A Met for the ages – South Africa’s premier race over the 2.000m distance is full of star quality: 11 Grade 1 winners line up!
That includes last years first three home, plus the reigning Durban July champion, with the added excitement of top-class 3-year-old contenders taking on their elders.
As exciting as the field is, as underwhelming is the likely pace scenario. Few want to race close up, even fewer are confirmed front-runners. This could turn out to be a muddling affair and makes the analysis of the race tricky.
Make It Snappy: all week the favourite for the race. Ever since she won the Fillies’ Grade 1 Paddock Stakes three weeks ago, beating wonder mare Captain’s Ransom nicely from the front.
She is likely to move forward. She likes to have her own way from the front. The #2 draw is a great help. The trip isn’t a worry, she stays but has shown to have the speed to win Guineas.
The filly will get the ideal trip. She is the prime contender with her ultra-light weight. Fillies have a strong record in this race, too. The only question mark: is she good enough against the big boys?
Her merit rating, if factored in WFA and fillies’ allowance, says she very much is. No doubt, Make It Snappy is the one to beat.
Jet Dark: the second highest rated horse in the race. A class-act, with four Grade 1 victories to his name, he has got stellar form from the mile all the way to the July trip, where finished a fast finishing runner-up last year.
He’s likely to be primed for his final race before heading to stud, although is prep didn’t go totally to plan. Perhaps that was the reason why he only managed to finish 3rd in the King’s Plate earlier this month, a race he won back-to-back the years prior.
In saying that, the King’s Plate was an incredibly competitive renewal, and there was no shame to finish 3rd behind Charles Dickens and shock winner Al Muthana. On the other hand, a 1.5 lengths defeat, may show that he isn’t quite the force he used to be?
Kommetdieding: the defending champion. Won this race ahead of Jet Dark 12 months ago. The ultra-professional, consistent horse, a Durban July winner, will head to stud right after this race as well.
His prep couldn’t have gone much better, one would think. After a pipe opener over 6 furlongs, he ran lovely races in the Green Point Stakes as well as when 4th in the King’s Plate, less than two lengths beaten.
He is a better horse over this 2.000m trip, though, hence it’s noteworthy how well he ran over the shorter distances leading up to this race.
The 5-year-old looks as good as ever. He sets the standard in this field. Even though he hasn’t won since landing the Met last year, he ran mostly to a high level of form.
What’s intriguing about him is the ability to race up with the pace. He has a solid low draw, and is one of the few in this field likely to get the ideal trip. He’ll probably track Make It Snappy all the way, and then it will be a matter of how good the filly is.
Cousin Casey: the other three-year-old in this field. he was an outstanding juvenile, won the Premiers Champions Stakes and has returned in fine form this season, landing a Grade 3, before only finding Charles Dickens too strong in the Cape Guineas.
That performance warrants and upgrade, as he didn’t get an ideal race from a wide draw, and he made his challenge against the inside rail, while not having the clearest of runs.
He could improve for the step up in trip and clearly has the speed to feature strongly. His wide draw and likely racing position off the pace will make life tricky for Grant Van Niekerk, though.
Others Runners: he was 80/1 on the day, three weeks ago in the King#s Plate – is it a mistake to underestimate Al Muthana again? He caused the major upset in the King’s Plate, and is once again a longshot today. In truth, though, this 2.000m trip isn’t his optimum, and he will need luck from his draw.
Reigning Durban July heroine Sparkling Water seems to hit peak form after some solid prep runs. This trip is more what she wants as well. If they go hard up front then she would have a much better chance, though. In a slowly run race she may struggle.
Linebacker was third in the Met last year. he seems to have lost his way a little bit and is hard to fancy if judged on recent form. Rascallion won the Grade 2 Anthonij Rupert Wyne Premier Trophy three weeks ago. The additional furlong may stretch him, but even more than the trip it’s gonna be #17 draw that is a real issue today.
Last years Cape Derby runner-up Universal has only run three times since then. He seems to hit form at the right time, having performed well as a runner-up in the Green-Point Stakes and when less than a lengths behind Rascallion recently.
Veteran Do It Again has been around for a long time. He still runs to a good standard consistently. If his past record is a guide, though, he will struggle over this course and distance.
It’s hard to make a serious case for any other horse in the field. Zapatillas, last years Guineas winner is equally hard to fancy as it last years Cape Derby hero Pomp And Power, who seems to have lost some of his zest.
Christophe Soumillon is riding Golden Ducat from the #1 gate. The 7-year-old is a good deal off his past 128 Merit Rating; certainly on current form. However, if he sits close to the pace, he’s perhaps a surprise place chance.
This is all about the filly Make It Snappy and how much she can improve now that is going to meet the boys – and very much the absolute best of South Africa’s older horses.
She will get the run of the race and with that in mind 7/2 is a fair price. There is some 4/1 on the Exchanges, and that looks a touch over the top, even.
At the same time, this improvement is very much factored into the price. With that in mind, all week I was hoping to get inflated odds for the defending champion Kommetdieding.
His price went only one way all week, hence I was even more delighted to find Starsports offering a generous 6/1. That is about two points bigger than I would have imagined him to be.
Kommetdieding is likely to enjoy a near perfect race too. A good draw, he can sit handily, track the pace, and then from 500m out, will be asked for his effort, which will be as honest as ever. He doesn’t stop, he races hard to the line.
10pts win – Kommetdieding @ 6/1
Photo Credit TBD