L'Ormarins Queen's Plate Jet Dark

At a sizzling hot Kenilworth racecourse, Jet Dark won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate for the second year in succession. Photo: Chase Liebenberg

Clean-sweep for Justin Snaith at the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate festival!

At a sizzling hot Kenilworth racecourse, Jet Dark won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate for the second year in succession.

L'Ormarins Queen's Plate Jet Dark

At a sizzling hot Kenilworth racecourse, Jet Dark won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate for the second year in succession. Photo: Chase Liebenberg

At a sizzling hot Kenilworth racecourse, Jet Dark stormed down the inside rail to win the Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate for the second year in succession.

READ | CAPE TOWN MET: 17 HORSES LEFT IN THE RUNNING

Described by trainer Justin Snaith as, “a beautiful animal – such a stunning individual”, the son of Trippi, bred at Drakenstein Stud, reprised his feat from 2021 to once again win the most coveted 1 600m race in South Africa.

After the Rain, Pomp and Power and Seeking the Stars ensured the pace was brisk with Jet Dark lagging behind in a stretched-out field, under S’Manga Khumalo.

FOR THE LATEST HORSERACING NEWS PLEASE VISIT THE SOUTH AFRICAN WEBSITE

The ace jockey had everything under control though on his champion steed, who started a 10/1 chance.

“Jet Dark was so relaxed and with the pace being on, I chose to wait on him. I slapped him down the shoulder and then he really kicked,” said Khumalo post-race.

Jet Dark was doing some serious low flying the last 200m and drew off to beat Kommetdieding, who also made a bold rally from far back.

Seven-year-old, Rainbow Bridge had loomed up on the outside with a powerful move, but he could not resist his younger rivals finishing kick.

READ | CAPE TOWN MET GETS NEW SPONSOR IN WORLD SPORTS BETTING

Seeking the Stars kept on resolutely for fourth, best of those who raced handy. Pomp and Power could not survive the rigours of the early speed duel yet was very gutsy in keeping on for fifth – and first home of the three-year-olds, and a credible three lengths off the winner.

Multiple Grade 1 victor, Jet Dark has now won six of 11 starts, including two L’Ormarins Queen’s Plates and the Gold Challenge at Greyville.

While he has thrown in the occasional duff effort at his first run back from a layoff or when too fierce in his races; overall, he is consistent at a high level and, when peaking, a brilliant miler.

Second-placed Kommetdieding emerged with credit and the 2021 Durban July winner looks teed up to run huge in the Cape Town Met. He clocked in 2.25 lengths behind Jet Dark.

Likewise, Rainbow Bridge, who has twice triumphed in the Met, is on target for another spirited defence of the historic prize on Saturday, 29 January.

READ | VODACOM TO QUIT AS HEADLINE SPONSORS OF DURBAN JULY

Meanwhile, the Cartier Paddock Stakes over 1 800m (Grade 1) got the heart rates raised as Captains Ransom clung on from outstanding three-year-old filly, Chansonette, Marina and Princess Calla with under a length separating the first four home in a thrilling finish.

The winner was also trained by the irrepressible, Snaith.

Successful jockey, Richard Fourie was effusive in his praise for this multiple Grade 1 winning daughter of Captain Al – now victorious in nine of 11 outings.

“She was difficult today and I needed to get sideways in the saddle to straighten her out, but she is a star and very close to my heart.”

Captain’s Ransom started as the 15/10 favourite.

Snaith’s assessment in the post-race interview was: “She does not really get 1 800m it’s just that she is so good – it’s as if she has a sports car engine!”

Andre Nel’s Fillies Guineas heroine, Chansonette, a big market mover backed in to 4/1, got mighty close as her challenge fell marginally short when she too hit her stamina limit, whilst Marina launched a belated surge from way back to get within a head at the wire.

Marina took time to fully unwind – 1 800m even at a solid tempo is the bottom range of her distance suitability. Trainer Candice Bass-Robinson indicated that she will now be aimed at the Cape Town Met over 2 000m.

L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate patrons. Photo: Chase Liebenberg

The Glorious Goodwood Premier Trophy (Grade 2) over 1 800m was won by Hoedspruit – another that will take his place in a potent Cape Town Met field.

The son of Legislate, trained by Justin Snaith, was also ridden by Richard Fourie who tactically guided him down the fast-running inside strip to mug Super Silvano, pace-presser Firealley and Sovereign Spirit in yet another exhilarating finish.

Fourie gave kudos to Snaith’s for his deft handling of Hoedspruit. The horse required a freshening after a dull last start and duly bounced back with another big effort to improve his career box score to 15 starts – six wins and five additional places. Snaith, described 6/1 shot Hoedspruit as having “huge ability”, hence the decision to next have a go at the Cape Town Met – which is shaping up to be a humdinger.

It was bullseye for the same combo in the Okapi Chairman’s Cup (Grade 3) over 2 500m.

One Way Traffic was heavily backed to win the final race of the day and so nearly went all the way, only to be mowed down in a dramatic final lunge by stable-mate, Doublemint. The seven-year-old has been bought back from serious injury to racing fitness and Snaith Racing can be proud of their work with the fickle Twice Over gelding.

Indeed, after remarkably taking out all five Graded races over the festival (Gimme Dat came up trumps in the Grade 2 Sceptre Stakes on Friday) the Snaith family outfit could justifiably celebrate a job extremely well done over refreshing glasses of bubbly with their team and ebullient stable patrons.