Day Of The Royals

One of horseracing's proudest traditions

Pocket Power

Pocket Power. Three time winner of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate

The 153rd renewal of the Queen’s Plate on Saturday will once again evoke the passion, drama and sophistication of horseracing at its very best. From relatively inauspicious beginnings in 1861, South Africa’s greatest mile takes pride of place on a day that has grown into a great event, supported by one of our most powerful business and horseracing names.

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice. Two time winner of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate

The race was originally called the King’s Plate. The name changed in 1952 and was called the Queen’s Plate for the first time the year that Top Secret won it. The Rupert family have stamped their mark through the L’Ormarins sponsorship which has seen the race grow ins stature since their branding commenced in 2005. A book, rather than a newspaper article is required to outline the drama and history of achievement that hascharacterised the great mile. One of the greatest memories for many will be Sea Cottage’s win in 1966.

Nobody who saw the running of the Queen’s Plate that year is ever likely to forget Sea Cottage and his finish. There can have been few people at Kenilworth on that memorable Saturday who gave Sea Cottage any chance at all with a furlong to go in the Queen’s Plate – and yet in little more than 220 yards the incredible colt made up about 15 lengths and spread-eagled a top-class field to retain his unbeaten record. His time for the eight furlongs was only 1/5 sec. outside the record set by Frantic. It was an amazing performance, and one that confirms him as one of the best horses ever to run in South Africa.


1948 Gr1 King’s Plate – Convalesce

On looks, there was little to choose between the nine horses as they went down to the post, except for Sea Cottage’s usual straggly appearance – an appearance which gave little clue to his speed. The start was marred when Renounce appeared to charge the tapes, crashed through them and fell heavily with Amos. Though they were both soon up, there is little doubt that the fall put paid to their chances. Renounce came in with rope burns from the tapes, but still managed to run a courageous third.

The start itself was an excellent one, with the field getting away in an almost perfect line. After about a furlong Gaskell went to the front ahead of Renounce, Fair Mountain, Pullman and Atty Perse. This order was kept round the bend and into the straight where first Renounce and then Fair Mountain challenged Gaskell.

Top Secret

1949 Gr1 King’s Plate – Top Secret

Andries Steyn’s father in law Lionel Witkowsky kept Gaskell going and seemed to have the race won when Sea Cottage unleashed his incredible burst from the back of the field. Nothing could withstand his finish and he passed Gaskell just before the post to win by ¾ length.’ Household names that grace the honour roll include Kannemeyer to Cawcutt to Amos to Marcus to Page to Strydom to Llloyd to Neisius. They have all played their role in the tapestry of history and drama, and legend and myth.

The 21st century superstar of the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate is undoubtedly the Mike Bass Racing legend Pocket Power who won the race every year from 2006 to 2010, and his achievement is unlikely to be matched in our lifetime.

Royal Affairs

1959 Gr1 Queen’s Plate – Royal Affairs

The son of our brilliant ill-fated champion sire Jet Master is the single most dominant feature of the modern history of this outstanding race. Bred by Zandvliet Stud, the gelding was ridden to victory by Jeff Lloyd in his first win, and by Bernard Fayd’herbe in the remaining three record-breaking victories. Interestingly Lloyd rode his first two Queen’s Plate winners twenty-two years earlier in January and December 1984 on Wolf Power and Spanish Pool respectively.

Pocket Power’s sire Jet Master won this great race twice. He was trained by Tony Millard and ridden by Piere Strydom to win the 138th renewal in scintillating fashion in January 1999. Jet Master won it again in January 2000 under Anton Marcus

Sea Cottage

1966 Gr1 Queen’s Plate – Sea Cottage

Strydom scored his first Queen’s Plate win of the 21st century when winning for Dean Kannemeyer on Free My Heart in his first full year of training for his own account. Dean’s Dad Peter rode the 1962 winner Inverthorn for the late great Theo De Klerk.

Peter trained his first Queen’s Plate winner when Over The Air won in 1980 under Garth Puller. Besides winning on Gimmethegreenlight in 2012 for Justin Snaith, Piere Strydom has won this race six times in total. He won it on Yardmaster in 1988 for Tobie Spies, Take A Walk in 1994 for David Payne and then Divine Force in 1998 for David Ferraris. Jet Master is well represented this year with four major runners in Yorker, Chave De Oura, Jet Explorer and Lake Arthur.

In Full Flight

1972 Gr1 Queen’s Plate – In Full Flight

The legendary Johnny Cawcutt won the Queen’s Plate four times over 25 years from 1956 to Chichester in 1971. Basil Marcus, whose son Adam trains out of Milnerton, won the race in 1977 on Bold Monarch and in 1982 on Foveros. Phillipi trainer Stephen Page rode the 1974 winner Sword Dancer for Atholl Fisher.

Veteran Cape jockey Karl Neisius has gone a decade without a winner, after winning it on Free My Heart(the son of Jallad’s second win) for the Kannemeyers in 2002. Neisius’ only previous winner was on Flaming Rock in 1990 for Chris Snaith. Stanley Amos rode the winners of five Queen’s Plates from 1948 to 1965.

The man who rode for an unbelievable 52 years, and had the distinction of being the oldest professionally licenced jockey on earth in his time rounded off his Queen’s Plate quintet in 1965 with Fair Mountain, who narrowly beat the 1962 winner, the then nine year old Inverthorn. Mrs Garrett’s Fair Mountain was trained by Stan’s brother H.E. ‘Cookie’ Amos and bred by her late husband, the famous trainer, Syd Garrett.

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