Queen’s Plate Festival of Racing preview

L’Ormarins Queens Plate Festival preview

Mark van Deventer

Horse racing fans will savour quality festival cards come Friday and Saturday with the running of the L’Ormarins Queens Plate and Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes, both Grade 1’s, supported by an array of Grade 2 and 3 events. Crawford Racing are well represented with 11 runners engaged on Friday and 13 entries for Saturday’s program.

Defending champ, Legal Eagle and high-class Marinaresco are top rated for the Queen’s Plate. There was just half a length in it when Marinaresco gave plenty of start in the Green Point Stakes then could not quite get past the Equus star. It again should be a close- run thing with the early pace, jockeyship and precise timing of challenges proving vital.

Crawford’s stable stalwart Captain America will be giving it a crack. He is very game, and has used his big action to win at Grade 1 level before, yet has persistently proved a few lengths inferior to Legal Eagle, so realistically has a solid place chance. Brett commented, “Captain America has enjoyed a very good prep and is exceptionally well – I’ happy with him, though he faces a tough task.”

Sail South, who has won multiple times just below the top echelon also takes his place. “We’re hoping for the best – Sail South is feeling well and has been doing fine in training, but this is a big ask.” Crawford’s third Queen’s Plate runner, Midnite Zone got upsides of Captain America in the Matchem Stakes when receiving 3.5 kg’s and they now meet at levels, which makes it a daunting assignment. This valiant son of Trippi likes to race handy and always gives of his best.

Ridgemont Stud’s Chevauchee and Icy Fire go to post for the stable in the prestigious Paddock Stakes. They will be trying to spoil what sets up as a match between Bela Bela and Silver Mountain, the only older fillies in the race with triple digit merit ratings. Chevauchee hinted at Stakes- class ability when scoring in features during the Cape Winter so could harass the top two – according to Brett, “… she has enjoyed a good prep for this mission.”

Icy Fire’s tough objective is to sneak valuable Black Type. The daughter of Western Winter has ground to make up based on official ratings (MR 94) but has a beautiful action, can quicken smartly and will enjoy the trip.

“Whisky Baron is exceptionally well after a great prep and is a big runner.” That’s how Brett calls it ahead of Saturday’s preceding feature, the Grade 2 Peninsula Handicap over 1800m. The son of Manhattan Rain has been dealing ruthlessly with rivals since being gelded and is primed for a strong showing in this build up to the Sun Met.

Algoa Cup victor, Nebula and front-running Winter Prince also participate in the same race. Brett feels that Nebula is still well-weighted and is expecting a very good run, whilst the gutsy Winter Prince should run a fair race, but there is a question mark hovering over him seeing out the trip if they go hard and he’s pressured early.

Beach Goddess will try topple speed sensation Carry On Alice in Friday’s Cartier Sceptre Stakes, a Grade 2 sprint over 1200m. The Kildonan mare is remarkably consistent given the serious physical setbacks she endured earlier in her career. Beach Goddess is ideally suited to the stiff, “straight six” at Kenilworth and will again launch one of her spirited closing bids under stable jock, Corne Orffer.

Supporting feature on Friday is the listed Jamaica Handicap, with Louisiana the stable rep. “She looks amazing and her work is very good so she must have a bright chance.’ predicted Brett.

The two -day festival is packed with the sort of high quality confrontations that true racing fanatics relish. The stable also has promising engagements in other races over the weekend, not covered in this preview. For insights and appraisals of all Crawford Racing’s entries, go to the crawfordracing.net website, click on More near the top right, then highlight Tipping Section. Brett, who is currently fourth on the National Trainer’s log, believes in transparency and open communication, so conveys the updated information in good faith. Enjoy some tremendous racing!

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