First there were 54, now there are 43 after today’s first declarations for the Gr1 Vodacom Durban July.

Significant casualties today were Jet Dark and Summer Pudding who join Gr1 winners Malmoos and Captain’s Ransom on the sidelines.

Speaking to David Thiselton yesterday about Jet Dark, Snaith said, “It is his 130 merit rating which is the off putting factor for the Vodacom Durban July and I also think our next Cape Summer Season is going to be one of our best ever so I plan to race all of my top horses not more than twice in the SA Champions Season. But if Jet Dark does something phenomenal in the Gold Challenge, we might still run him in the July.”

Snaith has obviously made up his mind.

Jet Dark is the highest rated three-year-old in the country at present and as things stand would have had to carry 56kgs in the July and would have to give the likes of Linebacker (124) and Kommetdieding (120) 3kgs apiece.

It would appear that Paul Peter has taken a similar view with Summer Pudding after her disappointing effort in the Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein behind Got The Greenlight. It was a race run at a muddling pace but both Malmoos and Summer Pudding are probably due a lengthy break whereas Joey Soma has current ante-post favourite Got The Greenlight progressing towards turning the tables on Belgarion on Saturday, July 3.

Peter still has the progressive filly Netta entered, winner of the recent Gerald Rosenberg Stakes and third to War Of Athena in the SA Oaks.

Belgarion takes a similar route into the VDJ as he did last year and is due to defend his title in the WSB 1900 on Sunday May 16, before going into the big one.

Snaith still holds six entries including dual VDJ winner Do It Again who is nominated to contest a Pinnacle Stakes in his warm-up to the VDJ where his merit rating will not be affected, win lose or draw.