Skip to main content

Picture: Charles Dickens (Wayne Marks).

Will the three-year-old WSB Met entries Charles Dickens and Cousin Casey have it easier or tougher than the like of Horse Chetnut (1999 winner) and Badger’s Coast (2000 winner) had it?

Three-year-olds are very rare winners of the WSB Met.

However, the Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Charles Dickens is not only being compared to the great Mike Bass-trained three-time Met winner Pocket Power, but also to the two horses who generally vie for greatest SA thoroughbred in history i.e Sea Cottage and Horse Chestnut.

The other three-year-old Met entry, Cousin Casey, has swept all before him in his last five starts and nobody knows yet whether he is as good as Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens has been priced up as 7/2 ante-post Met favourite by the sponsor and Cousin Casey is 14/1.
The question is whether this pair will have to be as good or even better than the select group of three-year-olds who have previously won Cape Town’s biggest race?
It would be no surprise if the panel discussion pundits come out and say today’s three-year-olds have it even tougher in the Met, because it is now run under weight for age conditions. They will thus have to carry more weight than three-year-olds invariably had to carry under the former handicap conditions of yesteryear.
However, read on, because that sentiment might be way off the mark.
The last three-year-old to win it was the Justin Snaith-trained Oh Susanna, who was possibly the first sophomore filly to win the big race in history.
Three-year-old males have only a slightly better record.
Mike de Kock has done it twice with three-year-old males, the legendary Horse Chestnut slamming the field by eight lengths in 1999 and Badger’s Coast then winning it in 2000.
However, the previous three-year-old winner before Horse Chestnut was the Syd Garrett-trained Feltos, way back in 1945.
Feltos carried 48kg to victory and thus received a whopping 18kg from the previous July winner Monteith.
Horse Chestnut, the only three-year-old runner in 1999, carried 51kg to his easy victory.
Badger’s Coast, one of two three-year-olds in the race (alongside Paddock Stakes winner Mythical Play), also carried 51kg when winning by a quarter of a length the following year.
Charles Dickens and Cousin Casey will carry 54kg under weight for age conditions.
They will receive 6kg from all of the horses five years and older and 5,5kg from all of the four-year-olds.
Horse Chestnut and Badger’s Coast received 7kg from the topweight, but it should be emphasised they only received that amount from the topweight and on average received a whole lot less from the older horses.
Horse Chestnut, for example, only received 5,5kg from the previous July winner Classic Flag, he received only 1kg from subsequent July winner El Picha, he received only 3kg from Flying Duel, who had beaten Classic Flag in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 before being beaten 2,35 lengths into fifth in the July. Horse Chestnut only received 7kg from one horse, the topweight North By Northwest, who finished last.
Badger’s Coast did receive 7kg from July-winning runner up El Picha, but he only received 2,5kg from six-year-old former Grade 1 Cape Derby winner Shah’s Star, he received only 3kg from Free My Heart, who had won the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and Grade 2 Clairwood Derby and went on to be a seven-time Grade 1 winner, he received only 3kg from Ingleside, who went on to be a Summer Cup winner, he received 6kg from Classic Flag, he received only 1,5kg from subsequent dual Grade 1 winner and narrow July runner up Young Rake and he received only 1kg from former Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas winner Indiscreet Fantasy.
Oh Susanna was highly regarded but not spoken about in the same terms as Charles Dickens and she beat a top field by half-a-length in the 2018 Met. She carried only 51.5kg and thus received 8,5kg from all of the Grade 1 winners Marinaresco, Captain America, Legal Eagle, Sail South and Coral Fever, 8kg from top class four-year-old Gold Standard and 6kg from the top Grade 1-winning fillies Nother Russia and Nightingale.
So those who say Charles Dickens and Cousin Casey are going to have it tough carrying 54kg should be challenged.
Picture: Charles Dickens is the ante-post Met favourite (Wayne Marks).