Legal Eagle has been priced up a strong favourite to win the R4- million Premier’s Champions Challenge (Grade 1) over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday. Trainer Sean Tarry has followed the same path as he did last year with his charge.
Legal Eagle won the Grade 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes after his return from the Cape and followed it up with victory in the Champions Challenge. He has again completed leg 1 and should be hard to oppose in the double. He looks a banker in all bets.
Stable companion French Navy appears to have found his form at the right time and should get into the money.
Brazuca has come back to best and won a Pinnacle Stakes over this course and distance full of running. He could prove the biggest danger despite being 6.5kg out with Legal Eagle.
Master Sabina ran below form last time but is best over this course and distance and should do a lot better.
Filly Nother Russia is as honest as they come but will tackle this class for the first time. She won’t go down without a fight.
Heavenly Blue is shaping up as another banker on the card when he runs in the R2-million SA Derby over 2450m. He should be at peak fitness for this race. He ran third in the Guineas over 1600m after a rest and followed it up with a facile victory in the Grade 1 SA Classic over 1800m. This will be his third run after a rest and should be ready to complete a perfectly timed preparation for the Derby over 2400m which will be to his liking. Punters will have to take a short price though.
Al Sahem has taken the same road to the Derby and finished runner-up in both the Guineas and SA Classic. He has the class but may be lacking in stamina over the 2400m. Stable companion Furiosa was just behind him when staying on for third in the Classic and could finish close up again.
Pagoda should relish the Derby distance but has yet to meet the likes of Heavenly Blue and Al Sahem. However, he should be lengths ahead of the balance who make no appeal whatsoever.
The Computaform Sprint could be fought out by Tarry-trained stable companions, mare Carry On Alice and gelding Trip To Heaven and they top betting boards. Both are top-class individuals but because they are of the same age the latter was always over shadowed by his female stable companion.
However, their styles of racing are different. The mare is usually up with the pace whereas the Trip To Heaven loses ground at the start. This could have a bearing on the result. If he doesn’t give too much ground away at the jump and can get a clear passage through a full field Trip To Heaven could get up and grab Carry On Alice.
Cape challengers Brutal Force and Jo’s Bond are not out of it. Brutal Force won his last two but was just nursed when striding short last time. If problem free could get into the action. Jo’s Bond makes her Highveld debut and if her prep has gone well must be considered.
KwaZulu-Natal visitor Elusivenchantment meets Jo’s Bond on identical terms to when they recently raced at Scottsville and shouldn’t be able to turn it around.
Best ‘roughie’ in the race could be Rafeef. He drops to the minimum distance but the blinkers could sharpen him up.
Betting World’s betting:
Premier’s Champions Challenge: 4-10 Legal Eagle, 9-2 Brazuca, 7-1 French Navy, 10-1 Nother Russia, 14-1 Deo Juvente 16-1 and better others.
SA Derby: 13-20 Heavenly Blue, 7-2 AL Sahem, 4-1 Pagoda, 11-2 Furiosa, 25-1 and better others.
Computaform Sprint: 22- 10 Carry On Alice, 28-10 Trip to Heaven, 7-1 Brutal Force, 8-1 Jo’s Bond, 12-1 Elusivechantment, 14-1 Rivarine, Moofeed, 16-1 and better others.
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