Is Anton Marcus about to desert Horse of the Year?
A comment from top jockey Anton Marcus has racing fans wondering whether he will desert "Horse of the Year" Legal Eagle in favour of Edict Of Nantes in January’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
After Marcus had steered Legal Eagle to his 11th career win in Saturday’s Green Point Stakes, he said: "Edict Of Nantes will be the improver out of the race in my opinion."
Marcus is contracted to leading owner Markus Jooste, who owns both Legal Eagle and Edict Of Nantes.
So the decision may rest with Jooste’s racing manager, Derek Brugman, who will clearly want Marcus to partner the horse most likely to take top honours in the grade1 race.
Champion trainer Sean Tarry will be less than charmed if a change is made as Marcus has built up a great relationship with Legal Eagle, whose career earnings are approaching R10m. Saturday’s success took his stakes tally to R9.71m.
However, Legal Eagle is now six years of age and two years older than Edict Of Nantes.
This could be one of the factors why Marcus feels the son of Count Dubois has scope for improvement.
Edict Of Nantes, ridden by Piere Strydom, finished a creditable second in Saturday’s race and in front of stablemate Captain America, who is still earning stake money but — at seven years of age — may battle to register another grade1 win.
Interestingly, exactly a year ago it was subsequent Vodacom Durban July winner Marinaresco who was being tipped to dethrone Legal Eagle. The two horses dominated the betting on both the Queen’s Plate and Sun Met.
Legal Eagle came up trumps once again in the Queen’s Plate and success in the race on January 6 will complete a hat-trick for Tarry’s charge in the prestigious race.
This year it is Edict Of Nantes who many pundits feel is set to dominate the Cape season and Brett Crawford’s four-year-old has been priced up as the 7-2 second favourite by Worldsports Betting for the Sun Met on January 28. Legal Eagle is quoted the 22-10 favourite, with Marinaresco at 8-1.
Mike de Kock’s star mare Nother Russia is on offer at 10-1.
Last week, this column’s long shot for the Cape Fillies Guineas, Oh Susanna, finished second. Those looking for a Met outsider should consider Marinaresco’s stablemate, Nightingale.
Worldsports Betting is offering this talented inmate of Candice Bass-Robinson’s stable at just under 10-1 to finish in the first four.
Turffontein host a night-meeting on Tuesday and trainer De Kock, whose stable has been in really hot form in recent weeks, should again be among the winners.
All of Sweaty Betty (fourth race), Mujallad (fifth) and Royal Crusade (seventh) have sound chances in their respective events, with possibly the first-named the pick of this trio.
The big danger to Mujallad should be Dorrie Sham’s runner Pinnacle Peak, while both Down To Zero (Gavin Lerena) and Whorly Whorly should not be far away.
The final leg of the jackpot could produce a close finish between Banking April and Redberry Lane, with the latter getting a narrow vote.