Legal Eagle: "he is five for five over a mile"PICTURE: Goldcircle.co.za
Legal Eagle a short price for Sun Met after romp
Report: South Africa, Saturday
Kenilworth: L'Ormarins Queen's Plate (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+
LEGAL EAGLE (Sean Tarry/Anton Marcus) had few problems repeating last year's win in South Africa's premier mile race and he is now a short-priced favourite for the Sun Met on January 28.
Marcus had his mount handily placed throughout and the 13-20 chance strode clear to beat 28-1 shot Captain America by two and a quarter lengths. The runner-up is part-owned by Diane Nagle who was there to watch him. He will renew rivalry with the winner in the Met.
Winning trainer Sean Tarry said: "This gets us all excited for things to come. I wasn't convinced about his last gallop, which I thought was a bit ordinary, although Anton was happy with it."
Marcus added: "Legal Eagle is a very good horse and he is five for five over a mile. Also there are no stamina doubts with him."
The big disappointment of the race was Marinaresco. The second favourite spent much of it with only one behind him and, although he made up five lengths in the final furlong, he could get no closer than fourth.
Rider Grant van Niekerk said: "I was miles back and way out of my ground. I never had much of a chance and the horse didn't enjoy it. We would have done better with a better draw."
The trophy was presented by Princess Eugenie of York.
Bela-Bela: got up almost in the last stridePICTURE: Goldcircle.co.za
Also on Saturday
Kenilworth: Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (Grade 1) 1m 1f, turf, 3yo+ f/m
Bela-Bela (Justin Snaith/Anton Marcus) booked her Met ticket when getting up in almost the last stride to beat Cape Fillies Guineas runner-up Safe Harbour by less than half a length.
Marcus said: "I had a few anxious moments - the pace was ordinary and in the straight they sprinted away from her - but for her to get up from the position she was in was full of merit. It was her class that did it. She will be better over slightly further."
Snaith added: "It was a good run but I thought a bit of a flat run. There is more to come."