Cape Town — Punters at Kenilworth on Saturday will gravitate toward the four Cape Met favourites, but two intriguing outsiders lurk in the background with rewarding winning dividends.
The smart money will be on the four classy horses with proven credentials at the Grade 1 level. They are Durban July winner, Kommetdieding, Cape Guineas victor, Double Superlative, Queens Plate boss, Jet Dark and Daily News victor, Linebacker, all of whom will be around 7/2 and 5/1 on the boards of Cape Met sponsors World Sports Betting.
Horse racing aficionado and journalist Mark van Deventer urged punters looking for runners who will trouble the favourites to look at the overall form picture, and not just what has happened recently.
Punters who are prepared to take a risk for bigger prices, Hoedspruit and Second Base could provide great value.
Van Deventer makes a case for Hoedspruit and Second Base if the fancied runners are up not to scratch.
"The betting market probably has it right with one out of Linebacker, Kommetdieding, Jet Dark or Double Superlative about 75% likely to win the Met," said Van Deventer.
"In searching for a live outsider, it may be a stretch for Hoedspruit (17/1) or Second Base (55/1) to upset this historic Grade 1 against formidable rivals, but they could conceivably get into the places and help swell single-race exotic dividends.
"Hoedspruit ran just three lengths off Linebacker at level weights in the 2021 Cape Derby over the same course and distance as the Met. And Second Base clocked in a similar margin behind Linebacker in the Daily News over 2000m, also at level weights, back in May 2021.
"With Linebacker one of the favourites to win this 2022 World Sports Betting Cape Town Met, those form lines stack up reasonably well.
"Hoedspruit and Second Base have compiled good win-to-start ratios of 40% and 38% respectively. They will be piloted by accomplished senior jockeys Louis Mxothwa and ace-pace judge, Warren Kennedy.
"Second Base (who won his last start 28 days ago) travels down from the Joburg, which is a challenge, but assuming he copes fine with that road journey, should acquit himself nicely. Hoedspruit is also a last-out winner – three weeks ago, he clinched the G2 Premier Trophy earning a solid speed figure of 108, which might be good enough to sneak into the money here.
"Admittedly, they would need the top horses to underperform, and both must produce career peaks to bridge the deficit. Yet, now and then a wacky, long shot gate-crashes the Met party – perhaps Hoedspruit or Second Base could sneak past the “bigger, intimidating bouncers” and get onto the dance floor this time around!"
Former jockey and racing expert Peter Wrensch said the talented Hoedspruit is the longest price of the four-pronged Justin Snaith (trainer) attack on Saturday's 2000m course.
"Hoedspruit's sixth success was in the Premier's Trophy over 1800," said Wrensch. "He has no stamina doubts with a creditable second place in the Winter Derby over 2000 to follow his earlier grade 1 Cape Derby 4, then only three lengths behind the fancied Linebacker.
"Marina, the only filly in the race, boldly takes on the boys but has seen steady support into 13/2 in the betting with World Sports Betting. This is based on her proven ability to see out 2000m, boasting the Winter Oaks over 2400 amongst her résumé of eight victories.
"In the end, I think Jet Dark will beat Kommetdieding and Double Superlative. All three are high quality.
"Linebacker, Marina and Hoedspruit are also very good, so it will be a great race of the country's best. It should be an excellent day out too."