Fashion at the 2010 L’Ormarins Queens Plate 2010
(Photo : www.lqp.co.za)
The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate 150th Anniversary
Make a date. Saturday 8th January witnesses the 150th anniversary of the greatest weight-for-age contest on the African continent, the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate. Unrivalled for its tradition and prestige, the Queen’s Plate is the oldest horseracing event in the land, and grew out of an obsession with racing among the British garrison on the old Rondebosch Common. In its more formal guise, the event was first staged in 1861 in honour of Queen Victoria, and became the King’s Plate during the reigns of Edward VII and George VI, only to revert to its current name in 1953 following the accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II. To this day, The Queen retains a keen interest in the race, and there is talk on the grapevine of the possibility of royal attendance at this year’s renewal.
Clearly, the race’s most famous contestant is Pocket Power, reigning king of the local realm who has strung together four consecutive victories, and lines up again in January 2011. he’s not the only horse in the race’s illustrious past to have won it four times though, as he shares that distinction with Riley, who took the laurels four times in the space of five years, though it’s said that he did so under handicap conditions and over different distances.
Five consecutive victories for Pocket Power would constitute a world record, but he has his work cut out for him this year with the challenger of Kahal’s son, Tales Of Bravery and Mike de Kock’s Gibraltar Blue. Winner of five of his seven starts last year, including the Matchem Stakes (Gr.2) in which he lowered Pocket Power’s colours, Tales Of Bravery is another smart advertisement for Kwa Zulu Natal breeding, Gibraltar Blue is an Irish lass who previously raced for the Irish folk hero, Tommy Stack, the man responsible for selling Summerhill its most famous resident, Northern Guest. Fortune smiled on Tommy as the rider of the triple Grand National winner, Red Rum, arguably the greatest ever winner of the world’s steeplechase.