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L'Ormarins Queen's Plate

Home of the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate

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Home of the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate

The running of the 154th Queen’s Plate, sponsored by L’Ormarins Wine Estate since 2005, takes place at Kenilworth Racecourse, Cape Town, on the 10th January 2015. This is the home of Drakenstein Stud where paddocks and vines stand side by side.

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L'Ormarins Queen's Plate 154

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L'Ormarins Queen's Plate 154

Saturday, 10 January 2015 sees the 154th running of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, recently voted one of the top 5 race days in the world by the British Telegraph.. South Africa’s oldest racing event was first run in honour of Queen Victoria after she gifted a silver plate and 500 sovereigns to the South African Turf Club.

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L'ORMARINS QUEEN'S PLATE 152

Variety Club
Variety Club

Variety Club (SAF)

(Photo : Gold Circle)

L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m

12 January 2013

Kenilworth plays host to South Africa’s premier mile contest on Saturday. The 152nd renewal of the R1 Million L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (Grade 1) has attracted a fabulous field of fourteen and despite a wide draw, champion Variety Club remains the horse to beat.

The tradition drenched L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate is by far and away the most prestigious weight-for-age mile contest in South Africa, and the credentials of this year’s class are impeccable. The current South African Horse Of The Year, our current SA Champion sprinter and the Vodacom Durban July title holder are just three top racehorses amongst a group of fifteen of our best milers. And the strategists behind the equine excellence make for impressive reading too.

Mike Bass, who is represented by What A Winter and Castlethorpe, remains the torchbearer for the event with Pocket Power winning it an extraordinary four times this century.

Trainer of the current favourite, Variety Club and Bravura, Joey Ramsden achieved a double in 2005/6 with the brilliant Winter Solstice.

Dean Kannemeyer who sends out Depardieu for Bernard Kantor and Markus Jooste, also knows what is required. He trained Free My Heart to two Queen’s Plate wins in the brown and white silks of  the late Graham Beck.

Then Justin Snaith is the man in possession after Gimmethegreenlight got up in a sensation finish to win the race last year. He sends out Run For It and would just love to have the double engraved on the sought after plate.

Variety Club

It is a top-class field, and  Variety Club is no racing certainty.

But he is brilliant and Anton Marcus knows him well. And his statistics are already well documented.

Joey Ramsden’sVar chestnut has drawn 15, but has the gate speed to overcome that disability. A winner of 11 of his 16 starts, he goes for his sixth victory on the trot here and is in the form of his life. He won the Green Point Stakes in emphatic style at his last start, and looks close to faultless again.

That said the wide draw cannot be ignored and we should note that his ego was damaged by a superior Piere Strydom ride last year on Gimmethegreenlight, who got his measure by under a half length.

There are a quartet of challengers that could lower Variety Club’s colours, if he takes his eye off the silver plate for just a moment.

Pomodoro

Could Strydom prove Variety Club’s nemesis again?

Heading this challenge is the 2012 Vodacom Durban July winner Pomodoro, who flies in on the Tarry ticket.

The son of Jet Master had observers gaping when returning to action in a pipe opener 1160m race four months after the July. He flashed up there from a hopeless position to catch and beat the speedy Legal Action. Pomodoro then came out a month later, and showed his versatility to go from end to end in a Pinnacle Stakes over a mile.

He makes his Cape debut having run twice previously at another left-handed track in Clairwood, and could be something of a dark horse with Piere Strydom in the saddle again and with the very fair run for home of the Kenilworth Summer course.

What A Winter

Champion sprinter What A Winter comes off a Diadem win and tries his luck again over more ground.

The winner of the 2010 Gr2 Selangor Cup run over the course and distance, is fit and in the form of his life at the moment and his astute and vastly experienced trainer would not be subjecting him to the test, if he thought he could not pass it.

The manner of What A Winter’s facilie Diadem win, where he settled and then turned on the jets in the final 300m would indicate that he should be amongst the gunfire when the fight is on. Lest we forget that, on paper, What A Winter is handicapped to win this race.

Run For It

Dynasty’s son Run For It must rank as the singularly most frustratingly talented performer in South Africa.

The 5-year-old entire has run seven Group race places in a career that reflects just three victories, the peak of which was a Listed event in the Eastern Cape.

That is hardly recommendation for us getting excited and suggesting that punters go out and bond their homes to take a bit of the value available, but he is a talented horse who just needs a change of fortune.

Run For It jumps from a good draw, and top jockey Sean Cormack rides him for the first time. We are not privy to the jockey arrangements that saw Bernard Fayd’herbe side with What A Winter, but Cormack may well be the breath of fresh air required to convert the tries into serious goals.

Jackson

The Daily News winner Jackson has drawn 13, but his racing style of relax-and-dash makes that a less onerous obstacle than would ordinarily be the case.

Jackson has run two good races since returning from a break following his poor Durban July effort. In both starts he powered on late, and in the Green Point Stakes he got to within 2,50 lengths of Variety Club. The Ramsden champion will no doubt still have Jackson’s measure over a mile, and Jackson has his eye on the Met prize as his major target. That is not to say that his connections would not welcome a beautiful silver plate for the mantelpiece.

Slumdogmillionaire

The KwaZulu-Natal flag will be carried by SA Classic winner Slumdogmillionaire and his in-and-out stablemate Bulsara, who start under the Team G banner of top trainer, Gavin Van Zyl.

Slumdogmillionaire returned after a nine month break following his big career win, when contesting the Gr3 Christmas Handicap two weeks ago. Obviously some way off his peak, he showed some good pace before being run out of it into fourth. He finished 0,65 lengths behind the winner Silver Age giving him 10kgs, and while the J&B Met is his major goal, with the mile here being on the short side, he could be running on strongly for place money.

Slumdogmillionaire has drawn 1, and will be ridden by the underrated Brandon Lerena.

Bulsara

The second string to the Van Zyl bow is the 6-year-old Bulsara, who has not won a race since lifting the Gr3 London News Stakes almost two years ago to the day.

The Van Zyls have grabbed the top two draws, and Bulsara will jump right next door his stablemate, whom he beat in the recent Christmas Handicap. That is largely academic observation one suspects as Bulsara has lost his 3,5 kg weight pull which gave him a marginal advantage, and he remains a longshot.

Master Plan

As a combination of minds and skills, one has to look far to beat trainer Greg Ennion and jockey Robbie Fradd, and they team up again with the Fred Crabbia-owned Master Plan.

The son of Jet Master has edged slowly back to form with three commendable efforts since his post-Champions Season break, and his third cheques in the Green Point Stakes and the Premier Trophy, while not good enough to win this, show his underlying capability.

Master Plan won the 2012 KZN Derby and Champions Cup, and is an interesting inclusion in the mix here in view of his forward racing style. He enjoys running handy, and could add to the heat in a tactical battle for supremacy.

It is a privilege for any owner to have a runner in a race of this standing, but the balance look to have place aspirations at best.

Bravura

Topping the optimist’s listing is Variety Cub’s stablemate, Bravura.

The son of Silvano has had three runs back since a mid-year break following an unsuccessful Highveld raid. Those efforts produced a second behind Variety Club on his return, a poor run and then a fair running on fourth to Beach Beauty in the Calulo Premier Trophy.

Bravura ran fourth in this race last year behind Gimmethegreenlight, but has not won since the 2011 Green Point Stakes. He wears blinkers again, and has definite place prospects.

Castlethorpe (Aus)

The enigmatic Castlethorpe appears is a regular participant in these fearures irrespective of the distance, and is a shadow of his highly vaunted stablemate What A Winter.

Castlethorpe chased What A Winter home when beaten 2,75 lengths in the Diadem and that shows his fitness and wellbeing, if nothing else.

We have to go back seven months to find his last inspiring effort. That was his second in a five horse field behind Variety Club, who was getting 1,5kgs from him in the Gold Challenge over 1600m at Clairwood. That run in isolation gives him a chance, but he would be a shock winner as Variety Club’s shares have soared while Castlethorpe’s have fluctuated.

Tribal Dance

Fresh off their Gr2 Peninsula Handicap win last Saturday, Vaughan Marshall and jockey MJ Byleveld team up with East Cape Derby winner, Tribal Dance.

The son of Tiger Dance ran Variety Club to a 2,25 length second in the 2012 Winter Guineas and is no slouch over the mile. His better performances are over 400m further though, and his last flat run in the Cape Summer Stayers was hardly the ideal stepping stone into this race.

Fabiani

Glen Kotzen’sFabiani is a gallant 7-year-old, who is realistically a good few lengths inferior over the mile to the majority of this field. His career peak was probably his 2009 Green Point Stakes win and a great third behind Pocket Power in the 2010 Queen’s Plate. This will be his third bash at winning this race after a 12,85 length finish behind Gimmethegreenlight last year.

Martial Eagle

Yogas Govender’sMartial Eagle may have raised eyebrows with his inclusion in a mile of this stature, but the son of Silvano showed his well-being with a  storming second behind Thunder Dance in the Jet Master Stakes last time.

The Sabine Plattner Racing representative cannot beat Variety Club though on their Green Point Stakes meeting, and may be some folks idea of a quartet kicker at best.

Summary

Variety Club is the champion miler and an obvious top choice. He should win this, but that said this will be no walk in the park and human nature induces a search for the likely gamebreaker.

Pomodoro and Run For It strike us as the two most likely to fill this role if Ramsden’s star takes a wrong turn.

Then What A Winter and Jackson are another two candidates for top honours, and the fairly unexposed Gavin Van Zyl visitor Slumdogmillionaire will be lengths better for his last start.

With a good pace likely, an intriguing race is in the offing and the best horse will win it.

We don’t call this the sport of kings for nothing!

www.sportingpost.co.za

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JACKSON AND POMODORO IN QUEEN'S PLATE QUEST

Jackson wins the Investec Cape Derby
Jackson wins the Investec Cape Derby

Jackson wins the Investec Cape Derby (Grade 1) from Variety Club

(Photo : Gold Circle)

L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m

12 January 2013

david thiselton
david thiselton

David Thiselton

Gold CircleSpeaking about jockey Karis Teetan’s tactics aboard Jackson in Saturday’s prestigous Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate over 1600m at Kenilworth, trainer Brett Crawford said it would likely depend on his initial perceptions of the pace.

The four-year-old Dynasty colt was dropped out from a wide draw in his last start in the Grade 2 Green Point Stakes over the 1600m of the tighter Kenilworth Old Course and had too much to do in the straight, so was never going to catch Variety Club, although he ran on strongly for a 2,5 length second. However, Crawford did not discount a repeat of those tactics and said, “Saturday’s race is on the new course (which has a considerably longer straight) and obviously on the Old course it was harder to make up the ground.”

Crawford also pointed out that Variety Club had drawn wide this time, as opposed to pole position in the Green Point, which brought about the possibility of a change in tactics with Teetan’s initial reading of the pace likely being the key factor in how the horse’s race would pan out. He confirmed Jackson to be in great shape having come through his final gallop very well.

Jackson is drawn at 13 in the 15 horse field, with his chief rival Variety Club drawn on the very outside.

Sean Tarry’sVodacom Durban July winner, the ever-improving Pomodoro, has drawn nicely in 7 and looks to be a major threat to Variety Club, who holds the unofficial crown of South Africa’s top miler.

Pomodoro, a four-year-old Jet Master colt, is unbeaten since a shoulder niggle was discovered before his famous Vodacom Durban July victory. The niggle might have explained why he shifted badly late when dead-heating in the SA Derby and almost certainly explained why he cantered down to the start so poorly before staying on for fifth in the Daily News 2000. However, since then Pomodoro is unbeaten, winning the July by a whisker from an impossible draw and then being most impressive in his two comeback races this season. He flew at the finish to beat some good sprinters over 1200m on November 13 and then toyed with some useful sorts over a mile in his last start.

Those wins have left people questioning whether he might just be something special and Saturday’s race will likely answer the question. However, Tarry erred on the side of caution, “He is better as a four-year-old and did nothing wrong as a three-year-old. The distance of the Queen’s Plate won’t be a problem as he won that 1200m race and won the Tony Ruffel over 1450m of the Turffontein inside track as a three-year-old. But I think Variety Club might just be a better miler.” Ace jockey Piere Strydom rides Pomodoro.

The Joey Ramsden-trained Variety Club, however, has to overcome a draw of 15 in the 15 horse field but does has champion jockey Anton Marcus aboard. Tarry said, “I can’t see much pace in the race, so Variety Club will probably overcome the draw with ease, unless Jackson keeps him out. Jackson is a top horse in his own right.” Jackson is drawn two berths inside of Variety Club in 13. Tarry continued, “We have no complaints about our draw.” He mused, “The pace might be forced by the jockeys wanting to keep Variety Club and Jackson out. However, in Variety Club’s favour is his phenomenal gate speed, which should allow him to get to the front virtually for free. Also, due to the use of false rails in South Africa, jockeys out here are not as tactically aware as their overseas counterparts. They don’t have to worry about getting a run in the straight and can afford to sit on the rail in behind horses. This is a contributing factor to the generally slower pace of races out here, especially at Kenilworth where jockeys are reluctant to lead due to the prevailing South Easterly headwind.”

lqp.co.za

Extract from Gold Circle

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L'ORMARINS QUEEN'S PLATE 2013 : FINAL FIELD

L'Ormarins Queens Plate 2013
L'Ormarins Queens Plate 2013

L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (WFA) (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m

12 January 2013

FINAL FIELD

#

Horse

Kg

MR

Dr

Jockey

Trainer

1

WHAT A WINTER

60.0

120

10

B Fayd’Herbe

Mike Bass

2

VARIETY CLUB

60.0

118

15

A Marcus

Joey Ramsden

3

JACKSON

60.0

116

13

K Teetan

Brett Crawford

4

BRAVURA

60.0

113

6

G Hatt

Joey Ramsden

5

POMODORO

60.0

112

7

P Strydom

Sean Tarry

6

MASTER PLAN

60.0

111

5

R Fradd

Greg Ennion

7

CASTLETHORPE (AUS)

60.0

110

12

A Delpech

Mike Bass

8

RUN FOR IT

60.0

109

4

S Cormack

Justin Snaith

9

SLUMDOGMILLIONAIRE

60.0

109

1

B Lerena

Gavin van Zyl

11

DEPARDIEU

60.0

107

8

K Neisius

Dean Kannemeyer

12

TRIBAL DANCE

60.0

107

11

M Byleveld

Vaughan Marshall

13

FABIANI

60.0

106

3

G van Niekerk

Glen Kotzen

14

MARTIAL EAGLE

60.0

106

9

A Domeyer

Yogas Govender

15

BULSARA

60.0

102

2

M Odendaal

Gavin van Zyl

Late Scratching

10

CHANGINGOFTHEGUARD

60.0

107

14

F Coetzee

Justin Snaith

lqp.co.za

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WHAT A WINTER L'ORMARINS QUEEN'S PLATE BOUND

What A Winter (SAF) - Diadem Stakes (WFA) (Grade 2)

(Photos : Gold Circle)

L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m

12 January 2012

michael clower
michael clower

Michael ClowerMike Bass is determined to take on Horse of the Year Variety Club in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate on Saturday week after What A Winter blitzed the opposition in the Diadem Stakes for the second successive year at Kenilworth on Saturday.

“Now he is back to his brilliant best” said Bass, referring to his last few starts where he had been affected by an infection which he took a long time to recover from. “He is also still a colt so he is challenging, and at times a frustrating horse to train especially him as I know how good he is and what he is capable of achieving. I have trained a few good sprinters in my time; Sweet Chestnut and TobeorNottobe come to mind, and while both were champions I think he is the best I have trained, he is special and when he is on song I don’t suspect there would be too many sprinters in the world that would keep up with him. I have eyed out the Queen’s Plate for some time now and always thought to myself if I could get him to his very best, his talent would see him through as a miler at the highest level. He settles well in his running and he is bred to go a mile so we will drop him in and be running at them at the finish. It’s certainly worth a crack.”

Bass was thinking of having a crack at last year’s Queen’s Plate too but the horse was drawn wide and he decided not to risk leaving the Betting World Flying Championship behind. There is again a fortnight between the two Grade 1’s. Bass said: “I don’t care if there was only five days. He smashed his field on Saturday, making good horses look ordinary, and he will again smash the opposition in the Cape Flying. There is no reason why he shouldn’t get the mile of the Queen’s Plate. I just need things to go his way. When he ran in the Cape Guineas he was drawn wide and raced wide, and it turned into a disaster. He tried again in the Gold Challenge at Clairwood in June but nothing happened for him.”

But it certainly did happen for him on Saturday when the 9-20 shot swept past the pace-setting Cap Alright nearing the 200m mark and came home nearly three lengths clear without being shown the whip in a time only a fifth of a second outside the course record. Stable companion Castlethorpe (Aus) came from the clouds to take second and is also Queen’s Plate-bound.

Bernard Fayd’Herbe said: “What A Winter is back to his best. I bounced him out and I was quite prepared to go on if I had to. This just shows what he can do when he is at his peak.”

This win took What A Winter’s career record to 11 wins and 5 places from 20 starts with earnings exeeding the R2million mark.

Owners Marsh Shirtliff, Bryn Ressell, Guy Shirtliff and Mike Bass will be sending What A Winter to stud at the end of the season and this impressive performance will certainly have added to his breeder appeal.

For more information, please visit :

lqp.co.za

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TALES OF BRAVERY WELL PREPPED FOR L'ORMARINS QUEEN'S PLATE

Tales Of Bravery - Jet Master Stakes
Tales Of Bravery - Jet Master Stakes

Tales Of Bravery - Jet Master Stakes

(Photo : Gold Circle)

L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m

7 January 2012

David Thiselton - Gold Circle
David Thiselton - Gold Circle

David Thiselton

Gold CircleTrainer Vaughan Marshall runs his five-year-old Kahal gelding Tales Of Bravery in the weight for age Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate over 1600m at Kenilworth on Saturday and will be hoping to go one better than last year when finishing a 2,25 length second to Mike de Kock-trained Mother Russia.

Marshall said, “He is very well and has done everything we wanted him to do.”

Tales Of Bravery has had a fine season to date having won a Pinnacle Stakes event over 1500m at Kenilworth on his reappearance, then finishing a 0,5 length second to Bravura in the weight for age Grade 2 Green Point Stakes over 1600m on the Kenilworth Old Course and then winning the Jet Master Stakes over Saturday’s course and distance on December 17.

He has had one extra prep run than last year, but Marshall doesn’t believe this will make any difference to his chances. He reckons the better draw of seven compared to eight last year will help. Marshall makes Bravura and Variety Club, both from the Joey Ramsden yard, the horses to beat.

Extract from Gold Circle

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L'ORMARINS QUEEN'S PLATE : ALL SET FOR A HUMDINGER

ebony flyer
ebony flyer

Ebony Flyer

(Photo : Action Racing Online)

L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m

7 January 2012

Karel Miedema - Sporting Post
Karel Miedema - Sporting Post

Karel Miedema

Sporting PostSouth Africa’s most ‘elegantly sophisticated royal and regal triple feature raceday’ takes place at Kenilworth Racecourse this Saturday 7 January. The afternoon’s bumper bill is headed by the R1 million Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (Grade 1) to be run at weight-for-age over a mile, with the R1 million TBA Paddock Stakes (Grade 1) weight-for-age over 1800m and the R125,000 Politician Stakes (Listed) also over 1800m making up the features.

The traditional theme of the L’Ormarins sky blue and snow white will dominate the Kenilworth landscape on a day that has grown in stature and offers a premier celebratory cocktail of world-class horseracing, fine food and wine and the opportunity, if it so tickles the fancy, to rub shoulders with an international cast that includes African society’s social movers and shakers.

And what a field go to post! Two champion roses in Justin Snaith’s Ebony Flyer and Mike de Kock’s Gibraltar Blue take their place amongst the nine thorns that comprises the star-studded eleven strong line-up for the 151st renewal of South Africa’s premier mile contest.

The young dynamo and rising star of the South African horseracing training ranks, Justin Snaith, sends Team Valor International’sEbony Flyer to post here after a dazzling third as an immature three-year-old in last year’s race. She is peaking at the right time and looks a huge runner with internationally experienced jockey Felix Coetzee in the saddle. For the lucky number studiers, she runs from a 9 draw with a 9 saddle-cloth.

Justin Snaith also sends the imported Australian-bred Gimmethegreenlight to post for J&B Met winning owner Hassen Adams. Top South African jockey Piere Strydom returns from a broken jaw recuperation to partner the top three-year-old.

Mike de Kock’s daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar, Gibraltar Blue, is very fast and the Joburg Spring Challenge winner will be flying from her 3 stall-gate to ensure a red-hot gallop. She has a proven turn of foot and could be the dark horse of the race. Link Man is a talented son of Toreador and jumps from a 2 stall-gate under Weichong Marwing. As the only grey in the race, he will be the most photographed horse in the feature.

Joey Ramsden is enjoying the season of his life and he sends Guineas winner Variety Club out from the widest gate, with the services of South African Champion jockey Anton Marcus. Joey Ramsden’s onslaught is backed by Derby winner Bravura and Gr2 Peninsula Handicap winner Lion In Winter. Let’s not forget Vaughan Marshall’s recent Jet Master Stakes winner, the ever-consistant Tales Of Bravery.

FINAL FIELD

#

Horse

Kg

MR

Dr

Jockey

Trainer

1

BRAVURA

60.0

113

11

G Hatt

Joey Ramsden

2

TALES OF BRAVERY

60.0

112

7

M Byleveld

Vaughan Marshall

3

LINK MAN

60.0

111

2

W Marwing

Mike de Kock

4

CHESALON

60.0

110

1

K Neisius

Mike Bass

5

LION IN WINTER

60.0

110

4

B Fayd’Herbe

Joey Ramsden

6

KISS AGAIN

60.0

108

5

A Domeyer

Mike Bass

7

FABIANI

60.0

107

8

S Cormack

Glen Kotzen

8

GIBRALTAR BLUE (IRE)

57.5

109

3

A Delpech

Mike de Kock

9

EBONY FLYER

57.5

107

9

F Coetzee

Justin Snaith

10

VARIETY CLUB

55.0

108

10

A Marcus

Joey Ramsden

11

GIMMETHEGREENLIGHT (AUS)

55.0

98

6

P Strydom

Justin Snaith

www.lqp.co.za

Extract from www.sportingpost.co.za

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BARRY IRWIN : "THE BALL IS IN THE COURT OF IGUGU"

Ebony Flyer wins Cape Fillies Guineas
Ebony Flyer wins Cape Fillies Guineas

Ebony Flyer - Cape Fillies Guineas (Grade 1)

(Photo : Gold Circle)

THE EBONY FLYER / IGUGU REMATCH?

David Thiselton
David Thiselton

David Thiselton

Gold CircleBarry Irwin has responded to Anthony Delpech’s challenge in which he dared the Ebony Flyer camp to travel to Johannesburg to take on Igugu.

Irwin is the American owner of Team Valor, an international racehorse syndication operation that owns Ebony Flyer in partnership with Gaynor Rupert of Drakenstein Stud and Anant and Vanashree Singh. Igugu was defeated by 1,25 lengths by Ebony Flyer in the Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas in December. However, Delpech said after Igugu’s impressive four length win in the Grade 2 Gauteng Guineas at Turffontein on Saturday, “She felt like a different horse to her run in Cape Town. She had so much early speed I was able to place her easily. In Cape Town it was a left hand turn and she just seemed lost, so I was caught three wide. We’ve been down to Cape Town to take on Ebony Flyer. It would be nice if she could return the favour and take us on here so we can settle the score.”

Barry Irwin replied in length, saying: “Igugu obviously is a very, very good filly. Top drawer. When connections like Mike de Kock and Anthony Delpech, who are not used to getting beat with a horse of Igugu’s calibre, have a horse like her, they find it very difficult to accept defeat. They are competitors, so this is natural. But just as the lightly-raced Igugu did not enjoy perhaps the best of experiences or trips in the Cape Fillies Guineas, neither did the less lightly raced Ebony Flyer, on whom Bernard Fayd’herbe was still learning how best to ride her. Ebony Flyer is a truly brilliant filly over 1400m to 1600m. These are the distances over which she is bred to be at her best. My job as her racing manager is to maximize her strengths and place her when and where she can prove her true worth. We have not been ducking competition. We ran Ebony Flyer in the Queen’s Plate against the top older runners in South Africa. That race was over 1600m, a distance at which we think is good for her. Seasoned veterans in racing thought we were whacko when we decided to skip the Paddock Stakes, a Grade 1 in which our filly would have been a short-priced favourite, to run in the Queen’s Plate. But we have always been enterprising when presented the opportunity with a true Champion. I understand that the De Kock/Delpech team would like to see Ebony Flyer come to Gauteng to race against Igugu over more ground than a mile. But I don’t think that a distance farther than a mile would be in our filly’s best interests. Most importantly, however, is our goal for Ebony Flyer. Originally, we had planned to export Ebony Flyer following her victory in the Guineas. Then we altered the schedule to try the Queen’s Plate. We made another change when she ran such a good race in the Queen’s Plate and the sponsors announced their plans to make the race a truly international event next year. Naturally, being as interested in international competition as Team Valor International is and given that Queen’s Plate sponsor Gaynor Rupert owns a third of Ebony Flyer, I decided it made sense to keep the filly in South Africa and point for that race next January. Even though January seems a long way off, the preparations for that race must be considered a long ways in advance. Justin Snaith, who by the way thinks Ebony Flyer can run 2000m, wanted to give her a full season in Durban. However, my take on Ebony Flyer is that she runs best when fresh. So we will have a light campaign in the fall, concentrating on the Garden Province, freshen her again and get her ready for the Queen’s Plate. And by not bringing Ebony Flyer to Gauteng, we are not ducking a rubber match with Igugu. Very clever of Anthony to bring up that Igugu had been trucked all the way from Joburg to Cape Town and that it would be nice if the Ebony Flyer camp returned the favour. He knows that our ownership is nothing if not sporting and game, so he is appealing to that aspect of our nature. However, I know my job, I know my filly and I have my goal. The ball, as they say, is in the court of Igugu, not Ebony Flyer, to seek a rematch, because we won and she lost. So if they want us, they can find us in Durban in July in the Garden Province. But since Igugu is bred to run longer than 1800m and will point for the remaining legs of the Triple Tiara, the chances of these two fillies ever meeting again is remote at best. De Kock and Delpech know this and this is why Delpech made the comments he did. Championships should won on course, not in the press or on websites. Our camp was thrilled to see the manner in which Igugu dispatched her field, because it served to underline the immense quality of our filly. Without Sham, we would never have known how good Secretariat was. Igugu flattered us. We wish the connections of Igugu all the best for continued triumphs. They have a great filly.”

Extract from Gold Circle

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THIS IS CNN : TIDINGS FROM AMERICA

Becky Thomas of Sequel Bloodstock with Thabiso Mgoza and Ricardo Christian
Becky Thomas of Sequel Bloodstock with Thabiso Mgoza and Ricardo Christian

Becky Thomas with Thabiso Mgoza and Ricardo Christian in Ocala, Florida, USA

(Photo : Sequel Bloodstock)

“Breeze Up Sales

are frighteningly competitive affairs…”

On a weekend when one of America’s most successful racehorse investors was with us, we have news from our own young men in that part of the world. Ebony Flyer is the three year old on everybody’s lips right now, and Team Valor’s Barry Irwin and his wife Kathleen breezed this way for the weekend. One lunchtime with Mr Irwin is like a semester at Harvard when it comes to the racing business, so needless to say, we had an intriguing couple of days. The news on Ebony Flyer, incidentally, is that she’s no longer travelling : she’s staying to contest next year’s international version of the Queen’s Plate, given the ambitions L’Ormarins and their fellow stakeholders have for the prize money next year.

Closer to home, most readers are familiar with our international scholarship programme, and the fact that we have our 39th and 40th recipients in the form of Ricardo Christian and Thabiso Mgoza on tour as we write. More specifically, they are based at Becky Thomas’ Sequel Bloodstock farm in Ocala, Florida, dubbed by Floridians as the “horse training capital of the world”. We’ve been lucky in our association with Becky, as she knows and understands what these programmes mean to our young people, and especially to a man like Thabiso, the extent of whose travel experience was confined pretty much to Mooi River and the Durban precincts till now.

Because we’ve been associated with Ready To Run sales for more than two decades, there’s a perception that everything connected with this form of marketing of racehorses, starts and ends at Summerhill. While that may bear some truth in terms of the evolution of the concept of Ready To Runs and the technical advancement of sales of this sort, the reality is that it has its roots right there in Ocala, where the O’Farrell family initiated the idea as long ago as 1957, out of a frustration with the fact that they were unable to compete at the major sales in Kentucky against the established farms there. It was at a dinner with the present generation of O’Farrells in 1987 that Mick Goss and the late Chris Smith stumbled on the idea as a solution to a similar difficulty in this country. Wrapping our product up as a running horse (as opposed to the “walking” parade at conventional sales) founded the fastest growing and most popular sale in South Africa, one which has already witnessed six more Graded Stakes winners this season alone, Igugu, Hollywoodboulevard, Blue Voyager, Mannequin, Pierre Jourdan and Arabian Mist.

In the States, the “Breeze Up” sales, as they’re known in that part of the world, are frighteningly competitive affairs, and only supreme horsemen and women survive, and thrive, in such an environment. You see, in the United States, the breezes are timed, and, in order to realize their value, horses are expected to gallop at a spectacular clip. In Ricardo’s words, as a rider of these horses, you’d better know your stuff, right down to the seamless changing of legs, maintaining your horse’s balance, and always remembering that this is a raw, relatively uneducated talent, imbued with the exuberance of youth, as well as an often explosive capacity for self-destruction.

Our “boys” are keenly aware of their responsibilities to Sequel and they know that in a world which doesn’t always appreciate these things, having a mentor who genuinely cares, is a world away from the “take-it-or-leave-it” approach many work experiences entail. These are gifted young people, born to ride horses but limited in their exposure to “life”, as most of us know it. There is no measure by which we can judge the value of these scholarships, nor the impact it has on the aspirations of those who’ve never been before.

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

For more information please visit :

www.summerhill.co.za

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Boys And Girls In Blue

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Boys And Girls In Blue

The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate is the fashion statement of the racing year. It also attracts some of racing’s most illustrious personalities, all decked out in a touch of the sponsor’s colours. From the camera of celebrated Irish breeder, Diane Nagle, we have this pic of a gathering quite late at night.

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BIRTH OF A NEW DIMENSION IN SOUTH AFRICAN HORSERACING

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

L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate

(Photo : LQP)

151stL’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE…

A TRULY INTERNATIONAL EVENT

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.

For more information

please visit :

L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate

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Mother Russia : Queen of L'Ormarins

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Mother Russia : Queen of L'Ormarins

Mother Russia snapped three time Equus Horse of the Year Pocket Power’s hopes of a five-race winning streak in the R1million L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate run over 1600 m at Kenilworth Saturday.

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QUEEN'S PLATE COUNTDOWN

l'ormarins queen's plate 2011 promotion video
l'ormarins queen's plate 2011 promotion video

Click above to watch…

(Image and Footage : L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate)

L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m

8 January 2011

If you’ve been reading the latest press in the lead up to Africa’s weight-for-age championship event, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a two way contest. The young pretender, Team Valor’s Ebony Flyer, and the defending champion Pocket Power, competing for his fifth consecutive victory. But this is no one-trick pony race, as there are at least two other more than legitimate claimants, one is the sidelined three-year-old colt of last season, Past Master (by Who-Do-You-Suppose other than Jet Master?) and the other, three-year-old champion filly of the previous year, Mother Russia. If you toss in a bit of Summerhill sentiment, you’d have to hope that Roy Eckstein’sson of Kahal, Tales Of Bravery, could do just that, a brave bid for the place money, and you have the ingredients for a real horserace.

But this is not just a matter of a quality line up of the best milers on the continent, it’s also racing’s most emphatic fashion statement, which had even this old Zulu farmer traipsing the shopping malls and men’s outfitters for a collection of blue and white. While we’re not yet sure what the end result will look like, we’ll be sure to post a picture on Monday… you might have to go to Facebook to find it.

For more information

please visit :

www.lqp.co.za

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