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Heavy makes history!


Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July saw Sean’s talented Heavy Metal go into the history books. Not only did he give Sean and owner Chris Van Niekerk a second consecutive win (Pomodoro having succeeded last year) in the famous race, but Heavy Metal’s jockey, S’Manga Khumalo, became the first black rider ever to taste success in the July. Unfortunately, top-weight and defending champion Pomodoro ran unplaced, following a trouble passage in the 2200m contest.

It was a gallant effort by Heavy Metal, who had to tote second top weight of 59.5 kgs in the process. Sent out a 16-1 shot, the gelding was coming into the July off a great run when second under a massive weight in the Gr3 Jubilee Handicap, but some punters felt he may have had too much to do at the weights.

However, the gutsy gelding proved his doubters wrong with a tremendous display of heart and class.

Given a fine ride by Khumalo, Heavy Metal came with a strong late run from off the pace, hitting the front with 350 metres left to run. He conquered the challenges from lucklesss fancy Run For (8-1) with 3yo filly Do You Remember (18-1) another neck away in third position.

The winning margin was a neck, with Heavy Metal conceding the gallant runner up 3 kgs in the process. An emotional S’Manga Khumalo stood up in the irons following his historic victory, but was coolness personified in the race itself. Remarkably, the jockey has won three of South Africa’s top races (Sansui Summer Cup, President’s Champion Challenge, Vodacom Durban July) this season – which is a fine comment on his skills and confidence.

Afterwards, Khumalo commented, ” I am just very happy. The horse quicked very well. I couldn’t do it without Mr Tarry and Mr Van Niekerk.”

Long held in high regard by Sean, Heavy Metal was one of a remarkable three feature race winners on the day for the yard. Saturday’s victory took the 4yo gelding’s stake money to over R3 800 000, and he has now won six of his 20 outings.

Well done to the whole team, who have done a sterling job this season. The day’s victories have propelled Sean to the top of the trainers log, and hopefully he can pull off his first championship this year.

The result of the Vodacom Durban July was another tribute to Chris Van Niekerk, whose loyalty and ongoing success have been vital to the yard. No owner deserves this success than Chris, who has put so much into the sport over the past few years.

Congratulations must also go out to the Bosworth Stud, who bred this wonderful horse. Saturday’s big race results were a tribute also to the wonderful broodmare Tight Drums, who is the second dam not only of Heavy Metal, but of Sean’s For The Lads (winner of Saturday’s Gr1 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper).

A second July winner for the outstanding sire Silvano, Heavy Metal has now placed his name firmly in the ring for potential Equus Awards honour.

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