(Image : Gold Circle / Summerhill Stud)
“PP” PICKS PRESTIGE PRIZE
FOR WORLD PERFORMANCE
The most stately event on the South African racing calendar is also the oldest. Saturday’s renewal for the 150th time of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, the “mile” weight-for-age championship of the African continent, is staged at Kenilworth in Cape Town. The legend Pocket Powerlines up in an attempt at a fifth consecutive victory. With earnings already well in excess of R10million, the son of Jet Masternow only has records to break in a lifetime stashed with achievement. Victory here will make him a joint world record holder, the only other horse in history to have achieved a similar feat at Group 1 level in the same race being the American weight-carrying champion of the 1950’s, Kelso. The difference is that Pocket Powerwill have done it consecutively, whereas Kelso established his record over a six year span.
Famed for their association with the international prestige brands Cartier, Mont Blanc, Dunhill, Rothmans etc, the Rupert family’s embrace of the Queen’s Plate as a sponsorship project is a fitting extension to their involvement in one of the country’s most prestigious wineries and what is arguably the most breathtaking stud farm in the world, Drakenstein, home to the fabled Horse Chestnutand the very successful American “transplant”, Trippi.
The Rupert’s association with the Goss family goes back to university days at Stellenbosch, and they have been customers and friends of Summerhill virtually since the gates opened. Mick and Cheryl Goss will be winging their way for Cape Town on Friday to the stately Fleur du Cap, the Rupert guesthouse in Somerset West. Who knows, they might witness new history, though that would not be the plan of the connections of Ebony Flyer, the sensational three old filly in the Team Valor stable. Another Summerhill client, Barry Irwin, heads up Team Valor International, and with a handy pull at the weights, they will be doing everything they can to lower Pocket Power’s colours. Nobody wants to see a champion thwarted in his quest for a world record, but in the end, that’s what racing’s about : competition. And in the case of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, at the very highest level.
This could be one for the ages.
L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)
Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m
8 January 2011
TROPICAL EMPIRE (AUS)
TALES OF BRAVERY
TIME AND LOVE
SJ van Rensburg
AMERICAN MAN (AUS)
Mike de Kock