World Sports Betting Cape Town Met Second Box – A Lonely Place

Countdown to 16h45 on Saturday

Surely the worst place on Hollywoodbets Kenilworth racecourse on World Sports Betting Met day must be the number two box after the running of the big race; it’s where the runner-up cuts a lonely figure as the winner is being feted and fussed over.

Hollywoodbets have a variety of betting variations on the big day, including See It Again to run second (currently 22-10) in the headliner.

There’s no shame in running second, yet to be brutally honest, in racing, as in most sport disciplines, who remembers the losers?

Be that as it may, the list of Met seconds over the past quarter of a century or so makes for fascinating reading, one which features a number of horses who lit up the firmament in their own special way.

In 1999, Horse Chestnut sauntered to his imperious 8.25-length Met victory, leaving Classic Flag trailing in his wake. David Ferraris’ four-year-old had won the previous year’s Gr1 Rothmans July in a time equalling the course record, this despite his wide 18 draw. Only El Picha would deny him of a July double the next year.

The 2023 WSB Cape Town Met stampede (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Speaking of El Picha, the Argentine bred failed to concede seven kilos’ when going down by a neck to Badger’s Coast in the 2000 Met. Six months later, he held on by the proverbial whisker to win the July for the second year running when he was rather controversially declared the winner over Young Rake.

The 2001 Met was yet another cliff-hanger, with Mike Bass-trained Bunter Barlow defeating stable companion and subsequent Gr1 Durban July winner Trademark by a whisker. Voted the Champion Older Middle-Distance Male, the runner-up, a grandson of the wonderful foundation mare Party Time, went on to add the Gr1 Queen’s Plate at age five.

Free My Heart showed he had lost none of his zest for racing at age seven with a second success in the Gr1 Queen’s Plate and a couple of weeks later in the 2003 Met, only Angus proved his superior whilst in in receipt of five kg.

Wonderfully durable, the Beck/Newsome raced Jallad gelding had been voted the country’s Horse of the Year and Champion Older Middle Distance at age six, in a season which brought victories in the Gr1 Horse Chestnut, Gr1 Champions Cup and a second Gr1 Gold Challenge. A credit to the late Peter Kannemeyer, he eventually retired a seven-time Gr1 winner of over R3-million.

2001 humdinger – stablemates Bunter Barlow and Trademark fight it out (Pic – Supplied)

Dual Horse of the Year Legal Eagle was another who found just one too good in the Met, not once, but twice.

Beaten comprehensively by the filly Smart Call in 2016, Sean Tarry’s champion again had to settle for second behind Australian-bred Whisky Baron a year later. Whereas a Met victory proved elusive, the country’s undisputed Champion Miler over three seasons nevertheless recorded trebles in all of the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, Gr1 H F Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut and the Gr2 Green Point Stakes.

Fellow Horse of the Year Do It Again suffered the same fate in 2019, when he had to bow to Rainbow Bridge, who reversed his third behind the Snaith champion in the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queens Plate. That was the dual Durban July winner’s best effort in five Met attempts and who knows, his much-vaunted three-part brother See It Again may well set the record straight on Saturday.

As regards Rainbow Bridge, his Met record is more than exemplary. He contested the race three times, winning in 2019 as a four-year-old in the colours of the late Chris Gerber, repeated in 2021 for the Rattrays and came close to matching Pocket Power’s remarkable hat-trick when beaten only a longhead by One World in 2022.

Hugely popular, this half-brother to champion Hawwaam also won the Gr1 Gold Challenge on two occasions and took home the prime silverware at the 2021 Equus Award ceremony. Crowned Horse of the Year, the son of Ideal World also scooped up the accolades for Champion Older Male and Champion Middle Distance Horse.

Those who built on a second to go one better include Hill Fifty Four and Jet Dark. The former finished a neck behind Martial Eagle in 2013 but made no mistake twelve months later when he took the honours by the best part of a length over Yorker, who had won the Gr1 Sansui Summer Cup two runs before.

By the way, whereas it was a career-defining moment for the winner, Yorker went on to claim both the Gr1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes and Gr1 President’s Champions Challenge in a season which earned him an Equus award as the Champion Older Horse.

For multiple champion Jet Dark it was also a matter of ‘if you don’t succeed, try again”. Runner-up to Kommetdieding in 2022, he gained sweet revenge in an explosive finish to last year’s Met, heading the defending champion on the line.

Quite a number of members of the fairer sex have also had to settle for the runner-up spot in recent times.

In 2005, Alastor finished a half-length in front of the mare Icy Air and twelve months later, future Horse of the Year Ilha Da Vitoria, a five-length winner of the Gr1 Gommagomma Summer Cup, lost nothing in defeat when she made up at least a dozen lengths in the straight, but fell a length short at the line behind the winner Zebra Crossing.

And in in what was almost a déjà vu moment of their famous deadheat in the 2008 Vodacom Durban July, the Beck-owned grey Dancer’s Daughter finished just a neck behind the mighty Pocket Power in his third successive Met win in 2009.

Oh Susanna hangs on to beat Last Winter in 2018 (Pic – Hamish Niven Photography)

Third place went to Pocket Power’s year-younger sister River Jetez, who moved from out of his shadow to claim the 2010 Met twelve months later, with her illustrious a length behind in third.

Splitting the siblings was gallant four-year-old Mother Russia, whose run of seconds continued in 2011 when she finished just over a length behind Hassen Adams-owned winner Past Master.

Perhaps the most frustrating runner-up of recent times has to be Last Winter.

In the 2018 renewal, Dean Kannemeyer’s charge lined up as arguably the least experienced runner in the field in what was only his sixth racetrack appearance. A fluent winner of his first four starts, he had been beaten a whisker in the Gr2 Premium Trophy after making up at least ten lengths in the straight and in the Met, an outside draw again saw him come from the tail end of the field.

At the line, he failed by a half-length to reel in the winner Oh Susanna, but such was his momentum that two strides past the post, he was in front of the filly.

On that effort, he surely had ‘future July winner’ written all over him, however, a chance to contest the country’s premier race came to naught when it was decided to send him overseas.

Sad to say, he never won again and when he returned home, the missing Gr1 victory on his resumé probably cost him a place as a stallion at one of the leading studs.

While no one disputes the merit of any Met winner, history shows that some truly remarkable horses have finished second and whoever fills that spot on Saturday, will find himself in good company!

A reminder that punters could win big in the Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge on the World Sports Betting Cape Town Met raceday on Saturday 27 January. All you have to do is make your Punters’ Challenge selections for Hollywoodbets Kenilworth and you could win an estimated *R3 Million Jackpot prize for selecting all the winners on the day. There’s also a massive *R200 000 for placing in the Top 50 on the leaderboard and a must-be-won prize of *R200 000 for the punter/s who selects the most winners on the day. *Amounts subject to Bet Slip bonus rules

A reminder that punters could win big in the Hollywoodbets Punters’ Challenge on the World Sports Betting Cape Town Met raceday on Saturday 27 January.

All you have to do is make your Punters’ Challenge selections for Hollywoodbets Kenilworth and you could win an estimated *R3 Million Jackpot prize for selecting all the winners on the day.

There’s also a massive *R200 000 for placing in the Top 50 on the leaderboard and a must-be-won prize of *R200 000 for the punter/s who selects the most winners on the day.

*Amounts subject to Bet Slip bonus rules.

 

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