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Winning the Gr 3 TAB Gold Derby does not give you automatic entry into the Hollywoodbets Durban July but there are a few on Saturday’s card who will be out to enhance their chances of making the big race field.

One of those is WITHOUT QUESTION. Justin Snaith’s gelding just needed his last run in the WSB 1900 after a good third in the Cape MET. He should strip fitter now and although drawn widest of all he is well in under the weight conditions. So too is the Mike de Kock-trained ARAGOSTA, also a July entry. He is way better than his last run and De Kock will no doubt have him primed for a big effort. Snaith has a second string to his bow in ONE WAY TRAFFIC who was a little disappointing over course and distance last time out but was narrowly beaten over the distance at Hollywoodbets Scottsville prior to that, finishing a short-head second to another July hopeful CAPE EAGLE. Andre Nel’s runner is holding form well and just got the better of ONE WAY TRAFFIC in that close Scottsville finish. ZEUS is the highest rated runner in the field and Fabian Habib’s gelding is a top stayer on his day but appears to have lost his way a little of late. At best he will make them all run. Sean Tarry has perfected the art of priming his runners for the big occasion and although FUTURE PEARL’s recent form is nothing to write home about, he is one to keep an eye on in the market.

The Gr 2 TAB Gold Oaks has attracted a high class field headed by MY SOUL MATE from the Candice Dawson yard. The going has been tough for three-year-olds taking on older fillies and mares since the race was opened up to all ages but MY SOUL MATE has been close up in top feature company and stays the trip. She has the best of the draw and should finish in the mix. Nel sends out SAARTJIE took on a useful Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 field last time out and was not far back. However, prior to that she finished off her race like a train. If she can reproduce that effort she will be a big runner. FUTURE GIRL has gone close in both recent starts on this course. The stable is in mustard form and the extra should suit. RED MAPLE stays well and is way better than her last two. She could struggle at the weights but has a money chance.

Snaith has been given an opportunity to prime this season’s Cape Met winner DOUBLE SUPERLATIVE in a Pinnacle Plate. Being the winner of one of the country’s most important races, he is almost certain to make the Hollywoodbets Durban July field but punters will be watching his performance with interest.  Owner Nick Jonsson retired him to stud after his MET win but with limited support and the horse still in good trim, he was put back in training for a crack at the July. He is well in at these weights and if anywhere near his best he should be good enough. However, of caution is that he may be ‘ring-rusty’ and a strong showing is probably what Snaith will be happy with. Snaith has three runners in the line-up to ensure a good pace. Record breaking Richard Fourie rides DOUBLE SUPERLATIVE while Jonsson Workwear sponsored Rachel Venniker will be aboard the Jonsson-owned TRIPPLE TIME who has been runner-up in his last two and could be the pacemaker as he does prefer further. Lady Heist has been in good form over the distance and comes in off a light weight which should make her competitive while SOVEREIGN STATE has been most disappointing of late but the blinkers are back on and he could surprise with a big effort.

Best bet on the card could come in the card opener with the Dean Kannemeyer-trained AVERNIAN PRINCESS.  She has put in two smart efforts to date and looks the part barring a first time ‘springer’ that could come in the form of Glen Kotzen’s SWEET DREAMER who he says should run a good race if not too green. Richard Fourie rides. Michelle Crawford saddles two runs. OH YOKO found some market support last run but failed to feature but ROSA OSIRIA  was not far off on debut and should come on with the experience.

The second is a cracking maiden with some promising horses in the line-up. VHAGAR ran a cracking race on debut for MJ Odendaal. He steps up in trip but was finishing his race off well and should feature in a useful field. JAMES FITZJAMES was a close-up second over a mile last time out. He was run out of it late and this shorter trip may suit better. FRENCH FLAME has run two good races over the trip and was a narrowly beaten favourite last time out and can make amends. FUTURE FLO has been up and down in trip and is long overdue. He should be better suited to this distance. I SALUTE YOU raced green in a promising debut. He comes from the strong Peter Muscutt yard and any market support must be taken seriously.

– Gold Circle