Win And You’re In: Defending Champion Jet Dark Headlines South Africa’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate

Messrs. C.T. Crowe & N. Jonsson’s 4-year-old defending champion Jet Dark (SAF) is slated to face 10 rivals entered for Saturday’s 1-mile R1.5 million L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town. The race winner will earn an automatic berth into the US$2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. One race prior to the Queen’s Plate, Mrs. S. Viljoen’s 4-year-old filly Captain’s Ransom (SAF) leads the 1 1/8-mile R1 million Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) for a free starting position into the US$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Both races will be televised live on TVG, with approximate post time for the Cartier Paddock Stakes scheduled at 8:35 a.m. ET.

Now in its 15th season, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held this year at the Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky on Nov. 4-5.

As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for the winners of Saturday’s races to start in the World Championships. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a US$40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 24 to receive the rewards.

Jet Dark, trained by Justin Snaith, slipped up the rail in the final furlong to win last year’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at 12-1, defeating Rainbow Bridge (SAF) by three-quarters of a length. Since then, the son of Trippi has made three starts, which includes a victory on July 31 in the 1 1/8-mile HKJC World Pool Champions Cup (G1) at Greyville, and a recent fourth-place finish in the WSB Prive Greenpoint Stakes (G2) at Kenilworth on Dec. 4. Richard Fourie has the mount, breaking from post 5.

Mr. and Mrs. M.L.P. Rattray’s 7-year-old gelding Rainbow Bridge has won 11 of 25 starts, including five Group 1 victories. Trained by Richard Sands, Rainbow Bridge reeled off three straight wins following his defeat in last year’s Queen’s Plate. He captured the Cape Town Met Stakes (G1) at Kenilworth three weeks later, and then scored two wins at Greyville, first taking the Independent on Saturday Drill Hall Stakes (G2) by 2 lengths and the Group 1 Hollywood Bets Gold Challenge. However, the streak ended with an eighth-place finish in the prestigious 1 3/8-mile Vodacom Durban July (G1) on July 3 at Greyville.

The first two finishers from the Durban July – Kommetdieding (SAF) and Linebacker (SAF) – have both been entered in the Queen’s Plate. Nicknamed the “Cape Comet,” 4-year-old Kommetdieding, owned by Ashwin Reynolds and trained by the father-daughter duo of Henry Crawford and Michele Rix, broke from the outside post 18 in the Durban July and steadily worked his way to the front, passing Linebacker in the last 50 yards to prevail by a half-length at 10-1. He completed his 3-year-old campaign with four wins in six starts. In his first start this season, Kommetdieding finished a troubled third behind Warrior (SAF) in the Cape Mile on Nov. 6 at Kenilworth. Kommetdieding will be ridden by Gavin Lerena from post three.

Two-time Group 1 winner Linebacker, trained by Vaughn Marshall and ridden from post three by Craig Zackey, has finished first or second in nine of his 10 starts, with his Group 1 scores coming back-to-back in the Jonsson Workware Cape Derby last February and in the 1 ¼-mile Daily News 2000 in May, prior to his runner-up finish in the Durban July. Linebacker prepped for the Queen’s Plate with a third-place finish in the Green Point Stakes, won by stablemate Seeking the Stars (SAF).

Also trained by Marshall, the 4-year-old old Seeking the Stars has won his last two races, taking the Matchem Stakes (G3) at Durbanville on Oct. 2, before his half-length triumph in the Green Point. Bernard Fayd’Herbe will ride, breaking from post four.

Captain’s Ransom Faces She’s a Keeper in Cartier Paddock Stakes

Eleven fillies and mares are scheduled to go to the post in the Cartier Paddock Stakes, led by Captain’s Ransom and Missing U Syndicate’s 5-year-old She’s a Keeper (SAF). A very consistent eight-time winner in 10 starts, Captain’s Ransom, trained by Justin Snaith, comes into Saturday’s race off two 7-furlong victories, first winning the Diana Stakes (G3) at Durbanville on Oct. 2, and then the Dec. 4 Amy Miller Memorial Pinnacle Stakes by three-quarters of a length over Princess Calla (SAF), with She’s a Keeper finishing third. Captain’s Ransom also gained her second career Group 1-win last January when she captured the 1-mile Majorca Stakes by 3 ¼ lengths at Kenilworth. Richard Fourie has the mount, breaking from post four.

She’s a Keeper, a six-time winner for trainer Gareth Van Zyl, was the odds-on favorite in her first six starts, and registered five victories, culminating with a 1-length triumph in the World Sports Betting 1900 (G2) at Greyville. She was next entered in the Vodacom Durban July against males, but was wide throughout, finishing 10th of 18 starters. She’s a Keeper rebounded in her next effort, though, winning the Kuda Gold Bracelet (G2) at Greyville on July 31. In her most recent start, She’s a Keeper finished third, beaten 2 lengths in the Pinnacle Stakes. Starting from post eight, She’s a Keeper will be ridden by Bernard Fayd’Herbe.

Mr. M.J.A Ferreira’s 4-year-old Princess Calla has finished second in her last four starts for trainer Adam Marcus. A 4-year-old daughter of Flower Alley, Princess Calla completed last season with a heartbreaking defeat by a nose in the Group 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes at Greyville on July 3. A winner twice in 10 starts, Princess Calla will be ridden by Anton Marcus from post five.

Mauritzfontein, and Messrs. M.W. Bass, F. Green and Re Byn’s 4-year-old Marina (SAF), trained by Candice Bass-Robinson, has won four of five starts, with all four wins coming at Kenilworth. A chestnut mare by Silvano (GER), Marina’s only defeat in that stretch was a fourth-place finish in the Diana Stakes. She won two starts after that, taking the Computaform Online Pinnacle Stakes and the Victress Stakes (G3) on Dec. 18. Marina, eight of 13 lifetime, will be ridden by Aldo Domeyer from post three.

Following her “Win and You’re In” victory in the 2021 Cartier Paddock Stakes, Queen Supreme (IRE) was sent to the U.S. later in the year to compete in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Del Mar.

The post Win And You’re In: Defending Champion Jet Dark Headlines South Africa’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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