Legal Eagle has the makings of South African horseracing’s next superstar and can take another step towards fame this afternoon in Cape Town’s premier race, the R2.5 million J&B Met over 2 000 metres at Kenilworth.
He is the highest-rated thoroughbred in the country and the case for him in this 2 000m contest is overwhelming after his victory in the 1 600m Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth three weeks ago.
This Joburg-based four-yearold put three of the country’s big guns to the sword in their own backyard in that race, winning decisively by 1.5 lengths from 2014 Horse-of-the-Year Legislate, with Captain America and 2015 Horseof-the-Year Futura further back in fourth and fifth respectively.
That was a remarkable performance by Legal Eagle in his first start on a left-handed track and over a distance short of his best.
He now meets Legislate, Captain America and Futura on 0.5kg better weight terms and it’s on the cards that this late-maturing gelding is still improving, which is not the case with his three older rivals.
For many punters, he’s a natural banker in a bonanza Pick 6 pool on today’s Kenilworth race meeting. The pool boasts a R2.2 million carryover, which is set to ignite a betting frenzy that is expected to drive the total pool past the R8 million mark.
Surprisingly, in light of his watertight credentials, Legal Eagle is drifting in the betting and was 16- 10 favourite yesterday after being as short as 11-10 in midweek. The lack of ante-post support may be partially due to rumours this week that all is not right with champion trainer Sean Tarry’s charge.
Tarry has labelled the rumours “hot air” and said: “Legal Eagle is fit and well and carrying good condition. I was happy with his gallop last Thursday and we’ve had no setbacks. I’m very happy with him.” – firstname.lastname@example.org