The R400 000 J&B Jet Gr2 Stayers traditionally brings the curtain down on Met day. This 2800m test of stamina sees the field jump in front of the stand and will be a crowd pleasing spectacle again. The only problem will be finding a winner to pay the bus fare home.
Depending on how the day has gone up to then, we may even be looking for enough cash to buy a new shirt and the seventeen horse field will be a major test of the wits, with chances to many.
The first issue to factor in with these Cape staying races is the pace. Will they crawl or won’t they? That question will only be answered in the race itself, but with a few visiting jockeys in the mix and three stables with multiple runners, the chances are that there may well be a willing pacemaker. Mike De Kock won the race last year with Ilsanpietro and his mare Ilha Bela has drawn widest of all here. The daughter of Fort Wood will strip fit though as she comes off a second in the Listed Sun Classique Handicap just a fortnight ago.
Ilha Bela was caught flatfooted in that event as Joey Ramsden’s Silver Holly enjoyed the run of the race and scooted away down the inside. She should have settled in nicely by now and the 2012 Gr2 SA Oaks winner must have a serious chance at the weights if she stays the 2800m, which she tries for the first time in her career.
Mike Bass has a nice four way coupling representing him, including the 2013 Gold Cup winner, Jeppe’s Reef. The Bass horse that catches the eye though is the Silvano gelding Gifted For Glory. The 2013 Winter Derby winner has won 5 of his 11 starts and showed that he stays well when beating River Crossing over the course and distance last time.
Gifted For Glory was mooted as a possible Met horse, such is the esteem in which he is held by his connections and looks to have the profile of a possible winner of this race. River Crossing will be ridden by Anton Marcus and he improved nicely to show a flicker of form at his last start. The 2013 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup winner is another that is highly thought of and was on the fringes of July selection at one time last season.
Go For Gold
Gold Cup winner Jeppe’s Reef has his bog race jockey Robbie Fradd aboard again. His last start was a rather flat effort but he is a fellow who delivers on the bigger days. The fourth of the Bass quartet is the up and coming 4yo Global Express. A winner of his only two starts over serious ground, the son of Jet Master jumps in class but may be worth including as a horse with plenty of scope.
The Cape Summer Stayers winner Tippuana Moon has drawn against the paint and is another who stays very well. He is now faced with the test of showing that the handicapper’s opinion of him is on the mark and goes up in the weights substantially. He should be a lot fitter when racing on Saturday and warrants inclusion.
Justin Snaith’s consistent placer Cigar Boy is battling to register his third win. The son of Casey Tibbs ran on well for third over the course and distance last time and meets Gifted For Glory on the same weight terms. He is declared in blinkers but there is little evidence to suggest that they have helped him in the past.
The recent Listed Kenilworth Cup winner Paddy O’Reilly is holding his form very nicely. He is well drawn and stays all day. Paddy ran a nice third behind end to end winner Tippuana Moon in the Gr3 Cape Summer Stayers Handicap, and now meets the Robinson runner on 5,5 kgs better terms.
Joey Ramsden is a master when it comes to preparing stayers and his coupling of Crown Of Gold and Coltrane will have their supporters. The latter is the form horse having won a good race when running on well to beat Surruptitious last time out in an MR 88 Handicap over the Kenilworth 2000m.
He put in a good gallop when pacing it with King Of Pain in the Met gallops last Thursday morning and could be the dark horse of this race on best form to date. Crown Of Gold ran third in this race last year and won the 2013 PE Gold Cup, but has failed to win a race since.
The son of Silvano is no slouch on his day and as a proven stayer, it would be foolish to discount him. Glen Kotzen’s Pinotage Pete has only managed one win to date but stays fairly well and is often in the vicinity of the places. He steps up in class here and tries the 2800m for the first time.
Riaan Van Reenen’s two soldiers Posh Boy and Barossa Valley are always thereabouts in these staying races. Posh Boy is enjoying a second lease on life and has his 68th start on Saturday at the ripe age of 8. The son of Manshood is looking for his tenth career win and has never been better as evidenced by his gallant second behind Tippuana Moon is the Cape Summer Stayers in December. At his penultimate start he ran second behind Paddy O’Reilly in the Kenilworth Cup and is now 4,5 kgs worse off with the Stewart runner.
Barossa Valley enjoys the services of Karl Neisius but is another horse who is worse off with Paddy O’Reilly on his penultimate outing. He is probably also a little more effective with some give in the ground. The Silvano gelding Wavin’ Flag has won 2 of his 11 starts, but has proven to be rather unreliable.
He has no chance at the weights on his Kenilworth Cup effort when he finished just over six lengths behind Paddy O’Reilly. The latter is in fact seven kilos better off with Wavin’ Flag and we’d rather give him a miss for now.
Yogas Govender sends out the Lizard Island gelding Look After Me, who stays well and has not been too far off the action in his two recent starts in the Western Cape. He was beaten 2,40 lengths over the course and distance last time and meets Gifted For Glory on a kilo worse terms. The Port Elizabeth visitor Drumminor took ten runs to win his maiden, but has blossomed over ground in the Eastern Cape, winning six of his last ten starts.
While he has had no joy with the draw, the son of Western Winter stays all day and can be dropped in. He also knows the track having raced there at the beginning of his career when based with Mike Stewart.
The classy Gifted For Glory could give Mike Bass and Grant Van Niekerk the honour of closing Met day 2014. Coltrane and Paddy O’Reilly look best of the rest, while Tippuana Moon and Jeppe’s Reef will both strip fitter than their last time at races and have a touch of class about them.