Made To Conquer did as his name promised: conquering the Durban July! Turned out pace wise and how the race could turn out tactically went as analysed in my race preview. What wasn’t forecasted, though, that stable mate Do It Again would come sweeping past my selection with half a furlong to go.
The pair came miles clear of the rest of the field. But no doubt, Do It Again was well on top in the end and a deserved winner of South Africa’s most prestigious race. There was no pace in the early stages whatsoever so jockey Grant Van Niekerk decided to go for a dramatic move when maneuvering race favourite African Night Sky from the back of the field to the lead halfway through the race.
Didn’t end well. The 3/1 chance faded into insignificance in the closing stages. No fairytale ending for Jeff Lloyd either. The retiring veteran jockey hit the post, but remains luckless in a bid to win the July.
2.00 Ayr: Class 5 Novice Stakes, 6f
You can pick big holes into the three market leaders so it might be worth siding with the man who knows how to win these type of races: Mark Johnston. His charge Royal Big Night was well supported on his debut nine days ago but appeared plenty green enough when jumping left at the start and seemed clueless in the closing stages.
The way he faded in the final two furlongs is slightly worrying, but the positive early speed he showed soon after the start is enough for me to believe this lad can do much better with the run under his belt.
This colt is related to some nice dirt winners in the US, so the rattling fast ground will certainly to his liking. He has to improve from his first run, however dropping two classes from a class 3 York Novice race into this here seems on paper at least a bit easier.
He also gets a good deal of weight from those with winning form in the book. That’s an added bonus.
10pts win – Royal Big Night @9/2 Sky
5.55 Wolverhampton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 4f
I find it noteworthy that jockey Kieren O’Neill makes the journey to Wolverhampton for his only ride on the entire day at the peak of the British flat season. That enhances the already strong case I feel able to be making for bottom weight Trinitas.
A tree-times raced maiden on his handicap debut, he did achieve little on pure merit of his results and ran according to his SP’s: without a chance. However, further analysis of his last two starts provide a different answer.
The Nathaniel colt did more than he should in the parts of both races burning a lot of fuel in what turned out be two pretty hot maiden contests. Though, he wasn’t there to win, only to gain experience. He should have plenty of it now plus showed glimpses of ability too.
A step up in trip to 12f is likely what he needs. So with that in mind, an opening mark off 64 could underestimate the ability ready to be unlocked in Trinitas. Going from pole position in stall 1 with he has every chance to make this a winning handicap debut.
10pts win – Trinitas @ 9/1 Coral
7.00 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 1m
Ripon and a biggish field over a mile – you got to need a bit of luck if you aren’t up with the pace. Hence my selection Al Ozzdi is risky. However, he is the only three year old in the race and can make his weight advantage count – the Simon Crisford charge is certainly handicapped to win.
Last time out at Windsor was a slight disappointment, given Al Ozzdi showed an awful lot of potential when finishing third in a hot Yarmouth maiden on his penultimate outing. Only 5th in the end, well beaten – not good. But there were reasons.
Windsor can be a tricky track for hold up horses and Al Ozzdi wasn’t the fastest out of the blocks to be closer to the pace than trailing. You got to get the breaks here and he didn’t. A wall of horses in front, when finally angled out and in the clear the bird was flown.
This still quite lightly raced lad has found an ideal opportunity to score. The long home straight should help jockey Paul Hanagan to move out in time this time.
10pts win – Al Ozzdi @ 9.5/1 PP/VC