BRETT CRAWFORD, trainer of Durban July favourite Jackson, is not worried about his stable jockey Karis Teetan’s lack of experience in the big race. “Karis has ridden in the July three times and his BMT (big-match temperament) has always been his biggest asset,” said Crawford.
“It’s amazing the change that occurs in some 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 was on Thunder Dance in the Paddock Stakes. 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 is noticeable how good Mauritian jockeys are tactically, which is almost certainly due to the tight and undulating circuit of the island nation’s only track, and Teetan had drawn up a plan for Jackson just a few hours after his mount drew wide.
He has ridden over 100 winners this season including three Grade 1 victories, two of them aboard Jackson.
Teetan was nearly knocked over the rail when riding Castlethorpe in last year’s July after severe interference up front caused a knock-on effect. The horse did well to finish some five lengths back in 12th. He finished 11th on Gavin van Zyl-trained Cape Town in his first July ride in 2009 and 13th on Paul Lafferty-trained Goat in 2010.
Crawford went close to winning the Durban July in 2002, when his charge Angus was beaten a head by three-year-old filly Ipi Tombe. “We didn’t see Ipi Tombe until the last couple of strides,” he recalls. “Up until then we thought we had it.”
Angus, who subsequently won the J&B Met, enjoyed a good preparation that year and Crawford reckons Jackson’s preparation has been just as good.
Crawford also has four-year-old Western Winter gelding Polar Bound in the big race. He said: “If you look at his last two runs properly they weren’t bad at all. With 57kg he will have a helluva job, but he has a good draw and we will have him spot on for the day. He is not far off English Garden on his Cup Trial run and could be a big outsider for the Quartet.”