The R300,000, Grade 3 Track And Ball Derby and R300,000, Grade 3 Track And Ball Oaks, both to be run over 2400m at Scottsville on Sunday, provide a last gasp opportunity for horses to impress the Vodacom Durban July final field panellists and these races are open to older horses these days so there are one or two July entries involved.
Mr Winsome, picture Nkosi Hlophe
In the Derby, the July supplementary entry Mr Winsome is a typically progressive four-year-old son of Silvano and he impressed in the Betting World 1900 when finishing best of all for a two length third, dead-heating with Grade 1 winner It’s My Turn to whom he gave 2kgs.
He will receive 2kgs from It’s My Turn in the July, so it will be difficult to leave him out if he wins on Sunday and with Anthony Delpech up from a good draw of four he looks the horse to beat. His only ever outing over this trip was over this course and distance, in his penultimate start, and he cruised in by five lengths. However, he was joint best in at the weights that day with the seven-year-old Serissa, but on Sunday has it a lot tougher.
Captain Splendid impressed when winning the Grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup over this trip at Greyville and he could follow up as that was only his second start around a right hand turn and he relished it. He was comfortably ahead of Ovidio, who had beaten him in the Gr 2 Cape Stayers over 2800m on Sun Met day.
Ovidio is the joint best weighted horse in Sunday’s race and has some fine staying form in Cape Town. He has to give the rest of the field at least 2kgs but has earned that penalty. He won the Listed Woolavington Handicap over this trip at Kenilworth last October with 62kgs on his back.
However, in his last start in the Highland Night Cup over this trip at Greyville he ran well below par and finished more than nine lengths behind the July runner Krambambuli. His previous form behind Krambambuli over 2800m shows that was not his race and if he bounces back to his best he will go close.
Mr O’Neill was beaten two lengths in the Lonsdale and is now 0,5kg worse off with Captain Splendid. However, he was caught wide the whole way in that race, while the winner had the run of the race. He has always been well regarded and has proved why since gelding. He will be a big runner here, especially if he can find cover from a tricky draw.
Helderberg Blue finished an outstanding second in the Gold Cup over 3200m last year and is joint best in at the weights here, so he should go close as his notorious temperament has improved recently.
Let It Rain cannot be ignored as he comes from the stable of the expert trainer of stayers, Weiho Marwing. He has good Highveld staying form and is progressive. His merit rating makes him under sufferance with the best rated here, but the Highveld stayers seem to have been treated more leniently than the Cape ones.
Sun On Africa has always struck as a staying type and after finishing third to Krambambuli in the Highland Night Cup he won a good race over 2000m so is going the right way.
Three Balloons has a plum draw but is the second lowest rated runner in the race. He will have to bounce back to his best.
Techno Captain is the lowest rated runner in the race but these staying races often defy the ratings and if he reproduces his best run over course and distance he could earn.
Mr Winsome is chosen to beat his stablemate Mr O’Neill with Captain Splendid third and Helderberg Blue and Let It Rain next best.
In The Oaks, Witchcraft defends her crown but has only had one run this season. However, she remains a July entry so must be in good shape.
The other July entry is Girl On The Run and she has never been over this trip before and was caught late after leading over 2000m last time. She is by Silvano out of a Badger Land mare, but her grandam is by Golden Thatch, so there is a stamina question mark. The Centenary has some class and is proven over the trip so she is selected to beat Patchit Up Baby with Girl On The Run, Zafira and Witchcraft next best.