Horse Racing at Turfontein. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Horse Racing at Turfontein. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

Following the victory of well-backed Whisky Baron at the 2017 Sun Met, bookies are understandably wary about any runner from Brett Crawford’s stable and they’ve promoted his three-year-old Edict Of Nantes to the top of the betting boards for the Vodacom Durban July.

Ridden by Anton Marcus, Edict of Nantes, winner of the Investec Derby in January, owes this new position to his courageous success in last weekend’s Daily News 2000 at Greyville.

Highveld bookmaker Lance Michael now quotes Edict Of Nantes as the 9-2 favourite for the July followed by Al Sahem at 11-2 and Marinaresco at 13-2.

Harare-born Crawford, 45, could have July back-up in the form of his grade1 winner Captain America, should he decide to let the horse take his chance in the big race. He is currently easy to back at 30-1.

Following the Daily News result, Gold Circle have published the latest July log which sees Edict Of Nantes (merit-rating 107) in the top slot ahead of Sean Tarry’s Al Sahem (106), Marinaresco (110), Orchid Island (101), Captain America (116) and Bela-Bela (109).

Next Saturday’s R1m Rising Sun Gold Challenge will make the July picture a lot clearer as eight July entries will be bidding in the final line-up.

Marinaresco and Captain America are the two big names, but their jockeys can expect challenges from the likes of Master Sabina (Geoff Woodruff), French Navy (Sean Tarry), Bela-Bela (Justin Snaith) and Saratoga Dancer (Duncan Howells).

Howells’ Aussie import Ten Gun Salute looks certain of a July place following his win in the Betting World Greyville 1900, but stablemate Saratoga Dancer needs a forward showing to ensure participation on July 1.

Al Sahem, runner-up to Edict Of Nantes in the Daily News, looks assured of a July slot but the July panel will be having a close look at French Navy who failed to take a hand in the finish of the recent Premier’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein.

Another Tarry inmate, Liege, a 40-1 chance for the July, is among the next five in the July log after the top 20 which have been announced. The Greyville track will suit the gelding if he manages to make the final field.

Saturday’s grade3 Cup Trial is of particular significance for jockey Anthony Delpech as two Snaith runners he has been linked with — Black Arthur and Elusive Silva — will battle against Woodruff’s Master Switch, and Tarry’s Trophy Wife. Tarry was upset when the latter did not get an invite for the 2016 July.

Delpech has opted to partner Black Arthur in the Trial and this has not gone unnoticed by the bookies with Michael quoting the Snaith inmate as 9-1 fourth favourite for the July.

Bela-Bela, who runs in the Rising Sun race, was Delpech’s unplaced July ride 12 months ago so even if the filly performs well on Saturday the KwaZulu-Natal-based rider looks unlikely to turn to her again.

Master Switch will carry the Mayfair Speculator colours in Saturday’s race with Anton Marcus hoping to emerge victorious as he did on Edict Of Nantes last Saturday.

It is proving a successful period for leading owner Markus Jooste with Douglas Macarthur running well in the Investec Derby and Lady Of The House taking the Woolavington 2000 in good style.

Perhaps the most important factor in the Rising Sun race will be the run of Marinaresco, who ran a brave second in the 2016 race before disappointing his supporters in the Met.

Candice Bass-Robinson, in her first season as a licensed trainer, will be more than delighted if the four-year-old bounced back to form in the Drill Hall Stakes and the son of Silvano now needs to build on that effort.

It is not impossible that — should he emerge a clear-cut winner on Saturday — Marinaresco could replace Edict Of Nantes at the top of the July betting market.

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