THE Vodacom Durban July is a handicap but the favourite Jackson has a 2kg advantage over his rivals because of a condition that states that a three-year-old cannot carry more than 57kg. That makes him hard to beat and many experts will not hear of him getting beaten! For those not amongst them, here are some statistics that might help.
The best draw:
Barrier draws (a horse’s stall in the starting gate) do play a role in determining the result of the Durban July, but the good news for the many people backing Jackson in this year’s race is that wide draws are not insurmountable.
Six runners drawn on the extreme outside of the field have won since 1917.
The first three were Kipling in 1940 (drawn 22), St Pauls in 1946 (drawn 20) and Beau Art, a big chestnut with four white socks, who overcame draw No 17 in 1980.
In 1991 import Flaming Rock started from No 20 stall and unwound a devastating finish to win by a long head.
Then in 1998 Classic Flag also overcame the outside starting stall and jumped from No 18 draw before going on to score in race and course-record time.
In 2003 favourite Dynasty (Jackson’s sire) broke from No 20 draw and was forced to race wide in the early stages. But he produced a sustained finishing burst to beat Yard-Arm.
No 10 draw has been lucky in recent years with two of the last three winners, ill-fated Big City Life in 2009 and Igugu in 2011 winning from that berth.
The best jockeys:
Jockeys Anthony Delpech and Anton Marcus share top honours in the Durban July in recent years, having ridden four winners each.
Delpech, who will partner second favourite Ilha Bela in Saturday’s big race, has previously worn the winner’s sash aboard Classic Flag (1998), Greys Inn (2004), Bold Silvano (2010) and Igugu (2011). Marcus, who will ride Vettel, first won the race on Dancing Duel (1993) and subsequently celebrated with the connections of El Pica (2000, winning the race for the second time running), Dunford, who sprung a surprise in the race in 2005 and Hunting Tower (2007).
The best trainers:
Trainer Terrance Millard won the race seven times from 1983 to 1993. In more recent times, Mike de Kock has won the Durban July four times and Mike Bass three times. De Kock has four runners this year, Solo Traveller, Vettel, Gorongosa and Ilha Bela. Bass is three-handed with Castlethorpe, Chesalon and English Garden.
The age factor:
Four-year-olds have an outstanding record in the Vodacom Durban July with horses from that age group having captured the event 42 times.
Three-year-olds have won 32 times, while five-year-olds have 25 victories to their credit.
Three-year-olds have been the most successful age group in more recent years with nearly 60% of their 30 wins having come in the last 20 years. By comparison only 25% of the victories by four-year-olds have been achieved in the last 20 years.
There are seven three-year-olds in this year’s race and nine four-year-olds.
About the weights:
The lightest weight of 38,5kg was carried to victory by Nymagee in 1904 and Margin in 1916. The heaviest weight, 66kg, was carried to victory by Campanajo in 1898.
Since the distance of the race changed to 2200m in 1970 few horses carrying 55kg or more have won, but it must be noted that the bottom weight for handicaps was raised 2kg in 2010, bringing the bottom weight in handicaps up from 50kg to 52kg.
Horses who won carrying 55kg or more since 1970:
1978 Politician 57kg
1980 Beau Art 55,5kg
2000 El Picha 58kg
2007 Hunting Tower 55kg
2008 Pocket Power 58kg
2010 Bold Silvano 55,5kg
2011 Igugu 55kg
Photo: Grey’s Inn wins the 2004 Durban July for Mike de Kock and Anthony Delpech. (Gold Circle).