HERE are the summaries, horse by horse, for the 2007 J&B Met to be run on Saturday, 27 January at Kenilworth.
1 EQUAL IMAGE (ARG)————-scratched on 22 Jan, respiratory infection
The workmanlike grey, Equal Image, probably hasn’t had the preparation his connections would have hoped for, but will come into the race as fit as can be. He is well drawn and will be course and distance suited, but looks held on several collateral form lines and can only be given a small place chance. Career record: 7 Wins, 12 Places, 32 Runs. Earnings: R984 230.
2 EYEOFTHETIGER (BRZ)
By all accounts, Eyeofthetiger’s uncharacteristically poor last run is best ignored, as 1600m is now patently too short for him and he returned 100% sound. Judged on his three-year-old campaign which culminated in a brilliant Durban July win, and on home turf, the classy Brazilian-bred will be right there when it matters most.
Career record: 5 Wins, 3 Places, 11 Runs. Earnings: R1 370 000.
3 ELUSIVE FORT
Top horses like Elusive Fort can return from long periods of rest to win at the highest level, but his long lay-off and a rare, quiet spell for trainer Geoff Woodruff remain legitimate concerns hanging over his head. Judged on his best form, he’s a horse with an outstanding chance, but only the race will show.
Career record: 5 Wins, 2 Places, 9 Runs. Earnings: R1 528 130.
His being gelded in April last year did the trick for Hilgrove, who has risen rapidly through the ranks since and is a leading contender here. He has shown his best form over 1800m, but on the way he runs on there is every reason to believe that he will be similarly effective over 2000m.
Career record: 5 Wins, 7 Places, 13 Runs. Earnings: R378 630.
5 JAGGED ICE
For once, flashy Jagged Ice doesn’t find himself lumbered with the widest of draws in a major feature race. This could swing the pendulum his way. A hard knocker, never far off the best, he comes into the race with a good preparation and he has won over the course and distance. Not to be ignored.
Career record: 4 Wins, 4 Places, 14 Runs. Earnings: R453 450.
6 AFRICAN APPEAL
Arguably a notch below top class, African Appeal is perhaps the lesser light of the formidable Mike Bass trio. In his favour is a good draw and a distinct liking for Kenilworth, where he has won four times. At best he has the ability to earn place money and that makes him a good Quartet inclusion.
Career record: 6 Wins, 11 Places, 31 Runs. Earnings: R506 600.
7 MAJESTIC SUN
Majestic Sun is a smart, long-striding horse who likes to dictate the pace, but has been found lacking every time he’s raced beyond a mile. His in-form trainer and budding champion jockey are plus points, but he is comfortably held by the likes of Pocket Power and will do very well to run a place.
Career record: 7 Wins, 6 Places, 16 Runs. Earnings: R372 730.
8 POCKET POWER
With all the attributes of a possible Met winner – pace, heart, stamina and a fine turn of foot – Pocket Power is a champion who has crossed every hurdle on his way to the big race, and has beaten the best. Well weighted, handily drawn and in the hands of a top jockey, he is a worthy favourite.
Career record: 6 Wins, 4 Places, 13 Runs. Earnings: R733 540.
9 SILVER MIST
The bridesmaid to Pocket Power throughout their impressive careers, brave Silver Mist is weighted on a par with his rival and destined to play second fiddle again. In a race where not an inch is given, however, a bit of luck in running could see him turn the tables on the day. Big chance.
Career record: 5 Wins 5 Places 15 Runs. Earnings: R349 210.
10 LION TAMER
This impressive and highly regarded Charles Laird runner finally comes into a big race with an excellent preparation, a good draw and a light weight. He’s a hard-galloping pace-setter and this course should suit him down the last stride. He will probably be in front with 150m to run, and what beats him will win.
Career record: 6 Wins, 5 Places, 13 Runs. Earnings: R583 880.
Silverpoint failed in this race when conditions were perfect for him last year, and is up against it this year. At the weights he cannot beat Lion Tamer, let alone the Cape runners, and he is drawn wide. He has had a good preparation and in Azzie-style will be best turned out, but is an unlikely winner.
Career record: 5 Win, 14 Places, 27 Runs. Earnings: R1 389 355.
Sentiment over his likeable trainer, Paul Lafferty, will make Pinero a popular choice with those who fancy outsiders, but he’s unproven beyond 1800m and has a bit to do in this league. However, in the words of his trainer, “racing is a dream factory” where anything is possible. With master jock Strydom up, Pinero must go into Quartets.
Career record: 6 Wins, 4 Places, 14 Runs. Career earnings: R289 645.
One of the most improved horses in training, this tough-as-nails gelding loves a challenging battle. Likeithot will win his share of features and is not an unlikely winner here. The stable jockey is on Lion Tamer, but he too will list Likeithot as one of his principle dangers. Definite Trifecta chance.
Career record: 4 Wins, 6 Places, 12 Runs. Career Earnings: R642 510.
14 SUCCESSFUL BIDDER
Successful Bidder may not be proven against the very best, but he has won a tough 2000m heat and comes into this race super-fit and at the peak of his ability. His trainer is in top form and has won the race before, and off a handy weight he can be placed at will. Trifecta chance.
Career record: 7 Wins, 4 Places, 12 Runs. Earnings: R379 480.
15 EMPEROR NAPOLEON
Trainer Mike de Kock has won this race twice with three-year-olds and he rates Cape Guineas runner-up Emperor Napoleon in the same league as his 2000 winner, Badger’s Coast, who did it from a similarly wide draw. This is Emperor Napoleon’s biggest test by far, but recent history shows that his task is quite achievable.
Career record: 3 Wins, 2 Places, 7 Runs. Earnings: R355 610.
16 BADGER’S GIFT
Six-year-old mare Badger’s Gift comes from the wonderful era of superstars Ilha Da Vitoria and Jamaica and was never disgraced in their company. Recently she proved her depth of ability and the quality of her form with a terrific win over Sun Classique in the Paddock Stakes. She must have a fair place chance here.
Career record: 8 Wins, 16 Places, 38 Runs. Earnings: R506 460.