Four-year-old superstar Belgarion handed trainer Justin Snaith his fifth win and jockey Richard Fourie his third title with a stunning victory in the 2020 Vodacom Durban July in front of empty stands at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on Saturday afternoon.
Facing one of the most competitive fields assembled for the Vodacom Durban July in decades, the son of the legendary Dynasty worked his way through the field before thundering down the grandstand side of the track to surge clear of ferocious challenges from double-defending champion Do It Again, Got The Greenlight and Golden Ducat.
The win was hugely satisfying for Snaith, who has now won a back-to-back hat trick of Vodacom Durban July titles
He had flagged Belgarion for Vodacom Durban July greatness a year ago and had planned a twelve-month preparation campaign to get him to Hollywoodbets Greyville in optimal condition to challenge for the continent’s premier horseracing title.
The four-year-old came into the big race hardly exposed in group one company and went to the starting stalls with many saying he was the best-handicapped race horse in the race.
Even his wide draw at 17 could not stand in the way of his lockdown July glory, as he found a turn a pace in the final moments that clearly set him apart from the rest of the field.
Got The Greenlight, with Musi Yeni on board finished second and Do It Again couldn’t live up to his name, finishing third ahead of Golden Ducat and stable-mate Rainbow Bridge.
With no spectators allowed on course and just a skeleton staff of essential workers allowed on site, the 124th edition of the iconic race was watched by a massive audience on television and online, as the lockdown forced July fans to arrange their own ‘stay-at-home’ raceday festivities.
“It was exciting the be able to deliver the July, even as a broadcast-only event,” said Marketing Executive Steve Marshall.
“In its 124-year history this race has never been cancelled and it needed a huge team effort to make sure it happened this year.
“It was eerie earlier on in the day, but when the main race came into the home straight it felt like another classic moment in this race’s history unfolding,” he added.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
2020 Vodacom Durban July
2.Got The Greenlight
3.Do It Again
5.Its My Turn
Photo: Jockey Richard Fourie salutes as he crosses the finish line to claim victory in the 2020 Vodacom Durban July on Saturday. (Candiese Lenferna/Gameplan Media)