Cape Town’s most fashionable and glamourous streamed into Kenilworth Racecourse yesterday in their elegant blue and white to be part of the 157th running of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival. The two day event saw over 5000 attendees, including international celebrities, racing fans and socialites from around the world, once again raising the bar against which other racing and social events will be measured. It is rare to find an event that consistently delivers a tone of poise, grace and beauty as does the LQP Racing Festival.
Adding to the allure of the occasion was the excitable tension in the crowd as they awaited to see if two-time South African Horse of the Year and defending Champion Legal Eagle would make history in becoming only the second horse in the long and coveted history of the event to win the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate for a third time: opposing him was a group of the best racehorses in the country.
Turning into the straight Legal Eagle was sitting in third place, a few lengths off powerful front-runner Captain America who with 300m to go was showing no signs of stopping. There was a palpable stir in the crowd as Legal Eagle started to reel in the leader, the cheers and shouting becoming louder and louder, all the while a chasing pack of horses also started to gain on Legal Eagle.
The last moments of the race had the crowd in rapture, as it became clear how close the finish was going to be: Captain America and Legal Eagle rapidly being hunted down by a wall of opponents. Ultimately, in a dramatic and fitting climax, Legal Eagle collared Captain America metres from the line, while bravely holding off the onset of rivals flying up from behind.
In winning Legal Eagle also became only the second horse in South African history to earn more than R10 million, and overtook four-time L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate victor Pocket Power as the leading prize money earner in South African racing history.
Legal Eagle is bred by Avontuur Stud, a son of Greys Inn out of Young Sensation by National Emblem.