Press Room


Top Cape trainer Justin Snaith strengthened his stable’s chances of victory in South Africa’s premier event, the Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July, when three of his big-race team put in strong performances at the World Sports Betting 1900 meeting at Greyville on Saturday, including victory in the main feature event.

With his stable already having four runners among the top 18 on the Vodacom Durban July Log, the impressive win by his Silvano gelding Elusive Silva in the R500 000, Grade 2 World Sports Betting 1900 could see this five-year-old joining them to give the exuberant and popular young conditioner what could become an exceptional and unique big race attack.

Following up on the win by Elusive Silva, two of his other contenders already in the top 18 on the log, the Silvano mare Star Express and the Dynasty gelding African Night Sky, confirmed they deserved their ratings when they led the field home in the Solid Speed (2016) Pinnacle Stakes over 1 600m to give trainer Snaith and jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe a quick double at the meeting. To emphasise that the stable was in serious top condition, jockey Grant van Niekerk then booted the three-year-old Silvano filly Miyabi Gold home for the stable in the final event of the day giving the yard and the German-bred stallion an impressive treble.

The somewhat disappointing performances by a few of the Vodacom Durban July contenders will have left the “July picture” very open but for Snaith the scenario could improve further if his former July winner Legislate, that won well in a recent barrier trial, impressed the July Selection Committee before they make their final selection.

Also improving his chances of a big race invite is the Ideal World gelding Dark Moon Rising from the Paul Lafferty stable. He came in for strong support in the betting to start tote favourite and, as some saw it, was unlucky not to win coming from off the pace to chase down Elusive Silva and suffer a mere half length defeat. He had not featured on the First July Log but is likely to show in the next along with the Toreador gelding Matador Man from the Sean Tarry yard that found traffic problems in the straight before running on well for third place.

While the Glen Kotzen-trained Pack Leader, well fancied to win Saturday’s WSB 1900, was scratched after showing signs of a colic attack before the race, did not get a chance to prove himself, the three-year-old Philanthropist colt is likely to retain his position on the log with the earlier scratching of Silvan Star and Lady In Black pushing him higher up the log.

After Saturday’s meeting another July nominee could muscle her way onto the July Log and that is the four-year-old Australian-bred filly Ngaga from the Andre Nel stable. She made the running in the Listed East Coast Cup over 2 000m under Richard Fourie then held off a challenge from Royal Utopia. However, while the win was impressive she may need to back that performance up with another strong effort before the final field is selected. Journalist Richard McMillan


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