After some had expressed reservations about the size of the R5 million Gr1 Sun Met final field, which only drew 13 contestants, the overall card size and substance for the Cape’s flagship raceday on 26 January looks set to gain the approval and patronage of regular players.
The switch to weight-for-age for the big race from 2018 has naturally given rise to the likelihood that less passengers would take their chances.
Conditions races and handicaps obviously attract larger fields with the playing surface more levelled, but the striving for quality and the introduction of weight-for-age has raised the prestige of the historic race, which has been won by some of our greatest horses down the years.
The Sun Met day twelve race card has attracted 195 runners with five races on the day supported by reserve runners.
The first race makes an early start at 11h50 with the final event off at 19h00.
Many punters questioned the wisdom of running another local meeting parallel to the big day – as on L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate day when Greyville ran concurrently.
On Met day,a Turffontein Inside track meeting is scheduled.
The two CTS races to be run for a stakes of R5 million apiece over 1200m and 1600m on the day have attracted quality fields.
These are restricted to eligible graduates of the 2017 Cape Premier Yearling Sale held on 21 and 22 January 2017, 2017 CTS March Yearling Sale held on 18 and 19 March 2017 and the 2017 Emperors Palace Select Yearling Sale held on 21 April 2017.
South Africa’s leading bookmakers Hollywood have opened betting on the Sun Met, the Majorca Stakes, the Cape Derby, the CTS 1200, CTS 1600 and the Cape Flying Championship.