The twice Equus Horse Of The Year Legal Eagle stays in training this season as an eight-year-old.
Trainer Sean Tarry said it had been a mistake to send the Greys Inn gelding down to Durban for the Vodacom Durban July last season.
It was the first time he had run in the country’s premier race since his three-year-old season and Tarry will adhere to the campaign which he had excelled at in the previous three seasons.
Last year Legal Eagle failed in his attempts to win both the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and Horse Chestnut Stakes for the fourth time in succession.
He lost his unbeaten record over a mile, which had stretched to ten races, in the former event when finishing fourth.
Tarry pointed out that despite having been labeled as “disappointing” by most last season Legal Eagle had still managed to win two out of eight races, including beating the like of Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge in the Green Point Stakes.
He had also finished just 2,25 lengths back when finishing strongly from off the pace in the Sun Met.
Sean Tarry questioned the price of 5/10 the bookmakers were offering about his unbeaten Silvano colt Al Mutawakel, who makes his seasonal reappearance over 1600m at Turffontein today, and said he was waiting for the rains before expecting to see the four-year-old at his best this season.
However, Paul Peter, is bullish about the chances of his unbeaten three-year-old colt Riverstown, who races in the next race, a MR 80 handicap over 1600m.
Tarry said Al Mutawakel was not the soundest and as his trainer he had been left between a rock and a hard place due to the lack of rain and the continuing hard ground. He said the four-year-old colt would be more comfortable with softer underfoot conditions and reckoned he would only get to the bottom of him after the rains had arrived.
On the other hand the Silvano colt, who is a full-brother to SA Derby winner Al Sahem, has won twice in fast going to date, running on powerfully on both occasions in the respective 1400m and 1600m events.
Peter said the Byword colt Riverstown had been showing “top class” work at home.
He is clearly excited about his prospects and hoped he would do as well as expected today so he can target him at the Dingaans.
By David Thiselton