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This Was Breathtaking!

Sean Tarry Champion Legal Eagle rules the roost!

A thrilling four-cornered finish that spanned just a long head confirmed the boom billing of the R400 000 Gr2 Green Point Stakes at Kenilworth on Saturday and provided a tantalising needle platform into the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and Sun Met next month.

A half stride after the line! Rainbow Bridge (Bernard Fayd’herbe in Vasco branding, runs fourth! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

We suggested in our preview that this had the makings of the race of the century and that the marketing scriptwriters could not have dreamt up the plot. Well it panned out perfectly, thanks to four top horses and a polished performance by a jockey at the very pinnacle of his game.

With an absence of any commitment to lead in the small field, Anton Marcus did what he has done before on Legal Eagle and took the initiative – before Corne Orffer figured the plot and took Gr1 Gold Challenge winner Undercover Agent to lead after 500m, with July winner Do It Again and the unbeaten Rainbow Bridge further back.

The race moved up a notch or three at the 450m marker, as the summer course straight welcomed feature contestants for the first time this term

With Anton Marcus still cruising down the centre as Legal Eagle took over from Undercover Agent, Fourie took Do It Again down the inside rail, with Rainbow Bridge moving well down the outside.

At the 200m, Legal Eagle was being hailed a winner under the brilliant Marcus – but the picture changed at the 100m as they all came for him, with Undercover Agent rallying impressively after looking beaten halfway down the strip.

With storming challenges coming on all sides, Legal Eagle was 50/50 for his biggest fight ever as Marcus got the champion to dig half an inch deeper.

The photo revealed that the evergreen 7yo had held on by a nose to beat Undercover Agent, with Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge completing the quartet – a short head separating each in one of the greatest finishes any of us will see in our lifetime.

The official time – if it mattered – was 98,92 secs. Comparisons with Legal Eagle’s past two Green Point victories show that this was his slowest to date. But handsome is as handsome does!

Proud team Tarry! Anton Marcus returns to the winner’s box (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Part-owner  Braam van Huyssteen, who also owns a share in the runner-up, and trainer Sean Tarry together summed it up best – suggesting that it was a great pity that any one of them had to lose, while mooting that running the race three more times may see three different winners. Who knows?

Van Huyssteen added more value –  pointing out that the way Rainbow Bridge finished, he is going to be a tough customer to stop in the Sun Met on 26 January over 400m further.

Port Elizabeth-based Hedley McGrath, who won the Gr2 Southern Cross Stakes a half hour earlier at the same venue, and Australian William Henderson, make up the winner ownership of a true champion galloper.

This was Legal Eagle’s third consecutive win in the Green Point Stakes and he now goes in search of a fourth L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate success on 5 January.

“He is not improving – but he is getting stronger,” said Tarry, who has increased his margin over current SA Champion Justin Snaith atop the national trainer’s log.

Tarry also paid tribute to his Cape satellite team, headed by Monique Mansour.

Two strides before the line! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Legal Eagle, who has won 15 races with 8 places from 26 starts for stakes of R11 854 625, was bought by Sean Tarry on behalf of former leading owner Markus Jooste for R425 000 at the 2013 BSA National Yearling Sale.

After the Mayfair Speculators implosion a year ago, the ‘three wise men’ of Messrs McGrath, Van Huyssteen and Henderson took over Legal Eagle and tasted instant success in the 2018 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.

Bred by Avontuur, the dual SA Horse Of The Year is a mutliple Gr1 winning 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.

Bring on the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate!


Gr2 Green Point Stakes (SAf-Gr2)

Kenilworth, South Africa, December 8, R400k, 1600m, turf, good, 1.38.92

1 – LEGAL EAGLE (SAF), 60.0, b g 7, Greys Inn (USA) – Young Sensation (SAF) by National Emblem (SAF). Owner Messrs William Henderson, F H McGrath & A J van Huyssteen; Breeder Avontuur Farm; trainer SG Tarry; jockey A Marcus
2 – Undercover Agent (SAF), 60.0, b c 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Secret Risk by London News (SAF)
3 – Do It Again (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Twice Over (GB) – Sweet Virginia (SAF) by Casey Tibbs (IRE)
Margins: 0.05, 0.05, 0.05

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24 comments on “This Was Breathtaking!

  1. John Freeman says:

    One of the most exciting grades race finishes I have ever seen – only negative about that race is the cripplingly notorious cape crawl – how can we fix that?

  2. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    I told you Legal would win ! walk in the park………shhhoooooeeee……..They should have been in a velodrome. Amazing race, amazing win !

  3. sphiwe says:

    with due respect to MR Bernhard fayde herbe… he know he rode Rianbow Bridge badly… and then hit the horse more than 20 times from the 150m mark being 3l behind to go down a short head was unbelievable…. great horse are made to look mediocre by bad timing in running.. with due rescpect to Legal Eagle and Undercover agent… Rianbow bridge should never have lost…. sorry berni

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Siphiwe
      From the head- on replay, we do not agree with your assessment of Fayd’herbe’s use of the whip

  4. bren5604 says:

    What great sportsmanship from Braam van Huyssteen & Sean Tarry. Winning with humility a great thing. And Rainbow Bridge fought Bernard Fayd’herbe the whole way. Good jockey just to give the horse a run at it. Absolute pleasure to watch (on TV, unfortunately).

  5. Frankie Zackey says:

    Hi John…one can only agree on your comment,witnessing one of the great finishes of my 35 years of racing…easy to fix the Cape crawl our jocks are still lengths behind Marcus and Strydom,it all boils down to pace pace pace and lots of studying form going into a race 95% of Jocks don’t study form that’s why your Marcus and Strydom will always have a 1 or 2 length advantage….Poor Bernie…how much longer will it take our Jocks to understand pace…Brilliant ride Anton toooo sharp

  6. Isaac says:

    Rainbow Bridge looks like a great horse, when watching the race I would say the jockey timmed it wrong and let him loose too late, u cannot give such grade1 winners such a distance at the 300m mark

  7. Geoff Logan says:

    Brilliant race Was there ever going to be pace in that field ? 4 top horses 4 top jocks Nothing wrong Bernie 2 strides past the pole you would have been a hero !

  8. Tony Ridgway says:

    It was an epic race. Congratulations to all. In defence of the riding of Rainbow Bridge, the horse didn’t particularly like the race, pace and fought a long way. The fact he finished in front one more stride past the post, is testament to a great horse. Great horses oft have difficult temperaments. I pray he stays sound, as we have not yet seen an iota of his best…yet. Braam v Huysteen garnered my great respect. Sean Tarry also. And Anton Marcus’ obvious love affair with The Eagle was there for all to see… a super moment! I humbly said to someone in response to him commenting on my post SP were kind enough to publish: Legal Eagle has wings, Rainbow Bridge has turbo-boost! My cat Yoko’s favourite horse is Undercover Agent, even though my nickname for her is “Snowdance” and how can one dismiss that July winner named after a great Steely Dan song? What a summer we’re going to have… let’s go walking on sunshine, sing O Susanna ! TR.

  9. bob kistnasamy says:

    What a Race!. One of the all time best. I agree that Rainbow Bridge could have been the victor had the rider gave the horse an opportunity to do so.
    This is the Met winner.
    I wander at what price?

  10. perd says:

    lets see who gets up on do it again in met this horse ran his first race after winning july with ease his my met horse

  11. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Wow, the build up said Race of the century!
    The best horse and jockey won on the day. Hopefully they’ll all be back for the Queens Plate. I reckon the July winner will beat Rainbow Bridge in the Met. Unbelievable comeback race.

  12. Sugan says:

    Rainbow bridge didn’t settle…. If he did it was race over

  13. Kay says:

    Mr Ed, are the Queens Plate noms out already? According to reports this race was run in a slow time so maybe therein lies the reason for the blanket finish? Who else besides these top-4 and maybe the filly Snowdance will accept to race in the LQP?

  14. Mikey says:

    If he weighed 1/2 kg over after the race, he would have been closer to 1kg over before the race. 1/2 kg over-weight over that distance on handicapping terms, is the difference between 1st and 4th here. Can’t blame the punters for growling. Great race though

  15. dave mollett says:

    I told anyone who cared to listen – plus Business Day readers – that they should take the 7-4 about Do It Again to finish in first three being offered by World Sports Betting.
    I see they changed it to two places 24 hours before the race, but by then we were on.
    Whatever your view about Rainbow Bridge’s performance (and websites are buzzing), one has to think Do It Again has a huge chance in the Sun Met.

  16. Sergen govender says:

    Legal days are over. The race was run to suit legal. Do it again will smash legal if they meet again

  17. Hogan Govindsamy says:

    Mr Editor – you obviously feel my comment on the interaction between Messrs Anton and Braam was not justified.I humbly suggest you view the after race footage and decide for yourself.What was so wrong with what I said – you are obviously in control and can choose what comments to publish or in this case not to.I just feel it was something strange to have witnessed especially after such an exhilarating race ,that interaction soured it a little for me,that’s all.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Hogan
      We felt it was a meaningless subjective opinion in the scheme of things of a great moment
      Interpreting body language should best be left to the professionals

  18. Mr John Freeman,

    There was once a dream that was called a true pace @ Kenilworth. You could only whisper it in the jockeys’ room.

    Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish. It was so fragile.

    Mr Freedman, I fear that it will not survive the summer. The trainers and jockeys’ must not be allowed to rule !

  19. Further to direct question of “how do we fix this”, I suggest that the only meaningful way to change this trend is to quiz/interview jockeys and trainers simultaneously.

    Why, because there is “less room” to pass the buck. Over 40 years, I’ve repeatedly heard jockeys say that that hope to have the freedom to choice their own riding tactics and not be be bound by trainers rigid instructs.

    However, jockeys don’t want to be confrontation with trainers, as to spoil their chances of winning future rides/favour.

    Asking Trainers, after the fact, as to the total lack of pace in a race or negative riding tactics just gives them an avenue to diversify or embroider on their explanation.

    If the Stipes/NHA show enough ‘political will’, for the want of a better word, seek simultaneous reasons to continuous inquiries this will surely deter trainers from going into a race with a willy nilly approach.

    Eventually, they’ll realize that the Stipes will become wise to there repetitive or conflicting explanations.

    Surely, there can’t be one trainer, jockey or punter that couldn’t predict that Milton would take them on in his last run) with a even to hard pace from the start.

    So, Mr.Snaith & Mr Katz, what did you tell your owners prior to the start ?. Were you only racing for a place ? Did you enter your other horses with aspirations of winning ?

    Trainers, kindly remember ardent racegoers have to explain scenario’s like this to newcomers

    Yours in the politest possible manner.

    William Milkovitch

  20. Apologies typo’s : that that should be that they

    freedom to choice should be freedom to choose

    seek simultaneous reasons to continuous inquiries this will surely deter trainers should be “they should continuously hold inquiries seeking simultaneous responses from trainers and jockeys which will surely deter”

  21. Rian says:

    it would have been stupid for the trainers to have had the horses spot on for a race with no pace, everyone knew that.
    love to know what undercover agent was doing racing so wide
    must say it was first time ive seen Marcus jump off so quickly to hug that beautiful young lady….. never been done before and maybe the experts can read something into the body language Ed

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