The provisional Sun Met jockey engagements are flowing thick and fast in advance of the final declaration deadline for the R5 million Gr1 contest at 11h00 on Monday 14 January.
Latest is that MJ Byleveld will make a comeback after four months on the sidelines following a neck injury and has his first ride back at Kenilworth on Saturday in the first race.
He is set to partner the well-named Var first timer Ground Control for Vaughan Marshall. The Avontuur-bred colt is out of the well-performed Jet Master mare Pan Amm, who raced in the Amm silks a few years ago.
He is also down to partner the very classy Captain Al galloper Tap O’Noth in the Sun Met. MJ won all of the Cape Guineas, Cape Classic and the Langerman on the Alec and Gillian Foster owned and bred 4yo.
MJ is yet to win the Met but ran second behind Martial Eagle in 2013 on Hill Fifty Four – the horse that won it under Anton Marcus for Vaughan Marshall the very next year.
Pins and needles and pain in the wrong places saw MJ Byleveld consult a specialist in September last year.
He had an anterior cervical dissectomy and fusion of the C6/7 vertebra, which involves a cage being inserted between the vertebra to prevent the disc from bulging.
He has been back riding work for close on a month now with the operation appearing to have proven a major success.