The Sun Met achieved a real international flavour on Saturday with the news that former English champion jockey Ryan Moore is to partner defending champion Rainbow Bridge in the Grade 1 race over 2000m at Kenilworth on Saturday 1 February.
The globetrotting champion has enjoyed Grade 1 success around the globe, and seeks to add a top-level title in South Africa to his CV.
When asked for comment at Kenilworth on Saturday trainer Eric Sands confirmed Moore had been approached to ride Rainbow Bridge and that he was very happy with the arrangement.
After a creditable third in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate despite things not going his way, Rainbow Bridge was already many people’s choice to win Cape Town’s iconic race.
And the booking of Moore is certain to attract plenty more supporters.
There has been a lot of discussion as to whether last year’s runner-up, Do It Again, will take his place in the Met field because trainer Justin Snaith is not sure whether he will get his champion ready in time for the big race. He had a setback after the running of the Green Point Stakes and clearly had not come back to his best when unplaced in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
There was a lot of talk in Cape Town last week that Sands had approached Snaith to find out whether he could use jockey Richard Fourie for Rainbow Bridge should Do It Again not run. Fourie is undefeated on Rainbow Bridge.
Declarations for the Sun Met close this morning and Do It Again is one of four runners who was declared early for the race. Snaith could still change his mind so it is not cast in stone that Do It Again will run.
The other early declarations were Bunker Hunt with Bernard Fayd’Herbe up, last year’s third-placed runner, Head Honcho, the mount of Piere Strydom, and Roy Had Enough, to be ridden by Sean Veale.
Despite finishing fifth in the Queen’s Plate, Hawwaam remains favourite for the Met.
Betting: 16-10 Hawwaam, 3-1 Vardy, 4-1 Rainbow Bridge, 15-2 Do it Again; 16-1 One World; 20-1 Twist of Fate; 25-1 Shango; 33-1 Bunker Hunt, Head Honcho; 40-1 and upwards others.
(Betting supplied by Betting World, www.bettingworld.co.za)