“PUNTERS can relax now, Elusive Silva will run in the Durban July. He’s in, and he will have a big chance,” said a relieved Justin Snaith after the four-year-old by Silvano had flown up late to deny the powerful front-runner Crowd Pleaser and stablemate Black Arthur in a close finish.

There has been a lot of talk about Elusive Silva in recent weeks and he was installed favourite for the 2017 Vodacom Durban July when then betting first opened. However, he finished out of the frame in the Betting World 1900 when he was expected to confirm his status and place in the final field.

Snaith explained:  “Due to the heavy rain in KZN we only had eight days of cantering (prior to the Betting World 1900). He had to race on a heavy track so it was a double whammy for us, but that is what nature intended.”

Jockey Richard Fourie, who rode his typical big-race ‘pearler’, commented: “I said to Justin when I rode Elusive Silva in Cape Town that if I have to take a ride in the July, this is him.  He’s a big, strong horse, he quickens well. The pace wasn’t on, I got him going in time but he ran green with me, he was hanging in over the last 300m.

“I think he could have won easier, this was not the most fashionable win, but a win is a win,” added Fourie.

In third, Black Arthur have a good account of himself under top weight and, having proved his own well-being and return to form, comes into The VDJ reckoning too.

Lightly-raced Elusive Silva is owned by a partnership including Etienne Braun and Paul Loomes, Ken and Jane Truter. He is by Silvano from Esprit, by Fort Wood and was raised by John and Beth Brandtner at Nutfield Stud.

Photo by Candiese Marnewick.

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