(Photo : Gold Circle)
L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (GRADE 1) 1600m
KENILWORTH 9 JANUARY 2009
The Mother City’s social scene will awaken Saturday to South Africa’s most prestigious annual horseracing event, the 149th renewal of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, an event which is set to transform Kenilworth racecourse into a setting where haute couture fashion, vintage cars, fine wine and the country’s greatest thoroughbreds take centre stage.
The tongues are already wagging in anticipation of Pocket Power shattering the history books once again by scoring a fourth consecutive victory in the R1million showdown.
Nicci Garner writes for Tab Online that trainer Mike Bass believes without a doubt that Pocket Power is a Champion and that puts him in a different league to the other nine runners in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
Mike Bass explains, “There’s a difference between really good horses, like Big City Life, and Champions. Pocket Power is in the Champions league.’’ He continues, “I don’t knock Big City Life. I respect him. He’s a very good horse and will mature. But in the July, without taking anything away from him, he beat the filly, Zirconeum (a 55-1 shot), and Forest Path (100-1) - and Pocket Power (who finished fifth) raced at the back of the field and was desperately unlucky.’’
Although Pocket Power has not had the same kind of preparation that saw him win the last three L’Ormarins Queen’s Plates, Mike Bass believes his supporters will not be disappointed with his star’s wellbeing.
Pocket Power has had just one run since getting beaten on the line by fast-finishing Ivory Trail in the Champions Challenge at the end of July. He was deep in the red for the 1500m Pinnacle Plate at Kenilworth last month and awed even his trainer in scoring in facile fashion by 0.75 lengths from Big City Life.
“I’m very happy with the progress he’s made. He’s done very well. Physically he looks great. He was quite fit in that 1500 preparatory run and has had one gallop since. I didn’t run him again because he was ahead of schedule and didn’t need another race. I gave him a good gallop instead and think he’s pretty much at his best. He’s come well and I’m happy that he’ll do his very best. No matter what happens on Saturday, there will be no excuses. Now it’s up to him. I’m quietly confident that Pocket Power is very hard to beat.’’
Pocket Power is unbeaten beyond 1400m at Kenilworth and many believe, while he is a star anywhere else in the country, he reserves his very best efforts for Kenilworth. Mike Bass still disputes that view, saying that, if the KwaZulu-Natal season was switched to the summer, we’d all see a different Pocket Power in Durban. “He doesn’t winter that well. He benefits from the summer climate during the Cape season. You should see his coat now!’’
Bass does not even want to contemplate the fact that Pocket Power is bidding to win the Grade 1 race for the fourth year running. “Only when it’s all done can you think it’s possible to win a race - especially one of this stature - four times in a row. Dare we hope?’’
BIG CITY LIFE