January 31, 2011
J&B Met 2011 shows what Cape Town is all about
Photos by Roy Barford
The 2011 J&B Met, which was held at Kenilworth Racecourse on Saturday, January 29, was a brilliant example of Cape Town’s creativity, as well as its ability to host big events year after year. There was a surprise winner in the form of Past Master, lots of innovative fashion statements and an appearance by famous Dutch disc jockey, Fedde le Grand, who performed at the after party.
The main race was an exciting one, although many people were taken completely by surprise when Past Master, wearing the lucky number seven, suddenly broke ahead in the last 200 metres, leaving race favourite, Mother Russia, in his dust. The crowd had been screaming madly until this point, but the sudden silence when Past Master crossed the line was clear indication that very few people had backed him when they placed their bets. The odds of him winning were 16/1, so those who put money on him would have been giggling all the way to the bank.
His jockey, 45-year-old rider Gerrit Schlechter, was absolutely delighted with the result, as was his owner Hassen Adams, who banked R2.5 million with the result. Darryl Hodgson, Past Master’s trainer, told RacingPost.com, “Three months ago I said Past Master would win this but in the Queen’s Plate he lost his balance. We knew what had gone wrong but people kept putting doubts in my mind.”
This was the last race for Pocket Power, a legend who won the J&B Met three times. The eight-year-old struggled, finishing eighth, but still received many loud cheers from his fans. Louise Kennedy, who has followed his career closely, cried at the end of the race. “It’s very sad that his racing career has come to an end, but he has a long happy life ahead of him still, so it’s all good. He brought a lot of joy to people who have watched him, especially those who have won a money betting on him!”
The theme for this year’s J&B Met was “larger than life,” which encouraged patrons to go over the top and dress boldly. Despite the temperature of more than 30 degrees Centigrade, many racegoers arrived in stylish three-piece suits and braved the heat. Bowler hats and big sunglasses were prominent, while some of the more eye-catching garments included leopard-print dresses, puffy Playboy bunny outfits and a hats sporting specially made horses.
The event showcased how creative Capetonians are, as well as how much they enjoy big events. Ruben Snoeij, who comes from the Netherlands, said it was the biggest horse racing event he had ever been to. “It’s great to see how the people get in to it, with their colourful outfits and the way they get so excited during the races.”
Some of the celebrities who attended the J&B Met this year were Lee-Ann Liebenberg, Jeannie D, Jo-Anne Strauss and Roxy Louw,
Two former kings of pop, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, made an appearance in the form of stilt-men. Both characters took their roles very seriously and provided much amusement and many photo opportunities.
The after party, which was also held at Kenilworth Racecourse, was an assortment of local and international disc jockeys, including DJ Fresh and Fedde le Grand, who got the crowd going with his massive hit singles Let me think about it and Put your hands up for Detroit.
Below are some more photos from the event.