The half-brothers Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam appear poised to dominate the 2019 G1 Vodacom Durban July, with triple G1 winner Hawwaam currently topping the betting for the July 6th feature.

Impressive G1 Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge looked unlucky not to get closer when third in the recent G1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge and the son of Ideal World, who should relish the 600m extra of the July, could well reverse the form with Gold Challenge winner Do It Again with the latter bidding to defend his Vodacom Durban July title.

Do It Again, one of five in the race for trainer Justin Snaith, also has to give weight away to each of his 17 rivals and is bidding to become the first horse since El Picha to win back to back runnings of the Durban July.

Brilliant three-year-old Hawwaam (pictured below on the outside of Soqrat), a triple G1 winner this season and currently the front runner for the title of Horse Of The Year, has lost just once in seven starts and did everything right in his July prep when landing the G1 Daily News 2000 convincingly.

Question marks, however, surround Hawwaam’s temperament, and the big race day will not help the Silvano’s colt frame of mind, and he is now 2kgs worse off with Daily News runner up Twist Of Fate for a 1.6 length beating.

Multiple graded stakes winner Twist Of Fate does have a poor draw, but as the likes of Do It Again, Flaming Rock and Dynasty have underlined that is no means the kiss of death in the Durban July!

Hawwaam’s stable mate Barahin impressed when victorious over older rivals in the G3 Jubilee Handicap recently, and the son of Gimmethegreenlight meets Hawwaam on 3kgs better terms for a 5.75 length beating when the pair met in the G1 SA Classic. Barahin, who hails from a speedy family, does try the 2200m trip for a first time and it remains to be seen how effective he will be.

Multiple G1 winner, and recent G2 WSB 1900 winner, Eyes Wide Open relishes Greyville, with the son of July winner Dynasty having made six starts at the course and has won both the G1 Premier’s Champion Stakes and WSB 1900 at the track. Runner up in the G3 Cup Trial last time out, Eyes Wide Open will try and give trainer Glen Kotzen a second win in the July, with Kotzen having won back in 2009 with the ill-fated Big City Life. Like his sire Dynasty, Eyes Wide Open has a wide draw to overcome.

Lady In Black, another by Dynasty, is one of four fillies or mares in the 2019 Vodacom Durban July. The former Equus Champion finished just over 3 lengths behind Do It Again in the Gold Challenge last time out but is now 4kgs better off at the weights and should enjoy the step up in trip.

Head Honcho, who ran a blinder when third to Rainbow Bridge in the Met, is 0.5 of a kilo better off with the Met winner for their Met run but has a shocking draw to overcome and the July will be only his second start since January.

Dual Horse Of The Year Legal Eagle, making just his second start in the July –he was fifth back in 2015, was beaten just 2.25 lengths by Rainbow Bridge in the Met and the gelded son of Greys Inn is now a whopping 5kgs better off at the weights.

Divine Odyssey has shown steady improvement throughout the season and meets Hawwaam at 5,5kgs better terms for a 4.25 length loss in the G1 Premier’s Champions Challenge back in May, while G1 Gbets Gauteng Summer Cup winner Tilbury Fort has been disappointing in his last two starts but is said to be doing very well at home and has turned the corner.

Made To Conquer was second in this race last year, when beaten just a length and a quarter by stable mate Do It Again, and the Dynasty gelding appears to have the ideal prep for this race having finished third and fourth in the G2 WSB 1900 and G3 Cup Trial respectively. His stablemate Doublemint, like Made To Conquer, has a wide draw to overcome but caught the eye when finishing third in the Cup Trial last time out and has just 53kgs on his back.

Pierro colt Roy Had Enough is another badly drawn, and drops back in trip having won the G3 Track And Ball Derby over 2400m last time out. He faces a tough task here on past collateral form with some of the runners here.

Magnificent Seven finished a close second to Eyes Wide Open in the G2 World Sports Betting 1900 but meets that son of Dynasty on 2kgs worse off terms.

Star 3yo filly Return Flight, whose sire Pomodoro won this race back in 2012, has had an excellent season although she was very disappointing fading out to finish fifth in the G1 Woolavington 2000 against 3yo fillies last time out and needs to recapture her sparkling earlier form to feature in this stronger company.

Classy four-year-old Fresnaye (pictured below with stablemate Twist Of Fate) has been unlucky not to win a G1 race thus far –although the regally bred Western Winter filly has been placed multiple times at the elite level. She showed her well-being when landing a pinnacle stakes over 1600m last time out but has a bad draw to overcome and also faces a considerable jump in class.

Former G2 Gold Bracelet winner Miyabi Gold is another taking a jump in class, and she is having her first race since finishing third in May’s Listed East Coast Cup.

Images: Candiese Marnewick