VODACOM Durban July favourite Jackson put up some good pace work on the bottom sand track at Summerveld on Tuesday and will work on his own again at the Gallops at Greyville this morning.
Trainer Brett Crawford was not concerned about the lack of July experience of stable jockey Karis Teetan.
“Karis has ridden in the July three times and his BMT (big match temperament) has always been his biggest asset,’’ said Crawford. “It is amazing the change that occurs in jockeys in the parade ring from riding in a normal race to a Group 1. Nerves can take over, but to Karis it’s just another race.
“I don’t think people appreciate how good his ride on Thunder Dance in the TBA Paddock Stakes was. It was planned beforehand and I think it was jockeyship that won her the race. But when instructions don’t work out a jockey has to have the foresight to decide where to go and I believe he’s got that too.’’
It has become noticeable how good Mauritian jockeys are tactically, which is almost certainly due to the tight, undulating circuit of the island nation’s only track. Teetan had already drawn up a plan for Jackson by sunset last Thursday, just a few hours after watching him draw wide at No 16.
He has ridden over 100 winners this season and this includes three Grade 1 victories, two of them aboard Jackson. Teetan was almost sent over the rail when riding Castlethorpe in last year’s July after some severe interference up front caused a knock on effect. The horse did well to finish only 5,15 lengths back in 12th place.
He finished 11th on the Gavin van Zyl-trained Cape Town in his first July ride in 2009 and 13th on the Paul Lafferty-trained Goat in 2010.
Crawford went within a hair’s breadth of winning the race in 2002, when his Northern Guest gelding Angus finished second by a head to the great three-year-old filly Ipi Tombe. “We didn’t see Ipi Tombe until the last couple of strides,’’ he recalled. “Up until then we thought we had it.’’
Angus, who subsequently won the J&B Met, enjoyed a very good preparation that year, finishing sixth and first in two minor events respectively before finishing a 0,75 length second to the top class Flight Alert in the Cup Trial.
However, Crawford reckoned Jackson’s preparation had been just as good, although he does have that wide draw to contend with compared to Angus’ draw of three.
Crawford also has the four-year-old Western Winter gelding Polar Bound in the big race. He said at the July draw ceremony last week: “If you look at his last two runs properly they weren’t bad at all. He had 15 lengths to make up in the straight in the Betting World 1900 and finished only seven back.
“In the Cup Trial Buy And Sell was way ahead and Polar Bound led the rest of the pack with 60kg on his back. He was also hampered a bit late so it wasn’t a bad run (3,8 length sixth and he is now 2,5kg better off with the winner Gold Onyx). With 57kg he will have a helluva job, but he has a good draw (three) and we will have him spot on for the day.
“He is not far off English Garden, who is many people’s July fancy, on his Cup Trial run and he could be a big outsider to consider for the Quartet.’’
18-10 JACKSON; 15-2 ILHA BELA; 8-1 VETTEL; 10-1 ENGLISH GARDEN; 15-1 BEACH BEAUTY, CHESALON; 16-1 GOLD ONYX, GORONGOSA, PIERRE JOURDAN; 25-1 POMODORO; 33-1 AND UPWARDS OTHERS