H F Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes

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April 7, 2018

South Africa’s reigning Horse Of The Year Legal Eagle made it nine wins from nine outings over a mile when making all to win the G1 H F Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes at Turffontein on Saturday.

The Avontuur Thoroughbred Estate bred six-year-old was all the rage for the R1 000 000 contest, eventually jumping the 5-10 favourite.

With Deo Juvente and Romany Prince both slow away, jockey Anton Marcus elected to set a sedate pace on the favourite, who was tracked by Nother Russia, Unagi and Brazuca.

Nother Russia’s stable mate Orchid Island bought up the rear of the eight horse field, just behind Deo Juvente.

Marcus let Legal Eagle skip two lengths clear, with 700m left to run, and the Greys Inn gelding stayed on resolutely.

Nother Russia made several game attempts to challenge Legal Eagle, but the latter always looked to be holding the Mike de Kock trained mare, and he prevailed by a deceptively narrow neck win in a time of 98.23 seconds.

Nother Russia was second, four lengths clear of 36-1 longshot Unagi and fellow longshot Brazuca.

Legal Eagle was winning the Horse Chestnut Stakes for a third time in a row.

Now a winner of 13 of his 23 outings, Legal Eagle has now captured eight G1 races, having previously won a third G1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate earlier this season.

The Braam Van Huyssteen, Bill Henderson and Hedley McGrath owned gelding pushed his earnings to R11 523 375.

Legal Eagle, a R425 000 buy when purchased by Mayfair Speculators at the 2013 BSA Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale, is one of three G1 winners sired by Zabeel sire Greys Inn.

His National Emblem sired dam Young Sensation, like her famous son also trained by Sean Tarry, won six and ran second in the Listed Scarlet Lady Handicap.

Image: JC Photographics