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On stage celebrations after the Sean Tarry-trained Cosmic Speed (Querari) had won the Gr 2 Durban Golden Horsehoe under Craig Zackey (Candiese Lenferna Photography) 

Justin Snaith has at some stages this season been a long odds-on favourite to defend his South African trainers championship and he, as well as those punters who took that price, will have been thanking their lucky stars that the Sean Tarry-trained Cousin Casey did not win the R5 million Hollywoodbets Durban July.

Even with Cousin Casey’s second place finish, coupled with an exacta in the  the Gr 2 R500,000 Durban Golden Horseshoe with Cosmic Speed and Proceed, and a third place finish in the Gr 3 R300,000 DSTV Gold Vase with Nebraas, Tarry has closed to within striking distance of Snaith.

On the other hand, Oriental Charm winning the July now sees Brett Crawford in contention for the title too, even if he remains a longshot.

Crawford also ran second with Happy Chance in the R1.5 million Gr 1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes, second with Fatal Flaw in the R500,000 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper and second in the Gr 2 R500,000 Post Merchants with At My Command.

Snaith had one of his most forgettable July days with his best black type finish being third in the Garden Province with the luckless Double Grand Slam and he otherwise had two fourth place finishes in Grade 3s, each worth R300,000.

He is now on  earnings of R19,602,250, just R1,197,112 clear of Tarry and R2,062,475 clear of Crawford.

There will be all to play for on Gold Cup day, just like there was last year.

Last year Tarry was well over R2 million behind Snaith on the morning of Gold Cup day and he got himself into a position where he would have been crowned champion with a favourable result in the Gr 1 Thekwini Stakes. Unfortunately, his two runners in the latter race ran unplaced.