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Al Muthana speeds to an upset victory in last season’s Gr 1 wfa L’Ormarins King’s Plate (Picture: timeslive.co.za) 
Turf Talk
The Gr 1 L’Ormarin’s King’s Plate first entries were published today and there are plenty of points of intrigue.
The Equus Horse of The Year Princess Calla is not in the line up as connections have opted for the Gr 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes instead.
Among the 16 LKP entries are two Drakenstein Stud homebreds, Charles Dickens and Snow Pilot, which will give the sponsors a double chance of winning the race for the first time as owners. The L’Ormarins wine farm is owned by Johann and Gaynor Rupert and their Drakenstein Stud was constructed on the farm’s lower slopes.
The Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Charles Dickens, a winner of the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas and Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge last season, was a short-priced favourite in last season’s LKP but was defeated narrowly by the Ricky Maingard-trained Al Muthana. The latter is drawn wide in 15 this season as opposed to 5 last season.
Charles Dickens is drawn 8 and the Justin Snaith-trained Snow Pilot, who won last Saturday’s Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas, has a plum draw of two.
Drakenstein have won this prestigious weight for age mile as breeders with the Justin Snaith-trained Trippi colt Jet Dark, who won it twice in succession (2021 and 2022) for owners Nick Jonsson and Tommy Crowe.
History has a chance of repeating itself because Jet Dark came from last to finish a 1,65 length fourth in the Cape Guineas but then slammed the older horses as the only 3yo entry in the 2021 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
Hluhluwe, also by Trippi and also bred by Drakenstein, trained by Snaith and owned by Jonsson, came from last to finish a two length third in the Cape Guineas and now lines up in the King’s Plate.
However, Jet Dark had draw two as opposed to Hluhluwe’s 12 and he was a true miler with an exceptional turn of foot, as opposed to Hluhluwe who might need more ground.
The Michael Roberts-trained See It Again was also also bred by Drakenstein and is owned by Jonsson. He has landed a plum draw of five and proved he is effective over a mile when downing the chief protagonists here in effortless fashion over the same course and distance in the Gr 2 Green Point Stakes last time out.
The Snaith-trained 2021 Cape Guineas winner Double Superlative is the third string to Nick Jonsson’s bow, but has to overcome draw 15.
The Dean Kannemeyer-trained twice Gr 1 winner over sprints, Gimme A Prince, went close to beating Charles Dickens in the Gr 3 Matchem Stakes over 1400m and has drawn nine. He missed the Green Point after a minor setback, so doesn’t come in off an ideal preparation and whether he gets a mile remains unknown.
His sprint-miler stablemate Cosmic Highway, a 2,50 length third to Double Superlative in the 2021 Cape Guineas, has drawn pole.
Brett Crawford’s perennial bridesmaid At My Command, a 4,35 length third to Charles Dickens in the Cape Guineas and second in the Green Point last time out, has drawn well in three.
Cousin Casey, second to Charles Dickens in the Cape Guineas and now trained by Sean Tarry, has draw 13. His star has waned since his glittering two-year-old season.
Snaith has five entries and has declared all of their jockeys already.
Interestingly, Richard Fourie is aboard Double Superlative.
Grant van Niekerk has been riding the Tarry-trained Cousin Casey, but is aboard Hluhluwe so one would have expected Fourie to be on Cousin Casey. Fourie has been first call rider for Tarry in most Graded races over the last two seasons.
JP van der Merwe stays aboard Snow Pilot, Muzi Yeni is on Royal Aussie and Craig Bantam is on Speed Machine.
King Regent is the most interesting of Glen Kotzen’s two runners because he beat Gr 1 champions Princess Calla and Rio Querari in his penultimate start over 1250m. It all depends on how well he jumps, but he does have a lot of talent.
The course sponsor, Hollywoodbets, have one entry, the Grant Maroun-trained Gr 1 WSB SA Classic winner Anfields Rocket, and he has drawn well in four.
The full list of entries is shown below:
Race-7 (Turf) R2 000 000 1600m
L’ORMARINS KING’S PLATE (WFA) (Grade 1)
Open To Horses At Weight For Age
WFA: 3yrs-5kgs 4yrs-0kgs
No Apprentice / Female Sex Allowance
8 Charles Dickens (4C) 60 132 A Candice Bass-Robinson
5 See It Again (4C) 60 132 BA Michael Roberts
9 Gimme A Prince (5G) 60 130 A Dean Kannemeyer
15 Al Muthana (AUS) (6G) 60 128 A Ricky Maingard
3 At My Command (4G) 60 124 A Brett Crawford
13 Cousin Casey (4C) 60 123 A Sean Tarry
14 Double Superlative Accepted (5H) 60 118 A Justin Snaith
16 Royal Aussie Accepted (4G) 60 118 A Justin Snaith
4 Anfields Rocket (4G) 60 117 A Brett Crawford
11 King Regent (4G) 60 115 A Glen Kotzen
1 Cosmic Highway (5G) 60 111 A Dean Kannemeyer
7 Countdown (4G) 60 108 A Glen Kotzen
10 Speed Machine Accepted (6G) 60 106 A Justin Snaith
6 Montien (4G) 60 105 A Piet Botha
2 Snow Pilot Accepted (3C) 55 116 A Justin Snaith
12 Hluhluwe Accepted (3C) 55 111 A Justin Snaith