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Piere Strydom was the last jockey to win the Queen’s Plate (King’s Plate) on a KZN-trained horse, on the David Payne-trained Take A Walk 30 years ago in 1994, and he will be out to not only repeat that feat on Saturday but also to equal Anton Marcus’s record number of seven wins in the prestigious weight for age event. Strydom is pictured above winning the WSB Green Point Stakes on the ruling L’Ormarins King’s Plate favourite See It Again  (Picture: Wayne Marks)

Turf Talk

Michael Roberts has been in Cape Town for the whole week and reports the L’Ormarins King’s Plate favourite See It Again to be in fine shape.

The Summerveld-based trainer is viewing Saturday’s race as a fine opportunity to bring the trophy for the country’s most prestigious weight for age mile back to KZN for the first time in thirty years.

An interesting coincidence is that the last time a KZN horse won the big race, back in 1994, the rider aboard the David Payne-trained NZ-bred winner called Take A Walk (Bakharoff) was none other than Piere Strydom, who rides See It Again on Saturday.

KZN trainers had actually dominated the Queen’s Plate in the early 1980s, Herman Brown Snr winning it with Foveros and Yamani in 1982 and 1985 respectively, Ricky Maingard winning it with the great Wolf Power in 1983 and 1984 and David Payne winning it with Spanish Pool in December 1984.

However, after Brown’s 1985 win, Payne was the next and last KZN trainer to win it when successful in 1994.

Michael Roberts won two Queen’s Plates as a rider, both of them on KZN-trained horses. He rates the Fred Rickaby-trained Sledgehammer the best horse he ever rode in South Africa and won the Queen’s Plate on him in 1975 (Sledgehammer also won the race in 1976 albeit under Garth Puller). Roberts’ other Queen’s Plate win was on Wolf Power in 1983.

Strydom has won no fewer than six Queen’s Plates and he will be out to equal the record of Anton Marcus, who won the big race seven times.

Michael Roberts said about See It Again’s current well-being, “He is in good nick. Everything is nice, I am happy with him, no problems. We just hope for a nice clean run race.”

Roberts is very happy with the draw of four and said on any track being drawn on, or towards the inside, was an advantage.

“The shortest way home is always the best way for me.”

Michael said about the superstar Twice Over colt’s impressive Gr 2 WSB Green Point Stakes win over what had previously been thought to be the too sharp LKP mile course and distance: “We can’t get carried away, the horse’s best trip is obviously a stamina test. But the way he won the Green Point as a prep run, I was very taken by that obviously. In saying that I think he has come on from the run.”

He reitereated, “The Green Point was not his mission. It was a come on run and although we can’t say we were surprised because we were all hopeful he could win, we can’t say we did everything in our power to win.”

He added, “It was probably the best ride Piere has had on the horse. He had a lovely trouble free run and was in the right place all the time and moved at the right time, which always helps.”

Michael concluded about the superstar 132-rated colt, “He is in good shape and I have no negatives about him.”

See It Again is owned by KZN businessman Nick Jonsson and was bred by Drakenstein Stud, which is housed on the lower slopes of the wine estate L’Ormarins, who sponsor the King’s Plate.