Sum­mer Cup field shap­ing up

The Star Early Edition - - RACING - DAVID THISELTON

HE Alec Laird-trained Na­tional Assem­bly geld­ing, Earl Of Derby, ran a cracking sec­ond in the Gr 2 Vic­tory Moon Stakes over 1 800m at Turf­fontein on Satur­day and this should have booked him his place in the Gr 1 San­sui Sum­mer Cup, to be run over 2 000m on Novem­ber 29.

How­ever, he has sub­se­quently been raised from a 95 merit rat­ing to 100 so his weight for the Sum­mer Cup will in­crease from the orig­i­nal 51,5kg to 54kg.

The win­ner of the race, Ju­di­cial, will vir­tu­ally be an au­to­matic into the fi­nal field but he was given the max­i­mum raise of six points to 102 mean­ing he will carry 55kg in the big race.

Earl Of Derby was just out­side the top 20 on the lat­est Sum­mer Cup log, but not only did he put 5,75 lengths be­tween him­self and the third placed horse on Satur­day, but he also com­fort­ably beat two horses, Kil­lua Cas­tle and Knock On Wood, who were in­cum­bents in the top 20.

Knock On Wood has since been scratched by Or­mond Fer­raris leav­ing at least one spot open.

The pan­el­lists will likely have to drop another horse out of the top 20 to make a

Tplace for Earl Of Derby, and that could pro­vide them with a headache. Fur­ther­more, another horse that wasn’t in the top 20, the St. John Gray-trained Ever­est, fin­ished a com­mend­able third in the Vic­tory Moon, beat­ing Kil­lua Cas­tle by 6,5 lengths, although the lat­ter was car­ry­ing joint top­weight and had to give Ever­est 6kg.

Ear­lier in the day the Sean Tarry-trained En­chanted Silk won a MR 92 Hand­i­cap over 1 800m in good style and Tarry is hop­ing that will be enough for her to get into the field as he rates her as his lead­ing con­tender.

The four-year-old Ka­hal filly fin­ished 4,85 lengths be­hind Jet Belle in the weight for age Gr 2 Gold Bracelet over 2 000m at the end of last sea­son and will likely re­ceive 4kg from her in the Sum­mer Cup.

How­ever, her merit rat­ing was only raised to 93 after Satur­day’s win, so she is still very much a bor­der­line case.

The ver­sa­tile Jet Belle also won on Satur­day, but was well treated in the Pin­na­cle Stakes event and wasn’ t given a merit rated raise so re­mains on 103.

There were no sup­ple­men­tary en­tries into the Sum­mer Cup on Mon­day, which was the the fi­nal date for en­tries.

ALEC LAIRD is set to sad­dle Earl Of Derby for the Sum­mer Cup.

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