Trainer Candice Bass-Robinson enjoyed her first Gr1 Vodacom Durban July winner at Greyville this Saturday when saddling the diminutive champion Marinaresco (Silvano) to make amends for a runner up finish in the same race last year and win the 2017 Gr1 Vodacom Durban July in style.

The 2017 Vodacom Durban July also proved another triumph for champion sire Silvano, responsible for the 1-2-5 finishers, in the form of Marinaresco, Al Sahem and Nightingale respectively. The 18 horse field got away to a good beginning in Saturday’s R4.25 million contest, with the runners evenly dispatched at the start of the 2200m contest. Last year’s winner The Conglomerate (Lonhro) was one of a five horse makeup which were handy early on, with others including the filly Safe Harbour (Elusive Fort), Saratoga Dancer (Mambo In Seattle) and Ten Gun Salute (Henrythenavigator).

Favourite Al Sahem (Silvano), who was accompanied to the start by a pony, was keen early on but quickly settled under jockey S’Manga Khumalo, while Horizon (Dynasty) was last and trailed the leader by 15 lengths. Stablemates Krambambuli (Black Minnaloushe) and It’s My Turn (Dynasty) went out to make the running, with It’s My Turn eventually going on to lead. Marinaresco, travelled strongly under Bernard Fayd’Herbe, came with a late rattle down the inside, while Al Sahem ran on down the outside.

Marinaresco prevailed by a long head from 3yo Al Sahem, who did his Equus award aspirations no harm with a bold effort in second. Edict Of Nantes ran third, just a short head in front of 40-1 longshot Krambambuli, with Marinaresco’s stablemate Nightingale back in fifth. Marinaresco, who was carrying top weight of 60kgs and was conceding Al Sahem 6.5kgs, won the 2017 Vodacom Durban July in a time of 132.51 He is a second July winner for jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe who steered Pocket Power (who carried the same silks as Marinaresco) to dead-heat for victory in the 2008 July. Bred by Mauritzfontein, Marinaresco was picking up the second Gr1 win of his career, having triumphed in last season’s Gr1 Mike And Carol Bass Champions Cup, and Saturday’s was the sixth win (from 18 starts) of his career. Last season’s Equus Champion 3YO Colt/Gelding, Marinaresco has now banked R5 085 425 for owners Mike Bass, Fred Green, Bryn Ressell and Marsh Shirtliff.