‘Ea­gle’ has Met at his mercy

The Star Early Edition - - RACING - DAVID THISELTON

SOUTH Africa is all set for prob­a­bly the great­est rac­ing day in its his­tory on Jan­uary 28 at Ke­nil­worth and the lu­cra­tive card is headed by the Gr 1 R5 mil­lion Sun Met.

A qual­ity field of fif­teen was an­nounced for the Met and adding spice was the dec­la­ra­tion of leg­endary jockey Frankie Det­tori to ride the Joey Rams­den-trained Vo­da­com Dur­ban July win­ner The Con­glom­er­ate.

The reign­ing Equus Horse Of The Year Le­gal Ea­gle is one of six horses who will be car­ry­ing a 2kg Gr 1 penalty.

The five-year-old geld­ing is prob­a­bly at his very best over a mile, but is com­fort­able over this 2 000m trip too, so con­sid­er­ing his good early pace, his ex­cep­tional turn of foot and abil­ity to find an­other gear when chal­lenged, he will be hard to beat.

Mac De Lago, The Con­glom­er­ate, Marinaresco, It’s My Turn and Bela-Bela are the oth­ers car­ry­ing Gr 1 penal­ties.

Mac De Lago

Mac De Lago was beaten 3,9 lengths by Le­gal Ea­gle in the Gr 1 Pre­mier’s Cham­pi­ons Chal­lenge over 2 000m and is now 2kg worse off.

The Con­glom­er­ate was re­ceiv­ing 4kg from Mac De Lago in the July and beat him by only 2,25 lengths, so he also looks held.

This is con­firmed by his fail­ure to win the Gr 1 hand­i­cap, the San­sui Sum­mer Cup, off a merit rat­ing of 106.

Marinaresco dis­ap­pointed in the L’Or­marins Queen’s Plate, but comes from a yard who are renowned for peak­ing their charges for their tar­get races.

The Met is this horse’s right trip and he has a mas­sive chance when con­sid­er­ing his July run where he came from an im­pos­si­ble po­si­tion to lose by only 0,25 lengths.


Bela-Bela fin­ished three lengths be­hind Smart Call in last year’s Gr 1 Maine Chance Pad­dock Stakes over 1 800m and the lat­ter went on to beat Le­gal Ea­gle by 3,5 lengths in the Met.

In her only pre­vi­ous run against the boys she fin­ished a 2,65 length sixth in the July and if weight for age is taken into ac­count is now ef­fec­tively 3,5kg bet­ter off with The Con­glom­er­ate.

It’s My Turn was a com­fort­able win­ner of last year’s Gr 1 In­vestec Cape Derby over course and dis­tance and has en­joyed a fine prepa­ra­tion.

He should be com­ing into his own be­ing a four-year-old geld­ing by Dy­nasty and with ex­pected fur­ther im­prove­ment from his 2,4 length third in the Gr 2 Penin­sula Hand­i­cap he should make his pres­ence felt.

How­ever, Whisky Baron could well be the main dan­ger to Le­gal Ea­gle.

He has im­proved con­tin­u­ously since geld­ing and his com­fort­able win in the Penin­sula sug­gested that he is still un­ex­posed. He re­ceives 2kg from the favourite and will be a big threat.

Cap­tain Amer­ica is an hon­est sort who has 4,5 lengths to make up on Le­gal Ea­gle from last year’s race.

How­ever, he will be get­ting a 2kg pull in his favour as his only Gr 1 win hap­pened more than 18 months ago.

The dark horse is un­doubt­edly Gold Stan­dard, who is the only three-year-old in the race. He fin­ished 0,5 lengths be­hind Wil­liam Longsword in the Gr 1 Grand Pa­rade Cape Guineas and this big and bold pair were not 3,25 lengths clear of the rest of the field by fluke. Gold Stan­dard should rel­ish the 2000m trip on pedi­gree.

French Navy

French Navy has plenty of class and, as his Gr 1 win was more than 18 months ago, he is now 2kg bet­ter off with Le­gal Ea­gle for a 2,1 length beat­ing in the Pre­mier’s Cham­pi­ons Chal­lenge.

Brazuca was a 3,8 length fifth in the Penin­sula and faces Whisky Baron on the same terms.

How­ever, he will now be hav­ing his third run after a rest and is 2kg bet­ter off with Its My Turn for a two length beat­ing in last year’s Cape Derby.

Bari­tone had a cur­tailed SA Cham­pi­ons Season and the best might not yet have been seen of him.

Cape Speed, Mambo Mime and Mac­Duff are all de­cent sorts and dis­tance suited, but they would need to step up on their form to be fac­tors. 1 000m trip. Hard-knock­ing Os­cu­la­tion will have a good chance here too. How­ever, there are many first-timers here and the one who makes ap­peal is Suc­cess­filly, who is by Var and is a half-sis­ter to the use­ful Frosty Fri­day.

She has a high draw which is ad­van­ta­geous by trends on this track.


Gun­ship and Hear The Storm could fight out the next race over 1000m.

In the sixth race, Bu­rundi Bush is bet­ter than her last start and is now off a com­pet­i­tive merit rat­ing and drawn well.

The Tarry-Khu­malo com­bi­na­tion must be con­sid­ered with Seek­ing Venus, who has her third run after a lay­off and is drawn well off a re­duced merit rat­ing. How­ever, it’s an ul­tra com­pet­i­tive race and go­ing wide might be the best op­tion.

In the sev­enth, im­pres­sive de­but win­ner Brigt­num­ber­six could beat Movie Award and The Smell Of Rain, al­though back in form Pa­ree must be con­sid­ered and so must Pool Party.

The eighth is an­other tough race al­though Out­shine and Teenage Dream make most ap­peal. In the last race Just A Gigolo is well drawn over an ideal trip and goes well for Piere Stry­dom, al­though he has Max­i­mizer to beat, the lat­ter hav­ing im­pressed sec­ond time out over this trip.

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