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Marinaresco out to stake July claims in Gold Challenge

Greyville: home of South's Africa's number one race, the Durban July
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Preview: South Africa Saturday 2.10pm BST

Greyville: Rising Sun Gold Challenge (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3-y-o

This is the last major race before the Vodacom Durban July in three weeks’ time and more than half the field are in the big race, including last year’s July runner-up Marinaresco, who heads the market after winning last month’s Drill Hall Stakes when the seven-furlong trip was considered too short for him.

Trainer Candice Bass-Robinson said: “He's been doing well and is on target even though this mile will be a little sharp for him. We have kept him a bit fresh for this race as he needs to be like that to run well over a mile.”

Only two horses have justified favouritism in the last 11 runnings and Marinaresco’s vulnerability over this trip has had punters looking for alternatives, with Captain America being backed from 7-1 to 5-1 second favourite during the week. The six-year-old was second in the Queen’s Plate and third in the Met, while his in-form trainer Brett Crawford won both Grade 1s here last Saturday.

New Predator has also been backed, particularly with jockey Gavin Lerena flying back from Britain to keep the mount. The four-year-old started joint favourite for the Drill Hall, was only beaten just over a neck into fourth but is a kilo worse with Marinaresco.

Trip To Heaven, although better known as a sprinter, was first past the post 12 months ago only to lose the race in the stewards’ room while Bela-Bela has the form to get into the shake-up.

He's been doing well and is on target even though this mile will be a little sharp for him
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