Hawwaam and Defending Champion Do It Again Lead L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and Queen Supreme Headlines Paddock Stakes
Do It Again (yellow silks) winning last year’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate
Photo Courtesy of Snaith Racing
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (Jan. 9, 2020) – Led by Hamdan Al Maktoum’s 4-year-old Hawwaam (SAF), a winner of six of seven starts in 2019, and defending champion Do It Again (SAF), lead a field of 10 horses has been entered for Saturday’s 1-mile R1.5 million L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town for an automatic berth into the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge. One race prior to the Queen’s Plate, the 4-year-old filly Front and Centre (SAF) headlines the 1 1/8-mile R1 million Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) for a free starting position into the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Now in its 13th season, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge 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 will be held this year at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 6-7.
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, and will also provide a US$40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America, to compete in the World Championships. If not Breeders’ Cup eligible, the Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 26 to receive the rewards.
Hawwaam, a bay son of Silvano (GER) out of Highway to Heaven (SAF), trained by Mike de Kock and ridden by Anton Marcus, had a banner year in 2019, capturing three Group 1 races among his six wins. Following his only defeat of the year in the 1-mile Gauteng Guineas (G2) on Feb. 2 at Turffontein, Hawwaam won six in a row, highlighted by victories in the SA Classic (G1) on March 2 at Turffontein, the 1 ¼-mile Premier’s Champions Challenge (G1) by four lengths also at Turffontein on May 4, and one month later, in the 1 ¼-mile Daily News 2000 (G1) at Greyville. His outstanding record earned him the Champion 3-year-old title for the 2018-2019 season.
Following a 5 ½-month break, Hawwaam returned and added two more wins, first taking a 6-furlong conditions stakes at Vaal, and then the Group 2, 1 1/8-mile Premier Trophy at Kenilworth on Dec. 21, surging home in the last 400 yards to triumph by 2 ¼ lengths.
Jonsson, Kantor and the Estate of WJC Mitchell’s 5-year-old bay gelding Do It Again, South Africa’s 2018-2019 Horse of the Year, won a thrilling renewal of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate one year ago, edging out Soqrat (AUS) at the wire to prevail by a neck. Do It Again, trained by Justin Snaith and ridden by Richard Fourie, would go on to win two more Group 1 races in 2019, taking the Rising Sun Challenge at Greyville on June 8 by a half-length and then defending his title in the Vodacom Durban July Cup on July 6, defeating Rainbow Bridge (SAF) by a half-length. Following a seasonal break, though, he did not return sharp last month in the one-mile Greenpoint Stakes (G2) at Kenilworth, finishing sixth of eight runners, 5 ¼ lengths back to Vardy (SAF).
Mr. and Mrs. M.L.P. Rattray’s Rainbow Bridge, a 5-year-old Ideal World gelding, trained by Eric Sands, turned the tables on Do It Again in the 1 ¼-mile Sun Met Stakes (G1) on Jan. 26 of last year, defeating him by three-quarters of length. Rainbow Bridge earned his second Group 1 win in July by capturing the World Sports Betting Championships Cup at 1 1/8 miles at Greyville, defeating Soqrat by a half-length. Rainbow Bridge, ridden on Saturday by Gavin Larena, was recently third, beaten one length in the Green Point Stakes, but was forced to check as Vardy powered by in the final furlong.
Sheikh Hamdan’s Soqrat is a second starter from de Kock’s stable in the Queen’s Plate. The 4-year-old by Epaulette (AUS) returned from the winter break with back-to-back wins in the conditioned 1-mile Pinnacle Stakes on Oct. 12 at Turffontein and in the 1 1/8-mile Victory Moon Stakes (G3) on Nov. 9 at Vaal. In his most recent effort, he finished second by a half-length in the 1 ¼-mile Summer Cup on Nov. 30 at Turffontein as the 2-1 favorite. Callan Murray will ride Soqrat.
Commenting to SAFRacing on both Hawwaam and Soqrat, de Kock said, “My horses have had to travel (from Durban) and, although they have settled in very well and look well, the opposition have all been trained at home which gives them that slight edge.”
Vardy, a 4-year-old gelding by Var, trained by Adam Marcus and ridden by Craig Zackey, won three of six starts at Kenilworth in 2019, In addition to the Greenpoint, Vardy captured the Tellytrack.com 3-Year-Old Mr. 95 Handicap in April and then won the Group 3 Winter Classic in May for owners Kantor, Blank, Sarkis & Yutar.
Front and Centre Battles Queen Supreme in Paddock Stakes
Of the 11 fillies and mares entered in the Cartier Paddock Stakes, Ridgemont’s Front and Centre and Mauritzfontein (Pty) Ltd., Mrs. M F de Kock and partners’ Queen Supreme (IRE) appear to be the standouts. The connections of Front and Centre have been pointing the 4-year-old bay by Dynasty (SAF) to the Paddock Stakes, since she captured the 7-furlong, Group 3 Diana Stakes at Durbanville on Oct. 5, closing with a final rush to overtake Freedom Charter (SAF) at the wire. Trained by Brett Crawford and ridden by Anton Marcus, Front and Centre made a successful prep for Saturday’s race over the course, when she won the 7-furlong Pinnacle Stakes at Kenilworth on Dec. 14.
A winner of six races in 10 starts, Front and Centre is seeking her first Group 1 tally. Her best result in this class was a second-place finish by about a half-length to Silvano’s Pride (SAF) in the Woolavington 2000 at Greyville on June 1 of last year.
Queen Supreme, trained by Mike de Kock and ridden by Callan Murray, will be making her seventh start on Saturday, and her first one away from Turffontein, where she has won four times. A daughter of Exceed and Excel (AUS) out of Call Later by Gone West, Queen Supreme broke her maiden in her first try last June, and after a defeat in a conditions handicap reeled off four consecutive wins, including the Group 3, 1 1/8-mile Yellowwood Handicap on Nov. 2, which she won by 4 ¼ lengths. De Kock then entered her against male rivals in the Group 1 1 ¼-mile Summer Cup on Nov. 30, where she gave an excellent account of herself, finishing fourth, beaten just 1 ¾ lengths for it all.
A.C. Peter’s homebred Silvano’s Pride has won three of four starts at Kenilworth, with her lone defeat over the course coming last time out when finishing third in the 1 1/8-mile Victress Stakes on Dec. 21. A 4-year-old chestnut daughter of Silvano (GER), Silvano’s Pride, trained by Justin Snaith, made her biggest splash last year in winning the Group 1 Woolavington in front-running fashion. Silvano’s Pride will be ridden by Richard Fourie.
Also of interest is Chrigor Stud, Drackenstein Stud and Mr. and Mrs. A. Georgiou’s 4-year-old filly Snapscan (SAF). A bay daughter of Oratorio (IRE) out of Cash Register (SAF), Snapscan has won two of her last three races since returning from nearly a three-month layoff. Trained by Glen Kotzen and ridden by Morne Winnaar, Snapscan won the Victress by 3 ½ lengths in her last start at Kenilworth.
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships’ races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 championship races with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held on Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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