Final declarations for the Vodacom Durban July close at 11am on Monday, with the final field and draws due to be unveiled on Tellytrack on Tuesday. A round 30 remain nominated and with only 18 places available (plus two reserves) the selection panel is likely to have some thinking to do when it sits down sometime on Monday afternoon.
One of the major quandaries will concern Black Arthur. The Silvano gelding was not in the top 25 when the last log appeared on 6 June. A close-up third in the Cup Trial subsequently under 60kg may have been enough to qualify him, but that seems by no means certain, despite him being fifth on the Betting World book at 10-1.
The Snaith camp has never been shy in terms of public relations and have been talking him up at every opportunity. They successfully ran a similar campaign for Run For It in 2013 and that one more than justified his place when finishing runner-up to Heavy Metal.
Mr Winsome was a supplementary entry on 12 June and made himself impossible to leave out after a gutsy win in the Grade 3 Track and Ball Derby at Scottsville on Sunday. The filly Girl On The Run may also come up for discussion after filling the runner-up slot in the Grade 3 Track And Ball Oaks at the same race meeting. Chances are she hasn’t quite done enough, however.
Coral Fever was also supplemented following his win in the Jubilee Handicap on 11 June. This is one of the races which promises the winner “preferential consideration for inclusion” in the final field. What weight the panel will give this guideline remains open to speculation and while clearly still improving, with a current merit rating of 93 he will be comfortably under sufferance at the weights if he is selected.
All of which leaves the connections of previously marginal candidates like Pagoda, Tilbury Fort and Horizon facing a couple of nights of fitful sleep before discovering their fate on Tuesday.