Are You Ready For The ‘Race Of The Century’

Kenilworth is all set for Saturday’s “race of the century”, the Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (LQP), which pundits are hailing as the strongest ever renewal of the country’s premier weight for age mile.

 The joint-favourite Legal Eagle (headline photo) attempts to join the great Pocket Power by winning this race four times in succession.

Trainer Sean Tarry reckons in terms of ability and current form this will be the strongest field Legal Eagle has ever faced but added, “He is good enough and his preparation has gone according to plan. To have a fair pace would be the greatest thing for such a good race as there would then be no stories afterwards, but if there happens to be no pace Legal Eagle has proven he wouldn’t mind that either.”

Eric Sands has two horses involved, the joint-favourite Rainbow Bridge and Amazing Strike.

It would seem obvious the latter is in as a pacemaker, although Sands was non-committal on this question.

Rainbow Bridge needs a good pace as he becomes unsettled when the pace is as slow as it was in the Green Point Stakes or when he finds no cover.

The bookmakers, by making him joint-favourite, are claiming he is able to perform a lot better with a true pace as he is 2kg worse off with all three of the trio who narrowly beat him in the Green Point.

Rainbow Bridge at the 2016 National Yearling Sale. The half-brother to Hawwaam was consigned by Wilgerbosdrift. Image: Candiese Marnewick

He was previously unbeaten in five starts and Sands said, “I would say he is probably now at his peak.” As a horse who can play up before a race, the big crowd might be a concern. However, the sophisticated LQP audience is quieter than the Sun Met one. He is drawn well in four and if everything pans out well this powerful racing machine will be finishing like a train, considering he was the fastest finisher of all in the Green Point despite having over-raced.

Justin Snaith’s imposing Vodacom Durban July winner Do It Again looks set, like his father Twice Over, to have a tremendous four-year-old season. His finish in the Green Point proved he is effective over the mile, which is on the sharp side for him. Snaith also runs the only filly in the race, Snowdance, who is unbeaten in two starts over the course and distance, both of them Grade 1s against the girls.

Snaith said, “Do It Again is in very good form and is looking amazing, everything has gone according to plan. Snowdance is very well and was very impressive in her comeback run. She will give the boys a go.”

Snowdance enjoys being handy or in the front so has a tough draw of eight, especially if Amazing Strike does turn out to be a specialist pacemaker. However, if able to relax up there she can produce her tremendous kick and won’t be easy to catch if hitting the front. Do It Again, drawn six, is able to run on from behind.

Brett Crawford was bullish about his Rising Sun Gold Challenge winner Undercover Agent and said, “He has improved this season and is a lot stronger and more mature mentally. He has come on since the Green Point and has done a really good gallop since.”

Whoever comes out on top, it is truly going to be the race of the century.


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