Sensational end to race ‘unprecedented’

2014-07-07 00:00

“UNPRECEDENTED,” said Gold Circle ambassador Bill Lambert about Saturday’s sensational end to the July handicap main race.

Lambert, who has been in the horse racing business for over 50 years, said to his knowledge, Saturday’s dramatic Durban July ending was only the second time in the history of the race that an objection had been lodged.

The last time was in 1970 when race favourite Gatecrasher was said to have “baulked” (crossed into the space) of the horse Distinctly. As a result of the objection, Gatecrasher was relegated to third place. This happened because there was another horse close to the winning post, Principal Boy, on the far side that physically came second.

According to Lambert, the final result was first Principal Boy, owned by Harry Oppenheimer, second Distinctly and third Gatecrasher, owned by Christine Mason.

Lambert said in his opinion, Saturday’s event was one of the best Julys that he can remember from an organisational point of view. He said there were record takings at the tote — R55 million on the main race, as well as a Pick Six pool of over R13 million.

Asked whether this was the most drama-filled July, Lambert said there was always drama around the July.

“There was a time we had someone spill their drink on the president, last year there was controversy over two horses that were expected to be included in the race that were left out. This year, the drama was in the race.”

On the 2014 favourite, Louis the King, not coming out top, Lambert said it was a case of hard luck. He had heard that the horse had picked up a limp and they would know for sure today.

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