Hawwaam, the early favourite, will need to prove himself better than his current rating if he is to beat last season’s winner Rainbow Bridge and dual Vodacom Durban July hero Do It Again in the Sun Met.
The triple Grade 1 winner is rated 131 compared with Do It Again’s 136 and the 134 of Rainbow Bridge. Indeed even the favourite’s stable companion Soqrat is rated higher – on 133.
These four stars head the 25 who were yesterday nominated for the first February Met since the Vaughan Marshall-trained Hill Fifty Four came home at 15-1 under Hawwaam’s regular partner Anton Marcus in 2014. There were 29 nominated at the corresponding first entry stage last season while there 31 for the 2018 race (the first year that it was run on pure weight-for-age terms) and 27 the year before.
Mike de Kock, who will be bidding for his fourth Met, has confined himself to just two entries as has Brett Crawford, the only other current trainer to have won the great race three times. The Crawford pair are last season’s fourth Undercover Agent and Charles.
Andre Nel has the biggest entry with five headed by Head Honcho who ran such a great race to take third last term. Sean Tarry, successful with 50-1 shot Alastor in 2005, is the only trainer to enter three-year-olds this time (Shango, Putontheredlight and On My Mind) and Candice Bass-Robinson is the only other trainer with more than two entries – Majestic Mozart, More Magic and Sovereign Spirit.
Although the conditions remain essentially the same as last year – there will be a slight difference in the relative weights of the three and four-year-olds because the weight-for-age scale changes from January to February – the race’s financial complexion has altered dramatically.
While the total stake comes down from R5 million to R3 million, with the winner’s share dropping from R 2 850 000 to R 1 710 000, the pre-VAT cost of the initial entry has gone up from R 5 000 to R6 000. However it costs much less to supplement – R9 900 on December 17 as against R16 492 last year and R19 800 on January 13 compared with R32 984.
Entries Sun Met (Grade 1) 2 000m Kenilworth 1 February 2020
|0||Bunker Hunt||Justin Snaith||120|
|0||Do It Again||Justin Snaith||136|
|0||Eyes Wide Open||Glen Kotzen||119|
|0||Hawwaam||Mike de Kock||131|
|0||Head Honcho||Andre Nel||129|
|0||Kampala Campari||Andre Nel||119|
|0||Majestic Mozart||Candice Bass-Robinson||107|
|0||More Magic||Candice Bass-Robinson||99|
|0||On My Mind||Sean Tarry||89|
|0||One World||Vaughan Marshall||127|
|0||Rainbow Bridge||Eric Sands||134|
|0||Roy Had Enough (AUS)||Frank Robinson||115|
|0||Run Red||Andre Nel||104|
|0||Soqrat (AUS)||Mike de Kock||133|
|0||Sovereign Spirit||Candice Bass-Robinson||95|
|0||Tap O’ Noth||Vaughan Marshall||119|
|0||The Sultans Bazaar||Dean Kannemeyer||100|
|0||Twist Of Fate||Adam Marcus||127|
|0||Undercover Agent||Brett Crawford||130|
By Michael Clower