Eyes Wide Open was the most significant scratching just a day before the Vodacom Durban July final field announcement.

Eyes Wide Open (Candiese Lenferna)

The other scratching was Duke Of Spin.

Eyes Wide Open finished a strong-finishing fourth in last year’s July.

However, he has not been able to match that form this season and could only manage a moderate fourth in Saturday’s final qualifying race, the Grade 3 Track And Ball Derby.

Trainer Glen Kotzen said he had pulled up a hundred percent sound and explained, “It was a big rush to qualify him after his gelding and he has had three quick runs in successions. The owners have now decided it would thus be better to give him a breather until the Gold Cup so he will have no more runs until then.”

He was bought recently by the Gujadhur family, who have one of the world’s oldest racing stables and are virtually royalty in Mauritius racing circles.

The five-year-old is out of a mare whose only win was over 1000m and his female side is a mixture of speed and middle distance class. His fast finish off a slow pace in last year’s July also suggested he has plenty of speed. However, both his sire Dynasty and damsire Jallad impart stamina so there can be hope he will stay the Gold Cup 3200m distance.