'Maneater' to shine in Gold Cup
SHE'S A MANEATER has no MR UNIVERSE to kill the speed in Saturday's Cal's Tomato Ketchup Gold Cup, but her rivals have jumped out of the frying pan, straight into the fire, going seven furlongs, the distance at which she dismissed most with disdain in July's Eros Trophy.
Touted as a rematch with WILL IN CHARGE, who trainer Robert Pearson cheekily claimed has twice beaten SHE'S A MANEATER, the seven-furlong Gold Cup is a far cry from April's 10-furlong Legal Light Trophy, the event that the five-year-old used handicaps and long-speed pace to dominate the filly.
WILL IN CHARGE, finishing fourth in June's nine-furlong Viceroy Trophy, three lengths ahead of last-place SHE'S A MANEATER, whose nose literally touched the dirt when she stumbled at the start, is one of those races any sensible punter would pretend never happened.
Still burdened with topweight 126lb, even though that was the exact weight she had when losing to WILL IN CHARGE with 119lb, the handicappers have ignored SHE'S A MANEATER's loss in the Legal Light Trophy.
Erroneously handicapping after entries and taking distance into consideration - which should be the remit of punters, not administrators, who should, instead, be using a strict rating system adjusted after each race day - the promoting company's racing office has penalised SHE'S A MANEATER for losing the Legal Light Trophy to WILL IN CHARGE, and as Pearson indicated, the Viceroy Trophy as well.
Both horses won two grade-one races apiece since the Legal Light Trophy, carrying 126lb, yet WILL IN CHARGE returns even lighter on the books for the rematch, 118lb, carrying 119lb only because Robert Halledeeen can't make the lighter weight.
Nevertheless, the Gold Cup is still set up for SHE'S A MANEATER to turn the tables on WILL IN CHARGE, should December's Diamond Mile be used as a marker race.
In the Diamond Mile, WILL IN CHARGE carried 126lb, giving SHE'S A MANEATER eight pounds, and lost by as many lengths to the filly, who won by almost seven after exploding past rivals inside the last furlong and a half.
The Gold Cup is similar to the Diamond Mile, with sprinters such as CHACE THE GREAT and SIEMPRE BUENO expected to try winning the only way they can, making a bid on the lead, which suits SHE'S A MANEATER, who doesn't mind being led.
The same can't be said for WILL IN CHARGE, whose forte is dominating going longer distances and outstaying rivals up the lane. Against the likes of CHACE THE GREAT and SIEMPRE BUENO, WILL IN CHARGE will be forced off his bridle too early and lacks the mid-race kick and finishing speed of SHE'S A MANEATER at seven furlongs.
Her last race was telling, blocked a half-furlong out against the rail before being switched, yet still winning, eased down, in 1:10.4 for six furlongs, carrying topweight 126lb.