L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)
Anton Marcus may have “pulled the trigger a little early” but that did not stop Mother Russia snapping three time Equus Horse of the Year Pocket Power’s hopes of a five-race winning streak in the R1million L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate run over 1600 m at Kenilworth Saturday.
Andrew Harrison writes that the defending champion Pocket Power was game in defeat but in truth never looked dangerous as he battled into fourth place with the son of Kahal, Tales Of Bravery, clearly second best ahead of the sophomore filly Ebony Flyer who did brilliantly to finish third.
Racing in the familiar black and red silks of Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud, Mother Russia was run out of it late at her last two starts including the Sansui Summer Cup, but she was not to be denied this time round.
With Blue Tiger sent out as the hare to ensure a decent gallop for stable companion Pocket Power, Marcus was content to sit in the vanguard of the chasing pack, the mare doing it comfortably all the while.
With the pacemakers falling back rapidly in the straight and Ebony Flyer looming dangerous on his outside, Marcus gunned for home early and Mother Russia responded in an instant. She stretched away from Ebony Flyer and it was the Vaughan Marshall-trained Tales Of Bravery who came out of the pack to try and make a race of it, but in vain. “I pulled the trigger a little early,” said Marcus post race. “The pacemakers were coming back at me and I had this 550kg monster on my outside and I didn’t want to get pushed in. If I had waited a little longer I think she would have won a little easier.”
Ominous words in light of the J&B Met to be run at the end of the month where Mother Russia will be looking to go one better than last year’s second.
Ebony Flyer, taking on a mammoth task at this stage of her career, came through superbly in third. Justin Snaith was philosophical in defeat. “They went flat out and made it a harder mile than we had hoped for,” he said.
Although Pocket Power only managed fourth Mike Bass was full of praise for his champion. “In a classic WFA mile you need everything. Older horses develop stamina but lose a bit of speed and turn of foot. This was a top class field and an ordinary horse would have been left for dead but he came fourth. It was a big ask and I’m not disappointed. He’s given us so much in the past,” he concluded.
Trainer Mike de Kock, watching from his international headquarters in Dubai, planned the race with military precision. Ducking the inclement weather that has dogged the Highveld for much of the summer, Mother Russia and traveling companion Flirtation spent a fortnight in the Cape and the decision paid obvious dividends.
|1||0.00||MOTHER RUSSIA||57.5||111||1||A Marcus||Mike de Kock|
|2||2.25||TALES OF BRAVERY||60.0||111||8||MJ Byleveld||Vaughan Marshall|
|3||3.00||EBONY FLYER||52.5||107||12||F Coetzee||Justin Snaith|
|4||4.25||POCKET POWER||60.0||117||2||B Fayd’Herbe||Mike Bass|
|5||4.50||RUSHING WIND||60.0||104||11||K Neisius||Mike Bass|
|6||5.75||PAST MASTER||60.0||114||5||G Schlechter||Darryl Hodgson|
|7||7.00||SUPER STORM||60.0||99||9||P Strydom||Mike Bass|
|8||7.50||CASEY COOL||60.0||107||3||F Anthony||Darryl Hodgson|
|9||7.55||CELTIC FIRE||60.0||107||6||K Teetan||Yvette Bremner|
|10||8.30||BLUE TIGER||60.0||109||12||A Domeyer||Mike Bass|
|11||10.80||CAPTAIN’S SECRET||60.0||107||7||R Fourie||Mike Bass|
|12||11.30||AMERICAN MAN (AUS)||60.0||91||10||S Veale||Mitchell Wiese|
|13||12.80||TROPICAL EMPIRE (AUS)||60.0||114||14||G Hatt||Duncan Howells|
|14||24.55||TIME AND LOVE||60.0||104||4||M Odendaal||SJ van Rensburg|