Hill Fifty Four wins the Met

Hill Fifty Four (SAF), who had gone agonisingly close to winning the J & B Met (Gr 1) a year ago, went one better in fine style as he landed the 2014 edition of the Cape's premier racing event, under a brilliant ride from Anton Marcus. Yorker (SAF) won a tight battle for second ahead of Punta Arenas (SAF) and Whiteline Fever (SAF).

There was no pace early on, with reluctant leader Royal Zulu Warrior pulling out the arms of  Karl Zechner before Marcus decided to take the badly-drawn Hill Fifty Four into the lead. No Worries, drawn widest of all, tacked across to race second as Royal Zulu Warrior was eased into third, ahead of Punta Arenas, Whiteline Fever, Capetown Noir and Wylie Hall. Yorker was next best, hugging the inside rail, with Jet Explorer and Master Of My Fate next best.

Hill Fifty Four brought the field into the straight and headed for the outside-centre of the track, where he became somewhat detached from the rest of the field. The rest of the action unfolded against the inside rail where Whiteline Fever was plugging away, Yorker was starting to squeeze his way through and Punta Arenas was running the race of his life. Of the fancied runners, only Master Of My Fate showed any sign of making an impact, starting to make up some ground from off the pace.

Hill Fifty Four continued to lead inside the last furlong and, despite his early exertions, found another gear under pressure. Responding superbly to Marcus's urgings, he stretched out to win comfortably in the end with nearly two lengths to spare.

Trainer Vaughan Marshall was understandably delighted with this victory, the more so after being edged out so narrowly by Martial Eagle last year. The victor went off at 15/1 but cannot be counted as an upset winner given his impressive overall career record. Apart from a blip in last year's Vodacom Durban July and Green Point Stakes, he has been a model of consistency throughout his career and came into the race on the back of two decent prep runs. 

Yorker emerged with plenty of credit here. He was facing a much tougher task, both at the weights and in terms of opposition, than when winning the Summer Cup in November, and his connections can look forward to more from him for the rest of the season.

Punta Arenas ran a blinder. He wasn't easy to find on bare form, having been well held when tackling this sort of company in the past, but he found himself in the right spot in a slow-run race and did his connections proud with the way he stuck to his guns in the straight.

Whiteline Fever ran yet another honest race and was just caught out for a bit of finishing speed in the end. He has tackled just about every major middle-distance event in the country without disgracing himself and should make his presence felt during the upcoming big-race season in Gauteng.

Post race report: Some of the fancied runners ran very disappointingly, the likes of Jackson, Capetown Noir and Master of my Fate failed to fire but some had excuses. Master of my Fate was cut into during the running and Jackson was considered to be stress post race and was reported acting up pre - race as well. 

5 b g Captain Al - Sports Dance by Sportsworld (USA)
Owners: Mrs I Jooste & Mr M J Jooste 
Bred by Klawervlei Stud

Winning trainer: Vaughan Marshall

KW440 - Race 8 - R2.5M - JandB MET (Grade 1)
Open - 2000m
No Horse Jockey Al/Bl Kg Dr Fin Dist Time OP SP Prev
7 HILL FIFTY FOUR Anton Marcus A 58.0 15 1 0.00 123.93 16/1 15/1 KW391
4 YORKER Robbie Fradd A 60.0 2 2 1.75 124.26 14/1 22/1 KW394
16 PUNTA ARENAS Grant Van Niekerk A 58.0 13 3 1.95 124.30 40/1 125/1 KW391
6 WHITELINE FEVER Gavin Lerena A 58.0 8 4 2.70 124.44 16/1 15/1 KW394
5 MASTER OF MY FATE Sean Cormack A 58.0 9 5 2.90 124.48 5/2 5/2 KW391
9 ICE MACHINE Kevin Shea A 58.0 4 6 3.40 124.58 25/1 25/1 KW394
2 CAPETOWN NOIR Karl Neisius A 60.0 10 7 3.90 124.67 13/2 6/1 KW394
11 KING OF PAIN Bernard Fayd'Herbe A 58.0 7 8 4.40 124.77 14/1 11/1 KW394
10 JET EXPLORER Richard Fourie A 58.0 12 9 4.80 124.84 10/1 20/1 KW394
13 NO WORRIES Piere Strydom A 58.0 18 10 4.85 124.85 25/1 16/1 KW394
8 ROYAL ZULU WARRIOR (AUS) Karl Zechner A 58.0 1 11 4.95 124.87 20/1 33/1 KW394
3 WYLIE HALL (AUS) S'Manga Khumalo A B 60.0 6 12 5.00 124.88 33/1 20/1 TN588
18 DO YOU REMEMBER Greg Cheyne A 57.5 5 13 5.30 124.94 33/1 28/1 KW393
1 JACKSON Glen Hatt A 60.0 14 14 5.70 125.02 22/10 4/1 KW394
12 LAKE ARTHUR Aldo Domeyer A 58.0 16 15 6.10 125.09 100/1 50/1 KW394
17 AWESOME POWER Muzi Yeni A 58.0 11 16 6.30 125.13 100/1 75/1 KW391
15 HOT TICKET Grant Behr A B 58.0 17 17 7.80 125.42 40/1 55/1 KW391
14 MASTER SABINA Raymond Danielson A 58.0 3 18 17.05 127.24 33/1 50/1
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