Jet Dark slammed Kommetdieding by 2,25 lengths in the weight for age (wfa) L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate over 1600m before losing to him by 0,75 lengths in the wfa WSB Met over 2000m and then beating him by 1,10 lengths in the Hollywoodbets Durban July over 2200m at level weights. They are now both entries in the wfa Champions Cup over 1800m on July 30 at Hollywoodbets Greyville.
Jet Dark won this race last year running fresh, but this year comes in off a July campaign and might not come into the race as fresh as Kommetdieding.
The latter was given a break and then freshened up for the July after two disappointing runs on the Highveld in April.
Jet Dark, on the other hand, ran in the IOS Drill Hall Stakes in May and the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge as a springboard into the July.
He was given a hard ride in the July to get up for second and was in fact struck five times more than the whipping rule limit of 12.
Jet Dark came from behind Kommetdieding off the slowish pace in the July, which augurs well for him over this shorter trip.
However, he did enjoy a better passage, having had cover all the way, whilst Kommetdieding was caught wide in stages.
Kommetdieding has now drawn well in four.
Jet Dark is drawn eight and will have another tough task of overtaking the field in the short Greyville straight from his normal far back position.
He is still the horse to beat though considering his class and distance suitability.
However, it is a race which can throw upsets and fresh horses often do well here.
Two Grade 1-winning entries who will be running fresh are MK’s Pride and Russian Rock.
MK’s Pride has enjoyed little luck with draws this season and gets another tough one. However, he did not use up too much energy in the Gold Challenge when coming around to get into the box seat, yet both Linebacker and Jet Dark swept past him late.
Russian Rock is drawn in pole and if things go his way he will be a big runner. He was caught wide in a handy position in the Gold Challenge, so did well to stay on to be beaten just 1,95 lengths. He should get cover this time, with front-runner Crown Towers drawn three and handy sort Astrix drawn two, and his relative freshness will be in his favour in the straight.
Linebacker is among the entries and is drawn eleven out of 13.
He was the most disappointing runner in the July, beaten over 14 lengths. However, the slowish pace did no favours to those swinging wide into the straight from midfield or beyond and he was then hampered by Pomp And Power, who was angling out for a run.
He has just 0,95 lengths to make up on Kommetdieding from the Met and a neck to find on Jet Dark.
Astrix has a plum draw and is the dark horse as he is ultra tough and progressive, so one can easily imagine him in contention late in the race and fighting all the way to the line.
Al Muthana won the Gold Challenge in fine style and stayed on from way back in the July, so this trip will suit him.
Marina ran on well for a two length second over a too sharp 1600m in the Brentford F.C Garden Province Stakes and will have a point to prove having been left out of the July. If she lines up she will be attempting to emulate her full-brother Marinaresco by winning this race from a wide draw.
Waterberry Lane ran on well in the Daily News 2000 and this trip will likely be right down his alley, but he has had a busy campaign.
His stablemate Mount Anderson is in fine form although wfa class might be a touch beyond him.
Handy tactics did not work for Puerto Manzano in the July and given a chance from a good draw he might be able to run on into the money.
Firealley looks a bit outgunned here, although he is perfectly distance suited.
R1 000 000 1800m (Turf)
CHAMPIONS CUP (Grade 1)
CHAMPIONS CUP (Grade 1)
|9||Al Muthana (AUS)||Mike de Kock||125|
|3||Crown Towers (AUS)||Justin Snaith||115|
|8||Jet Dark||Justin Snaith||130|
|4||Kommetdieding||HWJ Crawford/M Rix||128|
|10||Mk’s Pride||Paul Peter||122|
|7||Mount Anderson||Dean Kannemeyer||110|
|5||Puerto Manzano (ARG)||J A Janse van Vuuren||120|
|1||Russian Rock||Dean Kannemeyer||120|
|6||Waterberry Lane||Dean Kannemeyer||117|
Picture: Kommetdieding, Jet Dark and Linebacker fighting out the Met finish. All three are entered in the Champions Cup (Wayne Marks).