South Africa: Expert Plays for Cape Town Met Day at Kenilworth

January 27th, 2023

The biggest raceday of the year in Cape Town is Met Day, at the end of January. Three Group 1 races are held, with the most notable being the Cape Town Met, featuring the best middle-distance horses in the land.

Of the other two, I’m going to leave the Majorca (G1) for fillies and mares alone; only six horses are set to race, and it’s difficult to see reigning Horse of the Year Captain’s Ransom not winning this for a third consecutive year. The other two, however, are more wide open and are worth a serious look.

Race 8, 9:15 a.m. ET: Cape Flying Championship (G1), 1,000 meters (about 5 furlongs), 3yo and up

Cape Flying Championship Selections

  • #16 Princess Calla
  • #2 Gimme a Prince
  • #5 Alesian Chief
  • #8 Stiptelik

Cape Flying Championship Wagers

  • $10 win/$20 show: #16 Princess Calla
  • $1 exacta: box 2, 5, 8, 16

It says a lot about the even nature of contenders for this sprint that even at weight-for-age we have 16 runners and an early favorite at 5-1. That is the mare #16 Princess Calla, who is seeking her third consecutive victory. Twice placed at Group 1 level in 2021, the daughter of Flower Alley has moved back to sprint distances this season and has been rewarded with two strong victories, most recently over #8 Stiptelik in the Sceptre (G2).

Several of South Africa’s best sprinters are here, as expected: last year’s winner #15 Bohica, Computaform (G1) hero #9 Master Archie, Golden Horse Sprint (G1) winner #5 Alesian Chief, Cape Merchants (G2) victor #2 Gimme a Prince, and the improvers #1 Isivunguvungu and #14 Resonate. But Princess Calla’s form is good enough for me to support her.

Race 9, 10:10 a.m. ET: Cape Town Met (G1), 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles), 3yo and up

Cape Town Met Selections

  • #4 Jet Dark
  • #6 Kommetdieding
  • #2 Make It Snappy
  • #14 Cousin Casey

Cape Town Met Wagers

  • $10 win/$30 show: #4 Jet Dark
  • 50-cent trifecta: box 2, 4, 6, 14

This might finally be the year that #4 Jet Dark wins this race. He’s been one of South Africa’s best horses for the last three years, and though it looked for a while as though he was best up to a mile, he did beat most of South Africa’s best horses at this trip in the Champions Cup (G1) July 30.

Last year’s winner #6 Kommetdieding will be tough to beat again; he usually gets better with distance. And though boom three-year-old colt Charles Dickens is absent, his generation is represented by two worthy horses: #14 Cousin Casey, second to Charles Dickens in the Cape Guineas (G1), and even more formidably, the outstanding filly #2 Make It Snappy, who beat Captain’s Ransom in the Paddock (G1) at her last start. But I’m going to stick with Jet Dark.