While only 11 runners are carded to go to post on Saturday for the Grade 1 Cape Town Met over 2000m at Kenilworth, it is a strong field with a wide spread of age groups.
The field comprises one three-year-old, two four-year-olds, five five-year-olds, two six-year-olds and one seven-year-old.
“It’s a nice spread of generations at weight for age, which is not what we get often these days because the young horses retire early,” said trainer Mike de Kock, who saddles Queen Supreme, one of the three fillies in the race.
De Kock has won the Met three times, his last victory coming in 2012 with another top filly, Igugu.
The other trainer to have won this race three times is Vaughan Marshall, who had success last year with One World. He saddles 50-1 outsider Silver Operator this time.
Of the jockeys ridding in Saturday’s race, the most successful has been Anton Marcus, who has won it three times. His last victory came in 2019 when he rode Rainbow Bridge, while his two previous triumphs were on the brilliant Empress Club in 1993 for Tony Millard and Hill Fifty Four in 2014 for Marshall.
This time he is riding Do It Again for Justin Snaith. Ironically, Do It Again finished second when Marcus won on Rainbow Bridge.
Snaith also runs 2-1 race favourite Belgarion, who will be ridden by Richard Fourie, who despite his success in so many other top races around the country, has yet to win the Met.
Trainer Eric Sands has an interesting CV for this race. Officially, he has won it just once – with Rainbow Bridge – but he did train Polo Classic in 2002 on behalf of Joburg trainer Terry Lowe, and had Jungle Warrior in 1990, who was officially trained by Terrance Millard.
This year he has a very strong hand with Rainbow Bridge and his half-brother, Golden Ducat, who are quoted at 9-2 and 7-1 respectively.
Those looking for a good outsider to back for a place should consider Cirillo. He is questionable over the distance, but he is trained by champion trainer Sean Tarry and has a top jockey in Gavin Lerena.
He is quoted at 33-1 but has always been competitive against these runners.