Trainer Sean Tarry says racing fans should not write off Legal Eagle as past his best.
The seven-year-old star remains in contention for a fourth attempt at the Sun Met, in which his record shows two seconds and a fourth place and into which he comes with a merit rating dropped to 121, his lowest since 2016.
Tarry said: “There are people who would have had their enthusiasm dampened by Legal Eagle’s run in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, but I am not one of them. We fight on, he pulled up well and he is sound and fresh.”
Giving his views on Legal Eagle’s fourth place, beaten four lengths by Do It Again, in Saturday’s Grade 1 spectacle, he said: “The last thing I want to do is look for excuses, but I have to say that Legal Eagle was not himself on the day; he was flat. I saw that when saddling him and when he cantered down. When they turned for home, he didn’t have much to come, his usual kick was just not there.
“I cannot quantify whether Legal Eagle’s below-par run equates to half a length, or two lengths or more, but this wasn’t his run. But that’s the way it is, and now we look ahead to the Sun Met.
“Lyle Hewitson will be replacing Anton Marcus, who has taken the ride on Rainbow Bridge.
“Anton is not my stable jockey, he is not obligated to ride Legal Eagle and this is a good opportunity for Lyle, who is riding very well.”
Asked about Legal Eagle’s race programme for the rest of the year, Tarry noted: “At this stage we have no reason to believe that his customary programme will be changing this year. We will look at the Horse Chestnut Stakes after the Sun Met.” – www.turftalk.co.za