LEGAL Eagle has only one thing to do to complete his hat-trick of wins in the Gr1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes: he has to turn up at Turffontein Saturday!

Legal Eagle meets arguably the weakest field of his career in this R1-million race on the outside track at the city venue, where he has won six of 10 races against stronger rivals, including four Grade 1s.

There is probably no value in discussing the merits of his opposition. Barring a career-best run from Nother Russia, who found herself on Legal Eagle’s flanks over 2000m once; or similar from his stablemate French Navy, no amount of form analysis brings anything close to the champion and the R625,000 first prize looks a gift for Braam van Huyssteen and partners.

Trainer Sean Tarry seemed as satisfied as ever with Legal Eagle’s prep when we interviewed him for the Turf Talk Newsletter last week and he told Jack Milner of TAB News yesterday: “He’s doing well. There’s still a bit of meat on the bone so he should run a bit fresh.”

The current plan is to go on from this race into the R4-million Premier’s Champions Challenge over 2000m next month but Tarry is not ready to jump the gun. “Let’s get through this race first and then we will decide.”

It has to be noted that Tarry’s “meat-to-the-bone” comment was also published before Legal Eagle won the last two renewals of the Horse Chestnut Stakes. That’s how good Legal Eagle is: he can win Gr1 races when he is not fully wound up.  A modern-day miracle aside, he won’t be beaten on Saturday.

Photo by Liesl King.