day – July 4th – these reserves will take their spot.
The Durban July attracts a large number of South African gamblers who enjoy a flutter on one of the most popular sporting events on the country’s sports calendar. One of this year’s betting favorites, Legislate had a wide circle draw at 14, while another favorite, Rake Chestnut, had a draw of stall gate 5. Rake Chestnut’s draw should be of particular pleasure to the horse’s trainer Geoff Woodruff and jockey Anton Marcus, with Marcus bidding to win his fifth July. Legislate fans were left disappointed with the horse’s wide draw in the Durban July. Legislate, who is 4-1 co-favorite, will be be ridden by Richard Fourie who has not yet managed a place in the four previous July rides in which he has participated.
Another disappointing draw was Cherry on the Top, last season’s Triple Tiara winner, on barrier 7.
Owners of the 30 horses who were keen to have their horses run in South Africa’s most prestigious race, paid R28,500 each for the possibility, with the Gold Circle Board informing them of its decision earlier this week. Those who were not picked were refunded their money. .
Punters spent a worrying period waiting to hear if Durban July favorite, Futura, would be given the green light to run after the horse narrowly missed justifying favoritism in Clairwood’s Cup Trial. .
According to Lance Michael, a bookmaker from Gauteng: “The biggest price we have laid about Futura is 25-1 so those who took those odds are sitting pretty right now.”