Superlatives are no longer necessary. All we need say is Legal Eagle won again.
The multiple Horse of the Year collected another Grade 1 title on Classic Day at Turffontein – the HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes. It was Legal Eagle’s second victory in this race, his ninth victory in nine starts over the “mile” and his 13th victory from 23 career starts.
However, just to show that Legal Eagle is flesh and blood after all, it’s important to record that he and jockey Anton Marcus were made to work for this triumph.
Most of the field had given up the ghost with many hundreds of metres still to run. But not the gallant mare Nother Russia.
Under regular partner Craig Zackey, the five-year-old daughter of Tiger Ridge and Mother Russia showed real galloping gumption and was, indeed, travelling faster than The Mighty One at the line.
From the No 2 gate, Marcus pushed Legal Eagle (4-10) into an immediate lead from the 1600m start. The master rider set his own pace and watcher could expect only one outcome.
At the 500m pole, Marcus loosened the reins and Legal Eagle surged to a three-length lead. Marcus looked around to see where the challenges would come from – and the pair looked more than ready to match any upstarts.
It was only Nother Russia (8-1) that picked up the gauntlet. Legal Eagle responded to ward her off. But she refused to concede and came again. And then again.
At the line the margin was 0.25 lengths. It was four lengths back to third-placed Unagi and a further four lengths to Brazuca in fourth.
Trainer Sean Tarry said beforehand that he had Legal Eagle at 90% of preparedness ahead of unnamed tasks to come. One would think he’ll be up to such tasks.
Mike Moon ... www.tabnews.co.za