Champion trainer Sean Tarry has revealed the 2018 plans for Legal Eagle, which include a possible trip to contest a big race in Hong Kong or Singapore.
"He [Legal Eagle] definitely runs in both the Queen’s Plate and Sun Met, then — if the quarantine situation changes, and there are signs it will — we may revisit the idea of him competing in Hong Kong or Singapore," said the 49-year-old trainer.
The dual "horse of the year" will now race in the silks of owner Braam van Huyssteen, who has bought the six-year-old for an undisclosed sum.
Tarry’s confirmation that the gelding will run in the Met will be welcome news for the horse’s legion of fans as Van Huyssteen had been quoted as saying there were "other possible avenues after the Queen’s Plate" — presumably referring to a possible overseas campaign.
The uncertainty surrounding the Met participation of Legal Eagle and Markus Jooste’s talented four-year-old Edict Of Nantes resulted in Betting World suspending betting on the grade 1 race on Tuesday much to the annoyance of punters keen to take doubles into the race.
It has still not been confirmed whether the former Steinhoff CEO’s Edict Of Nantes has been sold, with Sporting Post reporting on its website that they were "unable to confirm a deal had been reached with Hong Kong-based trainer Tony Millard".
Although much has been made of Tarry’s quiet start to the season, his horses are now moving into top gear and he will saddle five runners at the Vaal on Thursday.
His best chance of success may lie with his three-year-old, Forafewdollarsmore, who takes on 11 rivals in the sixth race.
A lightly raced son of Judpot, Forafewdollarsmore was beaten by So Long Spring on his most recent start but now meets Tyrone Zackey’s charge on 3.5kg better terms.
A bigger threat could be Querari King, who has been placed in his past two outings.
The performance of Tarry’s Aussie import, Lute Society, will be closely monitored in the final leg of the jackpot. This well-bred son of New Approach has been sidelined for most of the year and was in need of the run when unplaced at Thursday’s track at the end of October.
Lute Society comes up against impressive recent winner Star Of Joburg in the eighth race and Erico Vedonese’s three-year-old will be a popular banker bet with most punters.
A topical tip could be to take the Horse Chestnut colt in swingers with four-year-old Carve The Turkey.
Backers hoping to get money for the festive season should look no further than That’s Life, who is one of four runners in the third race from the stable of Johan Janse van Vuuren.
Bookies have priced up his first-timer Mardi Gras as favourite, but it is surely significant that the yard’s number one rider, Donovan Mansour, has elected to partner That’s Life.
A son of Var, bred by Northfields Stud, That’s Life made a pleasing debut when beaten three lengths by Star Of Joburg and the three-year-old looks the best bet on the card.
Van Vuuren and Mansour can also go close with Shakespeare In Love in the fourth race, but this is a competitive maiden field in which Our Shining Star, Sweaty Betty and Pale Lilac will have their supporters.
Our Shining Star, a daughter of Silvano trained by Stanley Ferreira, debuted in November when she finished fifth behind Penny Royal.
Gavin Lerena has been booked to ride her on Thursday.
Hopefully Lerena, who did not ride at Turffontein on Tuesday, will fulfil his engagements, as he has eight booked rides and most can be given chances.