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
|Do It Again
*Odds taken on 1/7/21*
2021 Durban July Draw
||She's A Keeper
||Got The Greenlight
||Do It Again
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
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.
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
|1st||Got The Greenlight|
|2nd||Do It Again|