L'Ormarins Queen's Plate South Africa
L'Ormarins Queen's Plate South Africa

L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate

(Photo : LQP)



The presence of Genesis band leader, Mike Rutherford, at Saturday’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, might have been prophetic. When Gary Player announced in the wake of the race that the way had been paved for next year’s 151st renewal to be a truly international event, he recalled a moment of rebirth dating back to a defining day in November 1995, in Paris. That was the occasion of the striking of the “Black Bush” accord, which laid the foundation for South African racing’s re-entry to the world of international competition.

The implications are these, and while they are ambitious, they are eminently within our grasp :

1. By special consent of our protocol partners in other parts of the world, it’s been agreed that horses will be able to enter the “free zone” (we speak of quarantine issues her) for a limited period, which will enable them, from their base at the Kenilworth Quarantine Station, to maintain a normal exercise regime, and participate in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.

2. Clearly, in order to attract a field worthy of the status of a race of this sort, a stake in the region of US$2million (bearing in mind the race’s proximity to the competing international events in Hong Kong and Dubai) will have to be raised. Equally, we will need to provide the usual incentive for subsidisation of the transportation and accommodation of horses, owners, trainers and jockeys.

3. This is a costly undertaking, and it will demand at the very least, some contribution from government, and possibly the City of Cape Town, along the lines of the participation in the Summer Cup of the City of Johannesburg.

These things don’t happen without effort, and here we need to thank Peter Gibson and his team at Racing South Africa, Professor Alan Guthrie of the Research Centre in Pretoria, Gold Circle, and the lynchpins, Gaynor Rupert and her team at L’Ormarins.

They have made the Queen’s Plate worthy of its appellation, and that’s demanded foresight, energy and critically, strategic savvy and leadership. Without her at the helm, nothing of this sort would’ve eventuated and an even bigger event will require just as much, and some. The news had scarcely broken, and by lunchtime on Monday, Gaynor had her cohorts around her, several of them representing international media organisations, event organisers etc. Whatever this year’s was, look out for 2012.

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L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate