Bookies are hoping Irish Flame ‘goes missing’

2010-07-31 00:00

IRISH Flame is firm favourite among tote punters and bookmakers for today’s Vodacom Durban July, and R2 million had already been wagered on the race by yesterday evening. Patrick Loker, commercial director for Gold Circle, said that if pre-sales tote takings are any indication, they are hopeful of a bumper meeting.

However, he did warn that although pre- sales are up around the mark of 2008, raceday takings had been relatively flat over the past three years. “Realistically, in this economic climate, we would be very happy if we could achieve the same turnover as last year,” he said.

Total turnover on the day last year was R92 million with R32 million being spent on the big race itself. Bookmakers’ takings were nearly twice that, so in all punters are expected to splash out in the region of R300 million tomorrow.

With the race meeting having been moved to the end of July because of the football World Cup rather than being held in its traditional slot — the first Saturday in July — most of the hype of the World Cup has subsided and besides the tote takings, bookmakers have indicated that there is a lot more interest in this year’s race.

Local bookmaker Colin Fourie of Fourie’s Sporting Club said betting has been steady throughout the week, but he is expecting a rush this morning.

He said most of the money has been for Pocket Power since his good showing at the public gallops that took place at Greyville last Thursday. River Jetez and Orbison have also found support, while yesterday a few decent bets were struck on the Mike de Kock-trained Lizarre.

But Fourie said most bookmakers are hoping that Irish Flame will be the one to “go missing” as they stand to lose the most if he wins.

Irish Flame is one of a record seven-horse entry from the Mike de Kock yard and the colt was also firm tote favourite yesterday, paying R4,80 for a win.

Two other horses in single figures were the mare River Jetez (the full sister of Pocket Power) paying R6,40 for a win and Bold Silvano, R9,60.

The balance of the field were all paying over R10 for a win, with the longest-priced horse being Vertical Takeoff, paying R56,80 a win.

Irish Flame is also the bookmakers’ favourite at odds of 4-1 with stable companion Bold Silvano on offer at 5-1.

The three stables companions, River Jetez, Pocket Power and Fort Vogue, all out of the Mike Bass yard, are the only other runners quoted in single figures, with the longest-priced horses being Fabiani and the filly Love Is In The Air, bracketed on 90-1.

Over 50 000 people are expected on course today where the weather forecast is for a fine, sunny day with temperatures touching 26°C and a gentle south-easterly breeze.

Those that do not have tickets to the course can watch the race live on SABC 3 from 3 pm onwards or on Tely­track, channel 232 on DSTV. The main race is at 4.20 pm.

The latest betting on the R3 million Vodacom Durban July to be run over 2 200 metres at Greyville racecourse tomorrow is:

4-1 Irish Flame; 5-1 Bold Silvano; 6-1 River Jetez; 7-1 Pocket Power; 8-1 Fort Vogue; 13-1 Orbison; 15-1 Ancestral Fore, Happy Valley; 16-1 Aslan, Lizarre; 18-1 Russian Sage; 25-1 Flying Tristram; 60-1 Goat; 70-1 Rudra, Service Ace; 80-1 Red Rake, Captain Scott, Vertical Takeoff; 90-1 Fabiani, Love Is In The Air.

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