Justin Snaith-trained Black Arthur is 10-1 fourth favourite with Betting World for the Vodacom Durban July, yet is not on the latest July log, which was released on Tuesday.
He started 10-1 for last year’s July but was hampered when making his run and could have got closer than a 2.75-length seventh.
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 recent Drill Hall Stakes over 1400m, when beaten just 2.75 lengths under Anthony Delpech. He should come on a lot for the run and will relish the step up in trip when he runs in the Grade 3 Cup Trial over 1800m at Greyville on Saturday.
He has landed a good draw of four and Delpech, who was aboard when he won last season’s Grade 2 Canon Guineas, is back in the irons.
He has top weight, 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.
Stablemate Elusive Silva went up to near the top of the betting boards after his impressive win under Delpech in the Listed Sledgehammer over this course and distance.
He is currently 13-1 for the July, having run a bit of a flat race in the Betting World 1900 – though the slow pace did not suit him there and a gap did not open for him at the top of the straight.
He is now No 20 on the July log and needs a big run in the Cup Trial but jockey bookings suggest Black Arthur is the better-fancied Snaith runner.
Elusive Silva could not have got a better replacement in Richard Fourie and with a merit rating of 99, gets 2.5kg from Black Arthur.
He has the widest draw to overcome and will have to rely on his magnificent turn of foot to earn a berth in the July.
Algoa Cup winner Nebula won his KwaZulu-Natal season debut over 1600m on the Greyville Polytrack under a hands-and-heels ride after moving up impressively. He looks to have come into his own and is drawn in pole position.
Long-striding Royal Badge was running on in eye-catching style in that race and will relish this extra 200m.
Master Switch has run below par in all three of his starts at Greyville because he could not be settled, but a plum draw could help him find cover and he has the ability to go close.
Champion trainer Sean Tarry has four in the top 20 on the July log and tries to qualify a fifth in gallant filly Trophy Wife. She has been one of the best of a magnificent crop of females and last time out stayed on well for a 1.90-length third in the Grade 2 Gerald Rosenberg Handicap over 2000m at Turffontein.
That was her third run in about five weeks, so was a tough ask and she might now be ready to give of her best again.
Celtic Captain can be headstrong without cover but has a fine turn of foot and a sustained finish. His draw of No 6 is tricky.
Go Direct produced an amazing finish to win a Pinnacle event over this trip at Turffontein in April and was caught wide before racing too handily in the Betting World 1900. He could surprise.
Front-running Crowd Pleaser is the most interesting runner after beating Daily News 2000 winner Edict Of Nantes and Woolavington 2000 heroine Lady Of The World last time out.
While he was fitter than those two it was still a fine display. Against him is a wide draw. – Gold Circle.