ANTHONY Delpech says the Vodacom Durban July is the race the jockeys of South Africa most want to win and is bullish about his chances this year aboard the Mike de Kock-trained Bold Silvano.
“You can see in the jockeys’ room before the race how much each jockey wants to win it,” he said. “You can see the focus on each of their faces.”
Delpech mentioned pre-race nerves too, but added, “I wouldn’t be a jockey if I did not feel them, but they don’t affect me. I am beyond that stage and I have won the race before too, so I know what it takes to win it.”
Delpech won in 1998 with the David Ferraris-trained Classic Flag and in 2004 with the de Kock-trained Grey’s Inn.
Delpech is thrilled with Bold Silvano’s draw of two.
Asked on whether he feared being chopped off in the mad early rush for the lead he replied, “No, he has got the speed. The draw will make a huge difference.”
Bold Silvano was drawn wide in his last two starts in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and the Grade 1 Champions Cup over 1800m and ran on in eye catching style in both.
Delpech said, “I had to ride him from the back because of the draw. This time that won’t be necessary. The faster they go the better but if they go slow it won’t matter as he has a turn of speed. He is a tough horse and has had a fantastic prep. I couldn’t have asked for better. We will just need a bit of luck.”
Elaborating on the last point, Delpech said that there is always a lot of shouting during the running of the July.
“It is a very rough race, it always has been and is not going to change,” he said. “I’ve never ridden in a July that hasn’t been rough.”
Interestingly Mike de Kock believes that the “two length law” that is used in Hong Kong should be introduced to South African racing to make it cleaner.
Felix Coetzee, who rode for many years in Hong Kong explained the law, “You have to be two lengths clear of another horse before you can cut in no matter where you are in the field. They are very strict about it. It is in the interest of safety.
Also with the amount of gambling involved they want every horse to have an equal chance. If you cut in and don’t interfere with another horse (i.e. cause it to ease or check) you could get away with it but the stipes would let you know immediately if you had caused another horse to ease.”
A violation of that law in Hong Kong brings an automatic suspension.