Longstanding owner and former Gold Circle Cape Chairman Ken Truter describes himself as an ‘eternal optimist’ and says that he isn’t too concerned about form and ratings in today’s J&B Met.
“Nothing is certain in racing. Before the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, who would have guessed Legislate would run a poor race like that. In this game, if you haven’t got a ticket, you haven’t got a chance. If the right Johnny Rockets arrives at Kenilworth on Saturday, I know he will run his heart out and be right there,” he told the Sporting Post.
The 5yo Jallad gelding Johnny Rockets is a five-time winner and has an electric turn of foot when on song. A real soldier, he must rank as a genuine outsider amongst the five remaining Justin Snaith runners, following Legislate’s disappointing withdrawal on Wednesday.
Johnny Rockets is quoted at 150 to 1 with Hollywoodbets.net. He will be ridden by noted Blue Bulls supporter, MJ ‘Bakkies’ Byleveld, who is yet to ride a Met winner and lost last year’s Vodacom Durban July in the stipes boardroom, after winning on Wylie Hall.
With a catchy name, the racehorse that bears the name of a popular American fast food chain will no doubt have his supporters amongst the once-a-year sections of the crowd.
“Chris Snaith picked him for us. I then visited my son in Atlanta and we went out for a bite to eat. I loved the name of the restaurant chain Johnny Rockets and asked the Snaiths to book it for me. I can recommend their burgers too – they are absolutely enormous and delicious,” he said.
Ken Truter’s blue and white silks have been carried by many of our top horses with distinction over the years and Johnny Rockets will be his fourth Met runner.
Qualifying it as ‘a real honour to have a runner in this race’, he added that there was some sad irony for his family this week.
“One of my early Met runners was Rhode Island. He actually died on Wednesday at the age of 25 after a long retirement. A sad day for us. I also had Glamour Boy, who was a talented but unsound fellow. He was prepped by Mike Stewart out at Noordhoek. Then I had the filly Emerald Cove who came in at level weights with Igugu and getting only a couple of kilo’s from top horses. It is tough.”
Ken said that Johnny Rockets had enjoyed a reasonable prep.
“He ran a good fourth (‘we actually thought he got third’) in the Gr2 Premier Trophy but his feet issues meant that his Peninsula Handicap run could be ignored.”
Truter, who has most of his racing string based between Justin Snaith and Vaughan Marshall, said that he felt personally that the Met should ‘actually just be a weight-for-age race.’
“The way the conditions have changed over the years, it practically is a weight for age race. It takes a lot of the competitive angle and excitement out of it. It favours the best horses. Not that there is anything wrong with that necessarily,” he said.
Any thoughts from Ken on the In The Mix fashion theme?
“Oh hell no! I am old school. Suit and tie is the only dress code for the J&B Met. I am too old for the best-dressed competitions anyway,” he laughed.
Will he be having a big punt on Johnny Rockets?
“I will be having my standard R100 each way on Johnny and then enjoy the race. I have three decent other runners on the day, so one never knows. It is going to be a cracker of a day and we are looking forward to it.”