Cape Town - Favourite Legal Eagle will start from barrier No 9 in the R5 million Sun Met celebrated with Mumm over 2 000m at Kenilworth Racecourse on Saturday, January 28 following this morning’s draw ceremony when most of the unwanted wide berths were taken by outsiders.
Dean Kannemeyer, still looking for his first Met win, fared particularly badly with Cape Speed drawn widest of all at No 15 and Mambo Mime only two places better.
Hassen Adams, owner of Mac de Lago, recalled that his 2011 winner Past Master had started from gate No 15 - only to find that he had picked only marginally better at No 14.
The runner who really benefited this time is Marinaresco. He was drawn wide when second in the Durban July and when disappointing in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate. Grant van Niekerk (“I’m glad Mr Shirtliff is not doing the draw because he only gets bad ones”) was the only jockey involved in the draw and he proved his tongue-in-cheek point by coming up with gate No 2.
The Conglomerate, whose long run of bad draws includes the July (which he won), the Summer Cup and the Queen’s Plate, fared much better at No 7. He also worked well when he went with stable companion Macduff (Donovan Dillon). The Conglomerate was ridden by retired jockey Jannie Bekker who got off and announced: “If Frankie Dettori decides he doesn’t want the horse I will be happy to take the ride!”
For once the gallops took place not in burning sunshine but in light drizzle - ideal for the horses but not for the sizeable crowd of onlookers - and Legal Eagle (Anton Marcus) was the first to work alongside French Navy (Weichong Marwing).
They were not asked to do all that much - and with the big race only nine days away nor were most of the others - but Marcus expressed himself satisfied with the favourite.
“That was more for the well-being of the public but Legal Eagle is in a good place,” said the four-time champion.
Marwing, who won this on the legendary Horse Chestnut in 1999, was every bit as pleased with French Navy and said: “French Navy is not the most impressive worker but I was happy with him. He has definitely come on since the Queen’s Plate and he will be better over the Met trip. I think he can finish in the money.”
Marinaresco impressed when worked over 1 600m with stable companion Horizon (Belinda Haytread) and Van Niekerk said: “I was pleased with him. It was a good gallop and he is doing very well.”
Heavily backed Whisky Baron worked on his own over 1 400m and rider Greg Cheyne said: “All good - I couldn’t be happier with that. He is maintaining his form beautifully.”
Bela-Bela (Anthony Delpech) was the other runner high-up in the betting to go well, working on her own over 1 600m with her tongue lolling out.
“That was a proper gallop and she was very impressive,” said Justin Snaith.
Gold Standard did not gallop after being jarred up on firm ground when worked at Kenilworth 10 days ago.
“I will have him fit and fresh on raceday,” vowed Glen Kotzen.
Final field with draws for the R5 million Sun Met (Grade 1) celebrated with Mumm
1 9 Legal Eagle 60 123 A Marcus Sean Tarry
2 14 Mac De Lago (AUS) 60 112 A Domeyer Weiho Marwing
3 7 The Conglomerate (AUS) 60 107 L Dettori Joey Ramsden
4 2 Marinaresco 59.5 115 G van Niekerk Candice Bass-Robinson
5 6 It's My Turn 59.5 106 P Strydom Justin Snaith
6 10 Captain America 58 116 C Orffer Brett Crawford
7 1 French Navy 58 113 W Marwing Sean Tarry
8 8 Whisky Baron (AUS) 57.5 110 G Cheyne Brett Crawford
9 12 Brazuca (AUS) 57.5 109 G Lerena Johan Janse van Vuuren
10 3 Baritone 57.5 105 A Fortune Justin Snaith
11 15 Cape Speed 57.5 101 K de Melo Dean Kannemeyer
12 13 Mambo Mime 57.5 99 G Behr Dean Kannemeyer
13 11 Macduff (AUS) 57.5 90 D Dillon Joey Ramsden
14 5 Bela-Bela 57 109 A Delpech Justin Snaith
15 4 Gold Standard 52 108 R Fourie Glen Kotzen