Vaughan Marshall and Mike de Kock are the two senior statesman of the Met class of 2021 when measured on past success in the Cape flagship.
They boast three winners apiece, with Marshall holding the rank edge as his first strike came in 1996 with La Fabulous.
That was three years before De Kock produced the impressive Horse Chestnut.
Following winning stables is one way of trying to narrow down the scope of finding a Met winner.
The 2021 renewal of the R1 million Gr1 Cape Town Met has just eight trainers saddling the eleven runners.
While the Marshall representative on Saturday, Silver Operator, is not particularly strongly fancied at 33-1, the Cape Guineas kingpin conditioner has trained his trio of winners over 25 years – and is also the defending champion, after One World broke Rainbow Bridge’s heart last year.
Marshall also won the Met in 2014 with Hill Fifty Four.
De Kock won the race in consecutive years with Horse Chestnut in 1999 and Badger’s Coast in 2000.
He then had to wait twelve years for Igugu, and hasn’t managed any magic in the ensuing eight years.
He saddles the dual Gr1 Paddock Stakes winner, Queen Supreme on Saturday.
The Met was a swansong in SA for Igugu, who like Queen Supreme, was also an imported filly.
Igugu won the race off an extraordinary Gr1 peppered seven run winning streak after prepping in her home province in the Ipi Tombe Challenge, with her penultimate outing a victory in the 2011 Durban July.
Eric Sands, Sean Tarry and Justin Snaith have won the Met once each.
Sands is back for another dip with his 2019 winner, and 2020 runner-up, Rainbow Bridge, the officially highest rated horse in Saturday’s line-up.
The veteran also saddles the 6yo’s younger Philanthropist half-brother Golden Ducat, who rallied so impressively to win the Glorious Goodwood Premier Trophy at his last start.
It’s been sixteen years between Met drinks for multiple SA Champion trainer Sean Tarry, who saddled Alastor with Garth Puller up in 2005. Tarry has stamina suspect Cirillo running for his powerful yard on Saturday. The son of Pomodoro is consistency personified but tends to find something to beat him.
Snaith has a powerful three-cornered hand with Belgarion, Do It Again and African Night Sky bidding to give the Cape champion his second victory after the 3yo filly Oh Susanna won the Met in 2018.
Candice Bass-Robinson, who saddles longshot Sovereign Spirit, Adam Marcus, who takes his chances with 3yo filly Princess Calla, and Fanie Bronkhorst, who travels the long road from Randjesfontein with the gutsy mare Running Brave, are all looking for their maiden Met victory.
Fanie has held his licence for a few months, so his quest for victory with a dirt cheap purchase daughter of Brave Tin Soldier is the fairytale stuff of media dreams.
On the flipside of the coin, treble Met winning trainer Brett Crawford is without a runner this year. But that is in the nature of the cycles of power for some of the big yards.
Other 21st century Met winning trainers with no representation on Saturday include Alec Laird (2016 – Smart Call), Summerveld-based Yogas Govender (2013 – Martial Eagle) and Geoff Woodruff (2004 – Yard Arm), who recently returned to the Cape.
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