In spite of all the commotion going on around him, trainer Sean Tarry confirms Legal Eagle has had an uninterrupted build-up to Saturday’s defence of his L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate title.
“Everything has gone smoothly,” he said yesterday. “He has had a perfect prep and you don’t have to debate about the draw or the jockey.
“I can give you the thumbs up!”
This six-year-old son of Greys Inn will be going for his third successive victory in this Grade 1 race over 1600m at Kenilworth Racecourse and should he do so, will become only the second horse to win this R1.5-million race three times. Pocket Power, in fact, went on to win it four times between 2006 and 2010.
Legal Eagle has an outstanding record over this trip, having raced seven times for seven wins over 1600m. Even though he is now getting on, the gelding has only raced 20 times and Tarry confirms he has lost none of his zest for racing. “I can’t see any difference. In fact if anything, he might even have got a bit stronger.”
Anton Marcus continues to ride Legal Eagle, he is the best-handicapped runner and from No 2 draw he looks well set against a bunch of rivals, most of whom he has beaten before.
Tarry saddles Safe Harbour in the R1-million Cartier Paddock Stakes over 1800m and despite a small setback, Tarry feels the four-year-old filly is in a good space. “She had to be scratched from the Victress Stakes with a foot abscess but she’s over it. She had a good gallop at the course and she’s well enough.
“She’s done very little wrong but this is a tough field.”
Once again, Marcus is in the irons.
Stonehenge runs in the Grade 2 Peninsula Handicap over 1800m and will carry just 52kg. He is a strong front runner who could well enjoy the faster conditions being enjoyed currently in the Western Cape. “He seems to be enjoying the Cape, he should be competitive and I hope he will be thereabouts.”
Visigoth had a most promising debut at Kenilworth last month when he finished a 1.70-length fourth behind William The Brave in a Graduation Plate over 1800m. The son of Visionaire contests the Grade 3 BMW Politician over the same course and distance. “He’s a progressive sort,” said Tarry, “but he will be at his best over 2000m and further.”
He also has four runners at Friday’s meeting, the first day of the Queen’s Plate Festival, two juvenile first-timers in Race 1 and another pair in the Grade 2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes over 1200m. “In Race 1 we have Flattley and Rivonia Boulevard and I would say the latter is the more forward of the two and should be competitive.
“Desert Rhythm and Green Plains run in the Sceptre Stakes and both are having their final preps for the $500,000 race on Met Day. I think both should be thereabouts on Friday although over a sprint distance Green Plains should have the edge.”
Speaking about her last run in the Southern Cross Stakes over 1000m in which Green Plains faded to finish 13th behind Just Sensual, Tarry added: “I don’t think things worked out for her that day. They were running into a strong wind and she tended to over race early on.”
FAVOURITE: Trainer Sean Tarry gives L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate favourite the thumbs up for Saturday’s Grade 1 race.
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