Last weekend saw the running of the J&B Met, one of the races we all want to win. I rode mainly for the Snaith stable on the day and with three runners in the R2.5-million feature, their main goal was to win their first Met.
They didn’t win the big one but they did walk away with eight winners on the day. I was lucky to have ridden four of them.
Actually, I have been lucky in the past to be part of a stable when they have had a great day. I rode for Gary Alexander when he had six winners at Turffontein and for David Ferraris when he had six winners, and if I remember correctly that included three Graded races and one Listed event. When Snaith set up the record in Port Elizabeth where he had seven winners, I rode for him at that meeting.
This was really something special as eight winners in one day established another record, and the fact it happened on a day like J&B Met day has to be considered an unbelievable feat.
However, Justin said he would trade all eight winners to have won the Met. I must be honest, for me I would take the eight winners on one day, for the reason that every year there is Met winner but this could be a record held for quite a while by one person – and that person is you.
I rode Legislate in the Met but unfortunately there was not enough early pace and he is the type of horse who pulls. He would have been better off having a horse or two in front of him. I would have preferred to get cover and at the top of the straight make a dash for home, but it didn’t work out that way.
There was a little bit of wind so we all looked for cover but life doesn’t always give you what you want. I thought Legal Eagle would be hard to beat but it was an amazing performance by Smart Call. At the top of the straight we all quickened up but Legal Eagle quickened up better than I did and I thought he would go on and win the race. But I was quite amazed to see how Smart Call accelerated and put daylight between us and her.
So the Met is over for another year and we now start the autumn season on the Highveld. Today we have a couple of lower level features but these are all there to build up for the Guineas and Fillies Guineas at the end of the month.
The main event is the Grade 3 Tony Ruffel Stakes over 1450m on the Turffontein Inside track and I’m riding Lineker. He’s quite a nice horse but as this is not a handicap it probably will be difficult for him to win. My banker of the day – in all bets – is New Predator. If you think Lineker has a chance this horse only has to be 95% fit to defeat us.
He beat us by four lengths at the same weight in the Dingaans and he is possibly a fitter horse than we are right now so that makes him a good thing. Lineker is quite a big horse and my suspicion is that he will need the run.
Romany Prince could possibly chase him home although he has a bad draw.
The Three Troikas Stakes is for fillies and I ride Madame Dubois. She could have a chance on form, especially as she has a good draw. Unfortunately she has not run for quite a while and I’m not too sure about her fitness. My first selection is Negroamaro who has fitness on her side but unfortunately has a bad draw.
For that reason you could back her up with She’s A Dragon for the PA. For the Pick 6 consider Madame Dubois, Joan Ranger, Noor and Bella Sonata.
Going back to Race 1, which is a 1000m affair for maidens, Dolphin is the highest rated runner so unless the unraced horse, Movie Show, is something special he will be hard to beat.
The horse most likely to follow him home is Calapan, who finally has a good draw.
In Race 2 one needs to take note of unraced runner Malinga. I’m sure Gavin Lerena could have ridden Ronnie Rocket and for that reason he might rate Malinga higher. Of the raced horses I’m leaning towards Golden Man. I’m riding Ronnie Rocket who could place.
Race 3 is another Maiden Plate and Seattle Surprise is lightly raced and could possibly improve quite a bit. As money came for her on debut she could show some ability and could quite easy be a Place Accumulator banker. If she is not your fancy consider Shelly and Uproar as back up.
In Race 4 my selections are Master Switch and Fah Fee but as I think Fah Fee could be suspect over this distance I would consider banking Master Switch in the PA and possibly the Pick 6. If you don’t like Master Switch then add Fah Fee into the Pick 6.
Race 5 is a tough race and my first call was to get the ride on She’s A Looker. I think she should win and hopefully make Barend Botes feel better as he has not been very well lately. Her dangers are Ruby Ruby and Eina and those three should be good enough for the PA. For the Pick 6 add in as many as you can.
I ride American Story who beat a weak maiden field last time. I don’t know too much about her but I’m hoping for improvement as she is lightly raced.
Race 6 is the Listed Wolf Power 1600 and it is quite a competitive race with many having chances. My preferences are for Killua Castle, Master ‘N Commander and Easy Lover. Include those three in the Place Accumulator.
For the Pick 6 consider Shadow Ofhis Smile, Sovereign Mint and the horse I rode last time, Light The Way, who got cut off at a vital stage. I ride Captain Aldo who seems well held on form.
In Race 9 you could go quite light. In fact, I would make Aldiara a PA banker and possibly even a Pick 6 banker. If you are worried about banking in the last then Lady Al and Shiver ‘N Shake should follow her home.