The R250,000, Grade 3 Cup Trial (1800m) at Greyville on Saturday is a last gasp opportunity for Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July (2200m) field borderline horses to put up their hands for a berth in the field and this year’s race will be fascinating as six of the nine runners are July entries and they will all need big runs to book their places.
Black Arthur, picture Nkosi Hlophe
Rising Sun in unison with Gold Circle always put on an amazing race day and Greyville is the place to be on Saturday to watch the Cup Trial, the Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge and the Grade 2 Tibouchina Stakes.
The Justin Snaith-trained Black Arthur is the fourth favourite in the July at 10/1 with Betting World, yet is nowhere to be seen on the latest July log, which was released yesterday. He started 10/1 for last year’s July and finished a 2.75 length seventh, but was unlucky as he was hindered by a horse inside of him when making his run on the outside and could have got closer.
He subsequently had a haemoconcentration problem and can be forgiven his below par form in the Cape summer. Gelding has solved his issues and he was staying on in the Drill Halls Stakes over 1400m to finish just 2.75 lengths back under Anthony Delpech. He should come on a lot for the run and will relish the step up in trip. He has landed a good draw of four and Delpech, who partnered him to win last season’s Grade 2 Canon Guineas, stays aboard. He has to carry topweight, but it would be no surprise if he turns out to be better than his current 104 merit rating as he has always been highly regarded.
His stablemate Elusive Silva went up to near the top of the boards after his impressive win under Delpech in the Listed Sledgehammer over this course and distance. He is currently a July 13/1 shot, having run a bit of a flat race in the Betting World 1900, although the lack of pace did not suit him there and a gap did not open for him immediately at the top of the straight.
He is now in position 20 on the July log and needs a big run, but Delpech looks to have opted for Black Arthur. He could not have got a better replacement in Richard Fourie and off his 99 merit rating he gets 2.5kg from Black Arthur. He does have the widest draw of all to overcome and will likely have to rely on his magnificent turn of foot to earn a July berth.
Nebula is the Algoa Cup holder and won his Champions Season debut over 1600m on the Greyville poly hands and heels after moving up impressively. He looks to have come into his own and is drawn in pole.
The long-striding Royal Badge was running on in eyecatching style in that race and will relish the extra 200m in this race.
Master Switch has run below par in all three of his starts at Greyville as he has not settled well, but he now has a plum draw and if he finds cover and settles he has the ability to go close.
Champion trainer Sean Tarry has four in the top 20 on the log and will try and qualify the gallant filly Trophy Wife in this race. She has been one of the best of a magnificent crop of females and last time out was staying on well for a 1.9 length third in defence of her Grade 2 Gerald Rosenberg crown over 2000m at Turffontein . After a layoff she had three runs in about five weeks, so that was a tough ask and she might now be ready to give of her best.
Celtic Captain has been scratched from the July as it is probably a touch too far for him. He can be headstrong so is another one who needs cover, because if he settles he has a fine turn of foot and a sustained finish. His draw of six is thus a bit tricky but if he does find cover and settles this trip will be ideal and he will go close.
Go Direct, not a July entry, produced an amazing finish to win a Pinnacle event over this trip at Turffontein in April and he was caught wide in the Betting World 1900 before ending in a probably too handy position. He now has a plum draw and if held up off the pace could surprise.
The front-running Crowd Pleaser is the most interesting runner in the race as he won an Allowance Plate over this trip on the poly last time out and beat none other than Edict Of Nantes and Lady Of The World, who won the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 and Gr 1 Woolavington 2000 in their next respective starts.
The latter pair were likely preparing in that race but it was still a fine display and Crowd Please has won his last three starts at Greyville. Against him is his wide draw as he will have to make some use of to get to the front.
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