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At Last – A Lawyer Everybody Loves!

Glorious third straight L'Ormarins Queen's Plate win

Who needs the flash when you’ve got the dash – and the cash?

The outstanding Sean Tarry-trained champion Legal Eagle brought the house down at a sunny Kenilworth on Saturday when clinching an emotionally charged historic third consecutive victory – and his most dramatic yet –  in the R1,5 million Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.

Anton Marcus keeps Legal Eagle going to ward off Copper Force (rail) and Captain America  ahead of Sail South and Marinaresco (Pic – Candiese Marnewick)

Oblivious to the politics and turmoil surrounding his former owners, the dual SA Horse Of The Year showed again what a true champion miler he is, when digging deep into his reserves, to achieve what must be the greatest win of his career.

The trainer: Sean Tarry

Now unbeaten in 8 starts at a mile, Legal Eagle showed steely character in the hands of the cucumber cool Anton Marcus to take his earnings to close on R11 million – and vindicate the confidence of the big spending Braam van Huyssteen, who bought into him with partners William Henderson and Hedley McGrath just weeks earlier.

There were some that suggested that buying into a well-established champion was something of a hollow road to glory. But the larger-than-life takkie tycoon from George reached a goal achieved by only a handful of owners – and celebrated his first Gr1 victory, and an unlikely plan come together, amidst a festive blue and white sea of beautiful people on South Africa’s most elegant raceday.

The jock:: Anton Marcus – great ride

Fresh off his Green Point Stakes win five weeks earlier, Legal Eagle looked a million dollars and has filled out even further into his 6yo season. Trainer Sean Tarry confirmed afterwards that his prep had gone scarily well.

Jumping smartly, Legal Eagle was allowed to settle in third as the giant-striding Captain America led the way from It Is Written.

Into the home run, Captain America appeared to quietly snatch a length as Marcus tracked him five lengths in arrears, with Legal Eagle continuing to gallop powerfully.

The warning light came on at the 250m marker but Legal Eagle answered the call and he rallied as Marcus showed him the whip and he hauled Captain America in – but with challenges flying through from all sides.

At the line he had 0,40 lengths to spare over a flying Copper Force, with the gallant Captain America plugging on for third, ahead of a flying Sail South. Marinaresco ran a cracking Met prep finishing fifth.

Jockey Anton Marcus, winning his seventh L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate after his first 25 years ago, was emotional in the post-race interview.

“Thanks to  Gaynor Rupert and her team on a wonderful festival. I anticipated that Captain America would stretch us – I also expected that the Snaith team would want a good pace. It’s a fine line with Captain America  – you can’t move too late or too early! But I was sitting on a very special horse. A a great job done by Sean Tarry and his team,” said the top jockey.

An emotional trainer Sean Tarry said that it was probably the least pressured Queen’s Plate yet – ‘as everything went so smoothly’.

Braam Van Huysteen

The owner: Braam Van Huyssteen – plan come together

A dapper looking part-owner Braam van Huyssteen thanked family members Bianca and Lara and also said a thank-you to  Mayfair Speculators, Derek Brugman and Markus Jooste.

“ I believe Sean Tarry  is the best trainer in the country. Anton Marcus never panicked – a master jockey, he timed it well. And to L’Ormarins, thanks so much for a great weekend of racing,” he said.

Breeder Pippa Mickleburgh said that the win was another great moment for the Avontuur team and the owners and trainer of a magnificent ‘’horse-in-a-million’.

The breeder: Pippa Mickleburgh – thrilled

“We screamed till the house shook. It’s hard to breed a horse like this, I’m getting old now and I will be lucky to breed another like him,” she said with a  broad smile.

Legal Eagle, who has won 12 races with 7 places from 21 starts for stakes of an extraordinary bank of R10 648 875, was bought by Sean Tarry on behalf of former leading owner Markus Jooste for R425 000 at the 2013 BSA National Yearling Sale.

Bred by Avontuur, he is a son of Vodacom Durban July winner Greys Inn (Zabeel) and is out of the six-time winning Young Sensation (National Emblem)- who was also trained by Sean Tarry..

So history made as only the second horse to win the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate  three years running – Pocket Power being the king of the Queens with four straight wins.

Now the Sun Met for Legal Eagle?

This was a tough race and that’s 400m further. Time for reflection!


Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (SAf-Gr1)

Kenilworth, South Africa, January 6, R1.5 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.38.14

1 – LEGAL EAGLE (SAF), 60.0, b g 6, Greys Inn (USA) – Young Sensation (SAF) by National Emblem (SAF). Owner Messrs William Henderson, F H McGrath & A J van Huyssteen; Breeder Avontuur Farm; trainer SG Tarry; jockey A Marcus
2 – Copper Force (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Royal Air Force (SAF) – Eastern Copper (SAF) by Al Mufti (USA)
3 – Captain America (SAF), 60.0, b g 7, Captain Al (SAF) – Requista (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA)
Margins: 0.40, 0.10, 0.20

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25 comments on “At Last – A Lawyer Everybody Loves!

  1. Bugs Bunny says:

    What more can one say about Marcus? If he had moved a second later, Capt America wins; if he moved a second EARLIER, the chasing pack eats him up. He deserves all the plaudits he gets.”

    1. B d steele says:

      So following your reasoning if he had got beat (which nearly happened) would the price have been to steep or just right considering he is getting on a bit now?

      1. Bugs Bunny says:

        Am guessing you replied to the wrong comment?

        For whatever it is worth, I think the quoted price of 3.2m + VAT was fair at the time when no one knew Edict of Nantes was not going to run the LQP or the Met. With Edict of Nantes gone, this value has gone up. If he wins the Met (and I believe he will), then he will have been a steal. But that’s the nature of the game; sometimes it works out, other times it does not. If he had lost the LQP, everyone would have been saying the new owners wasted their money trying to “buy” a Gr 1.

  2. B d steele says:

    Would be nice to believe your headline,but it appears that there were a lot of folk hanging on his tail hoping for him to get beat.Instead of enjoying a magnificent performance they are more interested in ,if the new owners really paid the money ,who got the money and who gave permission to sell in the first place .Sad sad people these are ,maybe it’s about the billions they lost,.no joy in their lives.

  3. Albert X says:

    Shortly after the purchase, one of the new owners of Legal Eagle was quoted by the Business Day as saying that he is the best horse in South Africa. He was not wrong. It was a great win although I gave the racing a miss because I feel the horse remains to close to Jooste who has caused so much harm to so many families.

    Now that Leagle Eagle has won the LQP his sale price for the best horse in SA seems inordinately low and out of kilter with a fair price.To think that Edict of Nantes was sold for 3x the price of the best horse in South Africa, i have to seriously question the sales price.

    Can someone assist with this; If Mayfair Speculators is not paying its creditors and may be liquidated what is the likelihood of it paying the 14% VAT received on the purchase price over to SARS? What happens if the VAT is not paid over to SARS by Mayfair Speculators? Does it affect the sale?

    1. Bugs Bunny says:

      the comparison with Edict of Nantes is, with respect, a bit of nonsense. Or, literally speaking, balls! Edict of Nantes is a dual Gr 1 winner and, more importantly a COLT – he has done more than enough to go to stud. Whereas Legal Eagle is a gelding. When EoN is syndicated for stud, he will be earn his new owners a fortune. At stud, if he is successful, he will then earn the syndicate another fortune. Plus he has just turned 4 and, on paper, has 2 years more than Legal Eagle on the track.

  4. jonathan krishna says:

    This horse has to race oversaes.A champion miler in Dubai. That would make a lovely headline.

  5. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Albert X I’m curious as to why you have the needle to Mayfair et al….. anyway this is how I understand it…. you buy a wimpy burger and pay with your capitec credit card…. in 45 days you have not paid your bill… capitec follow all the rules and successfully sue you… does wimpy reverse the sale demand that you return the Burger…

    1. Brian says:

      Rod, how does your analogy of buying an already paid for burger fit into this story? I say is this. Everything said about Jooste, as yet, is pure rumour and speculation. There are no doubt people in the know and they, for good reason I presume and believe are remaining silent until whatever investigations may or may not be active at this point are complete and then facts become known. Thing is though Rod, I believe he bought the burger and never took out his Capitec card at all. He bought businesses on borrowed money and that’s a really risky game which has clearly gone bad. Jooste is on record defending his policy on credit. Now they are selling the Royal Dalton to pay the creditors.
      At the beginning of the Steinhoff story you should have heard the guys punting his “good thing”, the old Summit TV channel was one and many have made good money over the years and have been happy to do business with him and even hold on to his shirt tails and tag along for the ride. Even the pension funds. Anyone who plays the stock market knows, it can turn on a dime so take the rough with the smooth, just like horse racing.

      I don’t believe Jooste needs defending, neither do I believe he needs to be hung dried and quartered. Not yet and even then he must face what is proven against him

      1. Roderick Mattheyse says:

        Brian, we are basically on the same page – and i did not praise Steinhoff then, and I don’t ridicule it now. And my opinion on individuals will be held in abbeyance until more is known.

        The burger analogy comes into play in relation to the question of what happens if Mayfair does not pay SARS the VAT – it stems from the hidden agenda story that Legal Eagle was not actually sold for cash and therefore how will Mayfair pay SARS.

        I think its sad that people disguise their “putting the knife in” with sad tales of the woes of hundreds of thousands, especially when they are enjoying the shyte the man finds himself in. I hope they leave some of the blade for the accomplices, as i cannot accept that one man on his own caused this value creation and ultimate destruction.

        Funny how all those preachers in capital and equity markets have now turned to jurors. Will they give back their bonus based on the contribution Steinhoff made to their performance?

    2. Preston says:

      Rod, are you willing to stand guarantor for MayFair Speculators et al???


      1. Rod Mattheyse says:

        No but why would you ask?

  6. Albert X says:

    Mr Matthyse,
    Thank you for your answer.
    If I had not eaten the burger it could be returned.
    I am one of hundreds of thousands of people that have the needle to Mayfair, Jooste and their cronies.They have ruined lives. Whatever they have touched has been ruined and set back years. The worst thing that ever happened to horse racing on this continent is Jooste and Mayfair.
    I know it will be difficult for you to understand because one of your partners is a remnant of the Jooste and Mayfair era. Horse raciing will be better off without him.

    1. Roderick Mattheyse says:

      Albert X, How exactly has Mayfair ruined hundreds of thousands of lives – please draw pictures for me as I am not smart like you and clearly dont understand. maybe they have ruined my life too, but I dont get it yet, maybe i also have a gripe, but as I am not smart i have not worked it out yet – and maybe i have good reason to be the moer in too.

      1. Jurgs says:

        Roderick asks how Mayfair has ruined hundreds of thousands of lives. Well the answer is they haven’t. What has happened however is that Jooste has severely affected the financial health of hundreds of thousands. Every individual and fund that invested in Steinhoff based on manipulated financials counts here.

        1. Roderick Mattheyse says:

          Jurgs, if someone is so severely overweight do the asset managers have to be held accountable as well – remember they earn on how far they beat the benchmarks. Perhaps no one wqas severely overweight, perhaps they were – i dont know – i was a little overweight , unlike my bathroom scale where is am severely overweight

  7. Albert X says:

    Oh dear Mr Matthyse … you do not live in a glass menagerie….for starters… no Xmas bonuses to Steinhoff employees, job cuts happening, significant loss in value of shares, state employee pensions affected, getting a letter from your fsp saying that your unit trust portfolio has taken a significant dive because of Steinhoff irregularities……. plenty more. You sir, must be part of the few who sit in their apartments unaffected and think that because you have not suffered then no-one has suffered. I hope that your response to this will be fair with no attack on me or anyone except for jooste and Mayfair. Remember that we are recording history on this website and in a few years time some bright spark may find our tet-a-tet and show one or both of us up to be very very very wrong and ignorant.

    1. Roderick Mattheyse says:


      Lets accept the link between Mayfair, Jooste and Steinhoff – and i cant really make a call until charges, if any are brought – but will concede that on what we have seen it looks dire, but I am hardly confident that we have even seen a small percentage of the information

      Please help me understand how not receiving a bonus ruins someone – maybe I don’t understand what a bonus is?
      Please direct me to the announcement of Job losses – I have not seen any announcement of significant job losses at any level never mind at the lower levels.
      If your unit trust has significantly reduced, please check whether your asset manager has acted within his/her mandate – because they should not have been significantly overweight
      Government pension’s are defined benefit – so im not sure how that will impact them – might impact me with a tax hike – but we are hardly going to see the Minister increase tax rates to cover this – it may be done clandestinely

      What is your opinion on Deloittes? They signed off 2015, 2016 and only baulked at 2017. Should him/her not get the same pillorying?

  8. Albert X says:

    Mr Matthyse,

    We need to stop the games. Thank heavens no-one has died. The harm is only measurable in money terms at this stage. It will snowball into emotional and mental harm as money becomes tight.


    1. B d steele says:

      Albert X Rod has 10 or 12 in training in his own name or with various partners .to suggest he has lost his sense of understanding because of one in partnership with a second cousin twice removed from M J is pushing it a bit.Should his friends abandon ship now?

  9. EJC Blackwood says:

    Editor., How many of these comments actually had anything to do with the running and result of the Queen’s Plate..


    Mr. Blackwood, about Copper Force’s finishing burst …..do you prefer tomato sauce, mayonnaise or chutney ?

    Happy New year


  11. Kay says:

    Why is Legal Eagle now 4/1. Usually when a top horse wins the Queens Plate he shortens in MET as it’s the same conditions. The connections must be transparent about their plans if this horse is going to run in the Met. Bookmakers know something or are taking the ultimate risk by pricing LE at 4’s. Can the Editor please share some light on this if possible.

  12. Sean says:

    Great horse. However ratings can be very misleading. Like in this case, the Eagle is not the same over the Met distance. Will run into the 1st four on pure ability but if there is a top horse in the field, he’ll get beat.

  13. How are the mighty fallen ………….and how easy to liken this to the Zimbabwean situation, where a still tongue, open eyes and ears and paying full attention during these times is essential. Many folk have been obliged to sell the family home when fortune has failed, in this case it was a horse with a household name. Let us rejoice he was bought by good people, who in their opening statements have already made it clear it was a goodwill gesture and that the ” farm is waiting for Legal Eagle”. Well said and enough said!! Thank you Mr. Van Huysteen.

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