Bolt, Bubbly, Beauty and Brawn at 2018 Sun Met
Ken Nicol: Racing is all about athleticism and courage so the news that the fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt, will be seen among some of the greatest equine athletes at the 2018 Sun Met, celebrated with GH Mumm Champagne, on Saturday 27 January comes as no surprise.
The attendance of Bolt was one of a number of items announced at the official launch of the 2018 Sun Met at the suitably glamorous Grand Beach Café just outside Cape Town’s landmark V&A Waterfront on Wednesday evening.
The race meeting, the richest in Africa, has a theme of “Style Ahead of the Field”, and promises to be bigger and better than ever.
It is also very likely that Bolt’s equivalent in racing superstar Frankie Dettori will return after so memorably winning the Investec Cape Derby last year.
As far as the Sun Met, sponsored by Sun International, is concerned, the important change is that from next year the R5-million race is to become a pure weight-for-age event. In real terms, this means that five-year-old and older male horses will carry 60kg, four-year-olds 59.5kg, and three-year-olds 54kg, with fillies receiving an extra 2.5kg allowance.
There will be no conditions or penalties, which means the best horse should win.
The reaction was positive. Trainer Glen Kotzen could have been expected to have had mixed feelings, as his stable star, Gold Standard, would have carried 58kg under the current conditions. “Now the Met will now be won by the best horse – not the best handicapped horse, which I can only support,” said Kotzen.
Brett Crawford prepared last year’s winner Whisky Baron. “It’s a good thing – the very top horses should be rewarded for their ability.”
Greg Cheyne was aboard Whisky Baron, and must have enjoyed the replay flashing up on the big screen. His reaction was “fantastic – it’s about time and I’m all for it”.
There is also a hope that the new conditions will help attract some foreign entries and thus ultimately become a true international event.