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2021 Durban July Tips - Top tips, each-way plays and top-five predictions

By Jon Vine
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01 Jul 2021
  • We've published our guide to the 2021 Durban July
  • This historic handicap takes place at Greyville on Saturday 3rd July
  • Got The Greenlight is our best bet to win at 5/2
  • Do It Again and Sovereign Spirit are our each-way tips
  • Linebacker looks the best of the three-year-olds
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Can Do It Again win his third Durban July? (Getty)
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On Saturday, the 125th edition of the Durban July will be run at Greyville. Many of South Africa's most famous horses have won this historic handicap and 18 of the countries finest flat racers will enter the stalls ahead of this year's renewal.

Here's our guide to the 2021 Durban July, including a look at the latest odds, the draw and the horses we think you should be backing.

2021 Durban July Preview

2021 Durban July Odds

Got The Greenlight 5/2
Linebacker 3/1
Rainbow Bridge 6/1
Rascallion 8/1
Do It Again 8/1
Belgarion 12/1
Kommetdieding 14/1
Bar 20/1

*Odds taken on 1/7/21*

2021 Durban July Draw

1 Rainbow Bridge
2 Johnny Hero
3 Shah Akhbar
4 Expressfromtheus
5 Crown Towers
6 Rascallion
7 Linebacker
8 Sovereign Spirit
9 Cirillo
10 She's A Keeper
11 Belgarion
12 Nexus
13 Running Brave
14 Got The Greenlight
15 Matterhorn
16 Do It Again
17 Tristful
18 Kommetdieding

A wide draw is often seen as a disadvantage in the Durban July, but recent results paint a very different picture. Plenty of horses have won from wide draws in the past few decades, and Belgarion was drawn 17 of 18 when he won 12 months ago.

The one I feared for most after the draw was Rainbow Bridge, who's been placed in stall one. Eric Sands' star was drawn two in 2020, forcing Warren Kennedy into chasing an unsustainable pace, and Rainbow Bridge eventually fell away to finish sixth.

Stunning victories in the Cape Town Met and the Gold Challenge see Rainbow Bridge return to Greyville at the top of the weights. Likely pacesetter's Shah Akbar and Crown Towers have also been drawn low, and there's a strong chance Rainbow Bridge will have to go forward early again. Under his welter burden, I think Luke Ferraris' mount may find himself outpaced in the closing stages once again.

2021 Durban July Tips - Best Bet

Got The Greenlight2021 Durban July Best BetGET 5/2 HERE
18+ only. T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org

I was all over GOT THE GREENLIGHT to win the Durban July 12 months ago, despite the poor record three-year-olds have in this historic handicap. Joe Soma's star had already won two Grade Ones at Greyville, but couldn't quite complete the hat-trick, as the well-handicapped Belgarion relegated him to second.

Muzi Yeni's mount returned to action with a fine second in the Hawaii Stakes earlier this year, where he was giving plenty of weight to a three-year-old winner. Got The Greenlight then won the Horse Chestnut Stakes over a mile, before securing a really impressive victory in the Premier Champions' Challenge.

Got The Greenlight is a better, more experienced horse than he was last year. Yet, Joe Soma's four-year-old has only one-and-a-half kilos more to shoulder this time around. His prep hasn't been ideal, having not been seen since May 1st, but I simply cannot desert the current market leader.

2021 Durban July Tips - Top Three-Year-Old

It was hard not to be impressed by LINEBACKER'S performance in the Daily News. Vaughan Marshall's star looked a class above his rivals that day, and it was only the fact he idled a little in the closing stages that allowed stablemate Rascallion to get within a length of Linebacker as they crossed the line.

During last week's public gallop, I thought Kommetdieding shaped really well. He was certainly the most impressive of the three-year-olds that day. Yet, Kommetdieding has been comfortably beaten twice by Linebacker this season and, especially after the draw placed Gavin Lerena's mount in the widest stall of all, it's hard to see how he'll reverse the form with Linebacker.

Hollywoodbets is offering a range of special betting markets on the Durban July, including a Top Three-Year-Old market. Linebacker is comfortably the best three-year-old in this year's Durban July. While I don't think he'll be good enough to win, backing Grand van Niekerk's mount to be the highest finisher of his generation could be a profitable play.

2021 Durban July Tips - Each-Way Play

DO IT AGAIN has been a popular bet with punters in the last week, forcing the bookmakers to cut Justin Snaith's six-year-old into 8s from 12/1. However, even at his new price of 8/1, Do It Again looks fantastic value for an each-way bet.

Snaith's star won back-to-back renewals of the Durban July in 2018 and 2019. Even last year - when Do It Again was seemingly out of form, poorly handicapped and drawn out in the widest stall - Anton Marcus' mount managed to run into the places, losing out by less than a length.

Do It Again has finished fourth in three Grade Ones this season. His form at Greyville, and in the VDJ in particular is excellent. Stable jockey Richie Fourie chose to ride Do It Again after he worked particularly well during the official public gallops for the 2021 Durban July, and the two-time champion carries five pounds less on his back than he has the previous two years.

2021 Durban July Tips - Roughie Tips

On Durban July day last year, SOVEREIGN SPIRIT made the most of a comfortable weight to win the Grade Three Campanjo 2200, run over the same distance as Saturday's main event.

A massive hike in his merit rating meant Candice Bass-Robinson has had to campaign her five-year-old mainly in Grade Ones since then. Sovereign Spirit was beaten six lengths in both the Queen's Plate and the Gold Challenge, but did manage to place third behind Rainbow Bridge and Belgarion in the Cape Town Met.

Sovereign Spirit will be getting six kilos from Rainbow Bridge and four kilos from Belgarion on Saturday. Considering he was only beaten four-lengths off level-weights in the Met, Keagan De Melo's mount looks well-treated, and he has course-and-distance form on his side too.

2021 Durban July Tips - Top Five Predictions

1stGot The Greenlight
2ndDo It Again
4thRainbow Bridge
5thSovereign Spirit



I think Got The Greenlight will win the 2021 Durban July, beating Do It Again into second. Linebacker would be my third preference, staying on to finish ahead of the valiant Rainbow Bridge. Sovereign Spirit could come fifth and, with many bookies paying out on the top-five places, each-way backers would be rewarded with a slice of the place money.

2021 Durban July Best Bet: Got The Greenlight Straight Win @5/2 at Sportingbet - 15 Units
2021 Durban July Each-Way Play: Do It Again Each-Way @8/1 at Hollywood bets - 5 Units
2021 Durban July Roughie: Sovereign Spirit Each-Way @40/1 at Hollywood bets - 2 Units
Got The Greenlight
Straight Win
@5/2 - 15 Units
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@8/1 - 5 Units
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Sovereign Spirit
@40/1 - 2 Units
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2021 Durban July

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