Legal Eagle and French Navy gear up for the Met


Nicci Garner: Legal Eagle and French Navy took their runs in the R1.5-million L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate “very well”, according to Sean Tarry, and the trainer seems to be expecting big runs from both in the R5-million Sun Met at the end of the month.

Legal Eagle is weighted to win the 2000m Grade 1 race at Kenilworth on 28 January, which was not unexpected under the conditions of the race. Tarry will “take it day to day” with the ruling Equus Horse Of The Year and you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll be primed to the minute to improve on his second last year in the Cape’s biggest race.

Since then Legal Eagle has run only five times for three Grade 1 wins, in the 1600m HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes, the 2000m Premier’s Champions Challenge and last Saturday’s 1600m Queen’s Plate, and a Grade 2 success in the 1600m Green Point Stakes. His only loss came following a layoff, when he finished third over an inadequate 1160m.

French Navy finished eighth in last Saturday’s Queen’s Plate, six lengths behind his stellar stable companion, and Tarry “thought it was a very nice run”.

He said: “In the Met he will receive 2kg from Legal Eagle, which brings him two lengths closer and he will definitely benefit from that run. The 2000m is his right distance and I think he won’t be far off.”

Tarry was also “very pleased” with Safe Harbour’s second to Bela-Bela in the other Grade 1 race at the meeting, the R1-million Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes over 1800m.

She will now go for the $500,000 (R6,8 million) CTS 1600 on Met Day.

Year older Bela-Bela, who is a confirmed runner for the Met, came from behind Safe Harbour to beat her by 0.40 lengths and Tarry is convinced the Elusive Fort three-year-old “will pick up her reward soon”.

Safe Harbour has placed in two Grade 1 races, including the Cape Fillies Guineas when narrowly beaten by Just Sensual, and her trainer commented: “She proved on Saturday that her form is no fluke – and she’s holding her form well.”

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