The 2015 J&B Met run over 2,000m at Kenilworth on 31 January was won in scintillating fashion by the Brett Crawford-trained Futura, who started second favourite at 2/1 and was ridden by Bernard Fayd’Herbe.
Fayd’Herbe, who won this race twice on the great Pocket Power, spoke of how easy Futura was to work with and the striking looking bay was certainly relaxed both in the parade ring and throughout the early stages of the race.
However, when Fayd’Herbe pressed the button in the straight the reaction was explosive. Futura burst through at the 170m mark and powered clear to win by 2,25 lengths.
The 4-year-old colt has now won three Gr 1s including the prestigious weight-for-age Gr 1 L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate three weeks ago. Two of his owners, Ian Longmore and Jack Mitchell, had experienced the agony of defeat with the strongly fancied Crawford-trained Jackson in the last two runnings of the Met, so it was third time lucky for them. They own him in partnership with John Freeman. Futura was bred by Guy Murdoch.
The spritely Sean Tarry-trained 7-year-old gelding Gold Onyx, who was a flying third in the Queen’s Plate, ran on strongly again to pip the pacemaker Helderberg Blue for second. Tellina stayed on from a handy position for fourth ahead of Punta Arenas, who was close to the front throughout and only faded late in the straight.
Earlier, the magnificent looking Mike de Kock-trained Australian-bred colt Ertijaal annihilated the odds-on favourite Act Of War in the Gr 1 Investec Cape Derby. Ertijaal, who was ridden by Gavin Lerena, led from start to finish and stretched further and further clear in the straight to beat a probably below par Act Of War by nearly five lengths.
Angus Gold, racing manager for Ertijaal’s owner and breeder Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was on course to accept the trophy. It was a second Kenilworth Gr 1 win in successive weekends for the travelling De Kock yard.
Later De Kock made it a day to remember by winning the Gr 2 J&B Urban Honey Stayers over 2,800m with Kingston Mines, who was also ridden by Lerena.
The Gr 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes over 1,600m was a thriller as the Mike Bass-trained Trippi filly Inara pipped her 3-year-old contemporary Cold As Ice on the line. Inara, owned and bred by Drakenstein Stud and ridden by Grant van Niekerk, won the Gr 1 Maine Chance Paddock Stakes over 1,800m three weeks ago; this latest win confirmed that this season’s 3-year-fillies crop is particularly strong.