The Sean Tarry trained Legal Eagle (Greys Inn) became the first horse since the mighty Pocket Power (Jet Master) to score repeat wins in the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate when storming home in Saturday’s R1 500 000 showpiece race at Kenilworth.
South Africa’s reigning Horse Of The Year was all the rage for the 2017 LQP, having downed champion Marinaresco (Silvano) when the pair met last time out in the Gr2 World Sports Betting Green Point Stakes.
Considered by his trainer to have been underdone for his last success, Legal Eagle was expected to be tough to beat –especially as Legal Eagle is undefeated over 1600m.
Marinaresco (Silvano) was the only horse given any chance of denying the champion a repeat win in Saturday’s Queen’s Plate, with Legal Eagle being dispatched a 13-20 shot and Marinaresco a 2-1 shot. The next horse in the betting was last season’s Gr1 Vodacom Durban July The Conglomerate (Lonhro) who started a 13-1 shot, after some late support.
Both Legal Eagle and Marinaresco impressed in the canter past, with former Triple Crown winner Abashiri (Go Deputy) another to catch the eye. However, the latter would disappoint once again, and finished stone last.
The start to the LQP was delayed after Midnite Zone (Trippi) had both front shoes removed. It was Midnite Zone who made the early running, with the favourite Legal Eagle beautifully positioned by jockey Anton Marcus back in third. Marinaresco, in contrast, raced with just one behind him, and from there never seemed to get into the race.
Legal Eagle, however, was asked for his effort with 300m left to go –and from there it was race over, with the Mayfair Speculator owned champion drawing clear to register a two and a quarter length win over the uber game and consistent Captain America (Captain Al). The latter registered his second consecutive placing in the LQP, having finished fourth to Legal Eagle last year.
Captain America’s stable mate Sail South (Sail From Seattle) ran on powerfully to claim third spot, ahead of Marinaresco (Silvano), who appeared to run below par.
Bred by Avontuur Estate, Legal Eagle was landing the fifth Gr1 win of his career and will now bid to make six Grade One wins when lining up in the R5 000 000 Sun Met later this month.
A son of former Equus Champion Greys Inn, Legal Eagle took his tally of wins to nine from just 15 outings and pushed his earnings to over R6.9 million with Saturday’s LQP win.