Horse of the Year and the runner best suited by the weight-for-age conditions of the race Legal Eagle drew wide at No 15 for the R5-million Sun Met celebrated with G.H. MUMM (Grade 1) over 2000m at Kenilworth on Saturday 27 January.

In spite of his wide barrier the Sean Tarry-trained star, who has had a picture-perfect preparation with victories in the Green Point Stakes and Queen’s Plate to his credit in Cape Town this summer, is currently joint favourite at 9-2 with Marinaresco in Betting World’s latest prices.

The Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Marinaresco, a superb fifth in the Queen’s Plate over a distance he would have found sharp, also did not fare well in the ballot for barrier positions, drawing at No 13.

Robinson said: “I’m not too unhappy about Marinaresco’s draw. He doesn’t race up with the pace and likes to be given a chance so it’s not the end of the world.”

Dean Kannemeyer’s charge, Last Winter, who briefly touched favourite in the days leading up to the announcement of the final field on Monday and then the draws yesterday, drew widest of all in the 20 horse field – the highest number of runners seen in years in this race. He has been pushed out to 11-2 with Oh Susanna, the only three-year-old in the field, on offer at 17-2. One of five horses trained by Justin Snaith, the Australian-bred filly fared well in the ballot and drew stall No 6.

Two more of Snaith’s runners are near the top of Betting World’s boards, Copper Force and African Night Sky, who are both quoted at 9-1. Copper Force, who finished like a bullet in the Queen’s Plate and was not beaten far by Legal Eagle, drew well at No 7 with his stable companion one berth to his outside.

Robinson has two other runners in the race, Horizon, who drew at No 19 and Nightingale, who drew well at No 4.

Both ran “crackers” in the Durban July, Nightingale finishing fourth and proving she has the class to give the big boys a run for their money, and Horizon coming from right at the back to finish a 0.65-length sixth.

“Horizon’s draw is less than ideal,” said Robinson. “He’s going to have to be dropped in again, like in the July when he ran on well. We were always planning on doing that in the Met because he’s been ridden more handily in his last two races and got one-paced late. I would like him to have drawn a bit closer, but we’ll take what we get. If there’s a good pace, he’ll definitely be running on.”

She continued: “Nightingale ran no sort of a race in the Paddock Stakes, but was badly interfered with – she was nearly put over the fence, so put a line through that run.”

 

 

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