Sport » Horses
Golden Ducat grabbed an early advantage in the “Battle of the Big 4” when he drew barrier gate No 2 for the 2021 Grade 1 Cape Town Met, to be run at Kenilworth on 30 January.
By contrast, ante-post market favourite Belgarion will jump from the widest stall, No 11. The other members of South African racing’s ruling foursome, Rainbow Bridge and Do It Again, drew 6 and 9 respectively.
The Met field cut down to just 11 horses from an original 26 entries when final declarations were unveiled on Wednesday.
Eric Sands-trained Golden Ducat, winner of the recent Grade 2 Premier’s Trophy, retains the services of champion jockey Warren Kennedy, who got him to rally magnificently after being passed by fast finishers that day.
Golden Ducat’s half-brother and stablemate, Rainbow Bridge, will again be partnered by Luke Ferraris, who was in the irons when the Ideal World gelding ran second in his most recent outing, the Grade 1 Queen’s Plate.
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Third and fourth in the Queen’s Plate were Belgarion and Do It Again and they, too, keep their riders, Richard Fourie and Anton Marcus.
The only real surprise in the final line-up was the absence of Mike de Kock-trained three-year-old tyro Malmoos, who came out on deadline.
Triple Crown winner Summer Pudding, who lost her unbeaten record in the recent Grade 1 Paddock Stakes at Kenilworth, was scratched last week – as were the mildly fancied Justin Snaith duo of Nexus and Sachdev.
Malmoos’s withdrawal means Princess Calla, from the Adam Marcus stable at Milnerton, is the only three year old in the mix.
Marcus will be delighted with his filly’s pole position for the Met as it was her poor draw as an entry for the same-day Majorca Stakes that persuaded him to supplement her into the bigger race – that and a sterling effort against elders when placing third in the Paddock Stakes.
Under the weight-for-age race conditions, Princess Calla will carry just 51.5kg, a chunky 6kg less than the other two females in the field – De Kock’s dual Paddock Stakes champion Queen Supreme (draw 8) and Running Brave (draw 5), who’ll be raiding from the Highveld with intrepid new trainer Fanie Bronkhorst.
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Princess Calla – who Marcus says is strong for her age and is bred to go the Met distance – will have an 8.5kg advantage over most of the males, and 8kg over the two four year olds. Top lightweight jockey Grant van Niekerk has the booking.
Queen Supreme’s crushing victory in the 1800m Paddock has seen De Kock opt for the 2000m Met over the 1600m Majorca, for which she was also entered – with a handy draw but top weight. She’ll have Keagan de Melo aboard.
Bronkhorst took out his training licence just a few weeks ago and Running Brave was his first winner when she landed the Grade 3 London News Stakes at Turffontein – following a brilliant runner-up performance in the Summer Cup.
With her regular pilot Muzi Yeni “locked down” in Joburg, Greg Cheyne takes the coveted opportunity in Cape Town’s most famous race.
Final declarations for the Grade 1 R1-million Cape Town Met (draw, name, weight, merit rating, saddlecloth number, trainer, jockey):
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