Dual SA Horse Of The Year Legal Eagle registered a double in Saturday’s R400 000 Gr2 Green Point Stakes at Kenilworth and set himself up for a possible record-equalling third successive L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate victory on 6 January.
The last horse to achieve the notable feat in South Africa’s premier weight-for-age mile was Pocket Power, back in 2010.
The Sean Tarry-trained superstar son of Greys Inn, Legal Eagle made it seven wins from seven starts over 1600m and, as if we doubted it, once again confirmed his ranking as our champion miler.
In typical Legal Eagle fashion, his win was workmanlike – but who needs flash when your horse has earned close on R10 million in 20 starts? And the Avontuur-bred 6yo has accumulated his cash the hard way – no sales races on this cv!
Tellytrack on-course presenter Stan Elley, coincidentally the trainer of Kapil, who chased Pocket Power home on that historic day seven years ago, summed up the quality afternoon of racing well – suggesting that he and some ‘old salts’ – no names, no pack drill – had the hair standing up on their arms recalling some of the glory days of the game as they watched the likes of Legal Eagle and Snowdance go through their paces.
While the on-course crowds appear to have been lost forever – beyond the Peninsula Room Ladies Day function, there was no life on course – it is great to see that we can still produce champions on the track – even if we can’t find any in the marketing arena!
Jumping in a seven horse field, Anton Marcus allowed Legal Eagle to track Captain America all the way around, before making his move halfway down the straight.
With the gutsy Captain America refusing to throw in the towel, it was left to the Daily News 2000 winner Edict Of Nantes to sneak through down the rail and keep Legal Eagle honest.
A half length separated the 15-10 Legal Eagle and Edict Of Nantes at the line, with the winner clocking 97,45 secs.
Captain America was not disgraced a further half length back, with Gold Standard failing to fire and finishing 2 lengths further back to round off the quartet.
The rest didn’t feature.
A visibly emotional Anton Marcus was thrilled with the win by one of his favourite horses.
‘I have plenty of respect for Captain America so I didn’t want to get into a dogfight. I must add that Edict Of Nantes will be the improver out of the race in my opinion,” he said.
Sean Tarry, who missed his wife’s birthday to supervise the victory, said that he was pleased by the star’s performance.
“I am always mindful not to overcook him as he cannot be at his peak yet. I just want to thank Monique Mansour, who is ably assisted by a strong team down here. They have done a great job. I am very proud today – and can I just wish my wife a happy birthday? Legal Eagle needed my attention more – I am not sure if that is good or bad!” he laughed.
Legal Eagle, who has won 11 races with 7 places from 20 starts for stakes of an extraordinary bank of R9 710 875, was bought by Sean Tarry on behalf of top owner Markus Jooste for R425 000 at the 2013 BSA National Yearling Sale.
Bred by Avontuur, he is a son of Vodacom Durban July winner Greys Inn (Zabeel) and is out of the six-time winning Young Sensation (National Emblem)- who was also trained by Sean Tarry.
Next stop, the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
Gr2 Green Point Stakes (SAf-Gr2)
Kenilworth, South Africa, December 2, R400k, 1600m, turf, good, 1.37.45
1 – LEGAL EAGLE (SAF), 60.0, b g 6, Greys Inn (USA) – Young Sensation (SAF) by National Emblem (SAF). Owner Mayfair Speculators (Pty) Ltd (Nom: Mr D L Brugman); Breeder Avontuur Farm; trainer SG Tarry; jockey A Marcus
2 – Edict Of Nantes (SAF), 60.0, b c 4, Count Dubois (GB) – Pagan Dance (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
3 – Captain America (SAF), 60.0, b g 7, Captain Al (SAF) – Requista (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA)
Margins: 0.50, 0.50, 1.50