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The R1-million World Sports Betting Champions Cup has the hallmarks of a race that could go down as one of the greatest thoroughbred clashes in South African racing history.

This Grade 1 race over 1800m at Greyville on the first day of the two-day Gold Cup Festival Of Racing has brought together a group of the best horses in the country, including four Grade 1 winners who could all make their mark on the international stage.

The Champions Cup heads Saturday’s nine-race card while the Grade 3 eLan Gold Cup over 3200m, the Premiers Champion Stakes and Thekwini Stakes for fillies, both Grade 1 events over 1600m with prize money of R750,000 each, head up Sunday’s 10-race card at the same venue.

Marinaresco has already put his name in the record books by winning the Vodacom Durban July under 60kg this month, but could become only the second horse this century to win the Champions Cup in two successive years. The only other horse to do so was Futura in 2014 and 2015.

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