Friday, 6 July 2012
: With just on three days to go to South Africa's premier raceday at Greyville, Durban, on Saturday, Vodacom Durban July Day, Jackson remains the favourite for the feature R3m, Group 1 race over 2200m.
It is a testament to Jackson's short but illustrious career to-date that he is the favourite with a number of factors against the strapping colt. That he is indeed a rising four-year-old against the older horses is one significant aspect, along with the 57kg that he is being asked to carry, He has yet to run over 2200m and to top the degree of difficulty off he has barrier 16 in the large field of 20.
That said there are just as many highlights in Jackson's career which justify his status.
Trained and placed with skill by Brett Crawford in Cape Town Jackson first raced only last September when he was fifth over 1200m at Kenilworth. Just four races later Jackson ran in the Group 1 Cape Derby over 2000m at Kenilworth on Met Day, January 28th.
He dominated the finish with a powerful sustained run from the 400m under Karis Teetan putting the field to the sword and winning by 2L.
Immediately it was apparent that Jackson was a cut above his opposition at this distance and seasoned observers were thinking that not for the barrier of quarantine travel in place at the time here was a contender across the Southern Ocean for the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival.
Crawford was modest at the time knowing that such ambitions were both too soon and impractical for the moment. He had other plans aimed towards the biggest prize of them all at Greyville on Saturday.
Jackson was given time out from his Derby triumph and Crawford produced him again to run second to Variety Club in the Group 2 KRA Guineas over 1600m at Greyville on May 5th.
The distance favoured Variety Club who had failed to run the 2000m of the Cape Derby but who relished the 1600m. Next time out Jackson was fitter and stepping up to the 2000m of the Group 1 Daily News 2000, once again at Greyville, on June 2nd the colt dominated in fine style.
Jackson, with 58kg, won by 3 3/4L over Vettel (ARG) with Shogunnar a further 1 1/4L back. It was a good performance and confirmed his status as favourite.
It is ironic that Jackson's sire Dynasty won the 2003 Durban July, between wins by Ipi Tombi and Greys Inn who did run in Victoria, not only as a three-year-old, but also from the widest barrier of all at 20.
Prior to Dynasty the last horse to win from barrier 20 was Flaming Rock in 1991. Flaming Rock was trained by Chris Snaith, father of current trainer Justin who dead heated the Durban July in 2008 with Dancer's Daughter and the Mike Bass trained Pocket Power.
While Snaith does not have a runner in Saturday's renewal of the race he will certainly feature on the programme with the outstanding mare Ebony Flyer in the R500,000, Group 1 Garden Provence Stakes (1600m).
The nature of the track is such that as the field approaches the final turn with some 600m to run back markers are at a disadvantage notwithstanding the cutaway rail prompting leading trainer Mike de Kock to comment earlier in the week that he thought that the field size at 20 for the Durban July was too large.
Teetan, born in Mauritius and one of South Africa's leading young riders, has already made a plan he says to overcome the barrier 16 draw. He has a long run down the back straight to get into a strategic position, and it might well be vital that he can achieve it.
South Africa has a fine tradition of travelling horses internationally, and should Jackson step up to the plate on Saturday his credentials will certainly demand it. The quarantine period required for travel out of South Africa may soon be significantly altered for easier travel times.
Lightly raced with just seven starts Jackson can afford to have a spell travelling for further achievements elsewhere and Saturday is his time to justify it.
The Vodacom Durban July is race seven at 12.20am on Sunday from the 10 race broadcast. The first race of the programme is on Sky Racing2 at 7.35pm and from the third race all races are on both Sky Racing2 and Sky Racing World. Times are AEST.
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