Smanjemanje second by a nose in the Vodacom Durban July (Gr1)
(Photo : Gold Circle)
VODACOM DURBAN JULY (Grade 1)
Greyville, Turf, 2200m
7 July 2012
He may not have coined the phrase, but former Vodacom CEO and now head of Cell C, Alan Knott-Craig certainly wrote the book “Second Sucks”, and it’s true, few people remember the runner-up. However (when you’ve been second), in the Vodacom Durban July on three occasions, and beaten just a nose on two of them, you begin to understand what Knott-Craig had in mind when he penned that memorable title.
The Vodacom Durban July was renewed for the 116th time last Saturday, having been initiated by the Durban Turf Club as long ago as 1897. In that time, the famous Birch Brothers of Doodrecht have been the most prolific producers of its heroes, with six winners of five Julys, (one dead-heat in 1967), and we rank second with four which have known the taste of the green, green grass of home. The latest of them Igugu, romped home last year at the expense of a fellow Summerhill product, Pierre Jourdan.
On Saturday, our man Smanjemanje came within a whisker of giving us our fifth July, reminding us how fallible we all are. The stride before and the stride after the post, he was a winner, yet it was Pomodoro’s victory, we should applaud the grace and the class of the winners, Chris van Niekerk and Sean Tarry, great ambassadors of the game, and richly deserving. At these times, you look for consolations, and one of them lies in the fact that Pomodoro is out of a Guineas-winning daughter of Summerhill’s most famous resident, Northern Guest. In the process he handed him his tenth Broodmare Sires’ title, as well as eclipsing the modern day world record of Mr. Prospector in that realm. Smanjemanje has been Summerhill’s biggest earner in 2012, with victories in the London News and Victory Moon Stakes, and another money effort in the Champions Challenge (Gr.1) in April. Some kind of warrior he is, and he’ll be back for sure, to fight another day for George Barker and Tyrone Zackey.
In all of this, Smanjemanje gave us a sniff at our eigth consecutive Breeders’ Championship, though there’ll be no celebration here until the “big lady” has had her say. There are still some big events ahead before the curtain is drawn on the season in three weeks time, and Klawervlei and Highlands have been worthy foes. You can never get a good man down, and you can bet they’ll be hurling everything they can at us. In the heat of battle, heroes feel no pain, and we’ll be defending our trench as best we can.
LEADING BREEDERS BY STAKES
Season 2011 / 2012
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Correct as at 9 July 2012