The Hollywoodbets Durban July weights are out and last year’s winner Kommetdieding and Jet Dark will carry joint topweight of 60kg off their 129 merit ratings, as publisshed by GOLD CIRCLE.
Last year half of the field, nine in total, were under sufferance and the reasons were Rainbow Ridge’s high merit rating of 134 and the big spread in the merit ratings. This year there are five top-20-on-the- log incumbents who are under sufferance, all of them three-year-olds, and the supplementary entry Airways Law will join them if he too makes the final field.
Airways Law off a 108 merit rating will be 3,5kg under sufferance. Among the three-year-olds Pomp And Power, Aragosta, Red Saxon and Zapatillas, all off 118 merit ratings, are each half-a-kilogram under sufferance, and Waterberry Lane off a 117 merit rating is 1kg under sufferance.
There is not a single horse among the incumbent log position holders who will carry the minimum weight for their category and not be under sufferance. The magic merit ratings for that to have happened would be 119 for a three-year-old male, 117 for a three-year-old female, 115 for an older male and 113 for an older female.
Jet Dark remained on a 130 merit rating after completing the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate double in January but has subsequently been beaten in the Grade 1 wfa WSB Met, the Grade 2 IOS Drill Hall Stakes and the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge on Saturday. Therefore the handicapper lowered him one point to join the July and Met winner Kommetdieding on 129.
Kommetdieding will have to carry 7kg more than he carried when winning last year. However, he was described by trainer Michelle Rix as “extremely immature” last year and she added he had strengthened both mentally and physically. His merit rating last year was 122 but he was 1kg under sufferance so he effectively ran off a 124. Therefore, all things being equal, he will theoretically have to make a 2.5kg actual improvement plus the expected 2kg weight for age improvement to win this year, so that is a 4.5kg improvement overall.
Do It Again, on the other hand, will carry 58,5kg as opposed to 57,5kg when a desperately unlucky fourth last year. He runs off a 126 this year and was off a 129 last year, so is effectively 1.5kg better off at the weights relatively speaking. He has been the best performed horse in the July for an unprecedented four times, which has included two victories. He will be out to make it five times, but, more importantly, will be out to score a record third victory. On best past performance he is undoubtedly the best weighted horse in the field.
The most unexposed horse in the race is the supplementary entry Airways Law, a four-year-old described as immature by the connections and who has won five out of a mere eight starts. He was raised to a 108 after winning Saturday’s Grade 3 Cup Trial, whose winner is given preferential consideration for inclusion in the final field.
In 2017 Coral Fever was left out of the final field despite having won the Jubilee Handicap, which was a preferential consideration race then but is no longer. Coral Fever later proved the selectors wrong by winning the Grade 1 Champions Challenge, so the latter will be wary of making the same mistake with Airways Law.
On paper two horses who look quite well weighted are Flying Carpet and Sparkling Water. They both beat last year’s July winner Kommetdieding in the Grade 1 TAB Premier’s Champions Challenge.
Puerto Manzano came out and franked the form by winning the Grade 3 Jubilee Stakes in good style. Sparkling Water faces Puerto Manzano on just half-a-kilogram worse terms, despite having beaten him by 2,60 lengths in the Champions Challenge. Flying Carpet, for an unlucky 0,30 length defeat by Puerto Manzano, will be 2kg better off. However, Flying Carpet, a big rangy type who only managed a third place finish yesterday in a five-horse Progress Plate field over 1800m at The Vaal, will need a cracking pace to be seen at his best.
Jet Dark Accepted (4C) 60 129 A Justin Snaith
Kommetdieding Accepted (4C) 60 129 A HWJ Crawford/M Rix
Belgarion Accepted (6G) 59.5 128 A Justin Snaith
Do It Again Accepted (7G) 58.5 126 A Justin Snaith
Linebacker Accepted (4G) 58.5 126 A Vaughan Marshall
Al Muthana (AUS) Accepted (4G) 58 125 A Mike de Kock
Astrix Accepted (5G) 56.5 122 BA Paul Peter
Puerto Manzano (ARG) Accepted (4G) 55.5 120 BA J A Janse van Vuuren
Russian Rock Accepted (4G) 55.5 120 A Dean Kannemeyer
Bingwa Accepted (4G) 55 119 A J A Janse van Vuuren
Safe Passage Accepted (3G) 54.5 122 A Mike de Kock
Marina Accepted (4F) 54.5 118 BA Candice Bass-Robinson
Nebraas Accepted (5G) 54.5 118 BA Sean Tarry
Second Base Accepted (4G) 54.5 118 BA M J A Janse van Vuuren
Zillzaal Accepted (6G) 54 117 AT Sean Tarry
Crown Towers (AUS) Accepted (6G) 53.5 116 A M Justin Snaith
Flying Carpet Accepted (4C) 53.5 116 BAT Sean Tarry
Hoedspruit Accepted (4G) 53.5 116 A Justin Snaith
Sovereign Spirit Accepted (6G) 53.5 116 BA Ashley Fortune
Sparkling Water Accepted (4F) 53.5 116 A Mike de Kock
Aragosta Accepted (3G) 53 118 A Mike de Kock
Pomp And Power Accepted (3G) 53 118 A Justin Snaith
Red Saxon Accepted (3C) 53 118 A Joe Soma
Zapatillas Accepted (3C) 53 118 A Brett Crawford
Waterberry Lane Accepted (3G) 53 117 A Dean Kannemeyer
Divine Odyssey Accepted (7G) 53 113 BA J A Janse van Vuuren
FireAlley Accepted (4G) 53 112 BA Candice Bass-Robinson
$Airways Law Accepted (4G) 53 108 A Andre Nel
Crimson King Accepted (4G) 53 108 A Glen Kotzen
Warrior Accepted (4G) 53 108 A Justin Snaith
Native Tongue Accepted (4G) 53 107 A M Justin Snaith
Super Silvano Accepted (5G) 53 107 BA Brett Crawford
One Way Traffic Accepted (4G) 53 104 A Justin Snaith
Chollima Accepted (3G) 53 102 A Glen Kotzen
Never Ending Rain Accepted (3G) 53 101 BA Glen Kotzen
Silvano’s Timer Accepted (4G) 53 98 A Dean Kannemeyer