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Australia's Yakeen A Rough Hope In Durban July
The only Australian-bred runner in this year’s Gr1 Durban July Handicap (2200m) is given a reasonable chance of running into the money. Competing in the iconic Greyville feature in Durban, 3YO colt Yakeen (Teofilo-Reine, by Royal Academy) goes into the event with a number of positives where he takes on a strong field headed by locally-bred $3.50 favourite African Night Sky (by Dynasty). By Darley’s Gr1 Dewhust Stakes hero Teofilo out of a half-sister to Gr1 Blue Diamond winner Nadeem, Yakeen is conditioned by globally influential trainer Mike de Kock for Sheik Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum whose yellow and bright blue silks are well known in Australia. Purchased by Form Bloodstock from the draft of Yarran Thoroughbreds for $160,000 at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, Yakeen was unraced as a 2YO but has won 4 of his 6 starts to date, including his last outing in the Gr3 Jubilee Handicap (1800m) at Turffontein. The 400m longer distance may pose a challenge to the $25 chance, however on a clock-wise circuit more akin to Moonee Valley, Yakeen is weighted to give his supporters some hope from a favourable draw, particularly as his champion grand dam Candide won at Gr1 level to 2400m, and another of her daughters is dam of Gr1 Australasian Oaks winner Marju Snip.