The R1,5 million Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate lived up to it’s heady billing, producing a thrilling finish.
The Snaith 4yo Do It Again outpointed the gallant Cape Guineas star Soqrat to join Mike Bass gallopers Trademark and Pocket Power as one of only three horses to achieve the July – Queen’s Plate double this century.
A great leveller, horseracing has a sobering habit of bursting our starry eyed dream bubbles on any given day of the week.
But on a sunswept Saturday at a glorious blue and white coated Kenilworth, the dream came true for an enthusiastic on-course crowd and a bumper television audience.
Following on the heels of the sensational Green Point Stakes blanket finish of last month, there was unprecedented speculation and hype in the build-up to the 158th renewal of South Africa’s premier mile. And what a race we witnessed.
After Hat Puntano lost many lengths at the gate, Greg Cheyne sent the widely predicted pacesetter Amazing Strike out to ensure an honest gallop, ahead of Undercover Agent, Soqrat and Snowdance, with Legal Eagle and Infamous Fox stalking the second group.
At the 400m, Do It Again still only had two behind him as Amazing Strike had cried enough and the cavalry charge fanned out in the gallop for glory.
Randall Simons slipped Soqrat, positioned at one off the rail, into a narrow lead as Richard Fourie set Do It Again alight, with Legal Eagle grinding away down the middle.
The race developed into a match between Do It Again and Soqrat, and after being straightened out confidently by Fourie, it was the 4yo who asserted his authority to win with something in hand by 0,30 lengths in a time of 97,29 secs. The Green Point Stakes on 8 December last year was run in 98,92 secs!
Soqrat, bidding to become only the second 3yo to win the race in 45 years, put in a gallant effort and Mike de Kock has an exciting prospect on his hands as the son of Epaulette ran the race of his life.
Rainbow Bridge got the pace today but was running on when it was all over and was beaten 2,75 lengths further back in third.
The reigning champion Legal Eagle was in touch all the way but had nothing to offer when called upon and shaded Undercover Agent out of fourth. He should not be written off and could well bounce back in the Highveld season.
Snowdance is another who had every opportunity but was well beaten into sixth, with the slow starting Hat Puntano, Infamous Fox and Amazing Strike in another race.
After 12 years riding in the Cape, the top-class Richard Fourie celebrated his first success in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, and marked a great day with a Gr1 double included in his three winners.
“I can’t see them beating this horse in the Met,” he added.
After a dismal Friday, a hoarse Justin Snaith was beaming from ear to ear after finding his best form, including a Gr1 double.
“He looks like a superstar – he was spot on today – he had come on nicely from the Green Point. But that’s easy to say. They still have to win. To all my owners and my team – thanks and congratulations,” he said.
A winner of 5 races with 4 places from 10 starts for stakes of R4 285 000, Do It Again was purchased by leading stallion manager John Freeman for R1,1 million at the 2016 National Yearling Sale
Bred by Northfields, Do It Again is a first crop son of Twice Over (Observatory), the first sire in the modern era to get a 3yo winner of the Durban July.
He is out of the six-time winning Sweet Virginia (Casey Tibbs).
Any prospects of a price for the Sun Met on Do It Again looks to have evaporated!
Gr1 L’Ormarins Queens Plate (SAf-Gr1)
Kenilworth, South Africa, January 5, R1.5 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.37.29
1 – DO IT AGAIN (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Twice Over (GB) – Sweet Virginia (SAF) by Casey Tibbs (IRE). Owner Messrs N Jonsson, B Kantor & W J C Mitchell; Breeder Northfields Stud; trainer J Snaith; jockey R Fourie
2 – Soqrat (AUS), 55.0, b c 3, Epaulette (AUS) – Elzeeza (AUS) by Hussonet (USA)
3 – Rainbow Bridge (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Ideal World (USA) – Halfway To Heaven (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
Margins: 0.30, 2.75, 1.00