STAR Cape filly Oh Susanna, impressive winner of the region’s premier event, the Grade 1 Sun Met, tops the first Vodacom Durban July Log released yesterday and heads an exciting and very strong top end to Africa’s greatest racing event.

It is no surprise that the Justin Snaith-trained Australian import is the leading contender in the opinion of the official July Selection Committee and after outside Coral Fever from the Robbie Sage stable ran out a surprise winner of the Grade 1 Premiers Champion Challenge at Turffontein on Saturday, the five-year-old Judpot gelding staked his claim to what is likely to be a guaranteed position in the 2 200m spectacle.

The Sean Tarry stable is the country’s leading yard but at this stage has just one of its entries in the top 20 and that is the winner of the Summer Cup, Liege, that occupies third spot ahead of the three-year-old Gimmethegreenlight colt Surcharge that will represent trainer Stuart Pettigrew. The colt was just beaten into second place in the Derby at Turffontein on Saturday but it was a top-class effort and follows up on second placings in the Gauteng Guineas and SA Classic.

The four-year-old Russian Sage gelding Perovskia from the stable of veteran Cape trainer Harold Crawford elbowed his way onto the log with his unexpected victory in the Grade 2 Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes at Greyville on Friday evening. Before that win he had run consistently well and only missed the placings four times in 13 starts and this was the sixth win of his career.

Snaith has four of his nominees in the top 18 with the filly being supported by Investec Cape Derby runner-up Do It Again, African Night Sky and Star Express.

The Irish import Cascapedia is the sole representative of the Mike de Kock stable in the top 18 having won the London News but his three-year-old Captain Al colt Like A Panther is just on the outside looking in and could make his way into the final field as the season progresses.

The Dean Kannemeyer stable that has an excellent record in the country’s big race, finds two of its entries, It’s My Turn that was strongly fancied for the Vodacom Durban July last year and the runner up in the Peninsula Handicap, The Slade, among those just outside the top 18 on the log.

Photo: Coral Fever beats Abishiri in the Champions Challenge. (JC Photos).

Here is the latest log: