This will be the first year Sun International will be sponsoring the race, and the first thing they did was to double the prize money from R2.5 million to R5 million. As a result, this became the most valuable Grade 1 race in South Africa, even bigger than the Durban July.
With the two CTS events, the Sprint over 1 200m and the Mile over 1 600m, each carrying prize money of US$500,000 (R6.77 million), as well as four other R1-million races, the stake money on offer for the day of R23.5-million is a record for the country and makes this the richest raceday in Africa.
Saturday will be the first time a South African race meeting will comprise 13 races and to make the meeting more interesting there will be two Pick 6s on offer. The first will be run from Race 4 to Race 9 and the second from Race 8 to Race 13. To stimulate the pools, there will be large carryovers for each Pick 6. The first will be boosted by R1.5 million and the estimated total pool is R7 million.
As the second Pick 6 is breaking new ground, it is hard to give an accurate assessment of what the pool will be but R500 000 will kick off the pool, and it is likely to reach R2.2 million.
Legal Eagle remains favourite for the Met but has drifted to 2-1, while second favourite Marinaresco remains firm at 5-2. Whisky Baron is at 9-2 but the biggest market move has been for Gold Standard, the lone three-year-old in the field, who has continued to shorten. He is now quoted at 8-1 after having been available at 20-1 a fortnight back.
Bela-Bela is the only filly who will be lining up, and she is at 9-1. Her stable companion, It’s My Turn, the mount of Piere Strydom, is at 14-1.