JET DARK WINS L'ORMARINS QUEEN'S PLATE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Jet Dark split horses in the final two furlongs and prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Rainbow Bridge in Saturday’s 160th L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (G1) at Kenilworth Racecourse.

With this victory, Jet Dark, ridden by Grant Van Niekerk, earned an automatic berth into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

Jet Dark, a bay son of Florida-bred Trippi out of Night Jet by Jet Master, is trained by Justin Snaith; who also saddled the 5-4 favored third-place finisher Belgarion and fourth-place finisher Do It Again, who won the Queen’s Plate in 2019.

How was the race?

Held before no spectators because of COVID-19 restrictions at Kenilworth, a field of eight starters in the Queen’s Plate broke cleanly with Hurricane Harry setting the early pace. Jet Dark, off at 6.5-1, stayed in mid-pack just off the rail through the first half-mile.

After turning into the home stretch, 6-1 Cirillo edged closer to Hurricane Harry; while to their outside Rainbow Bridge and Belgarion were starting to hit their best stride.

Then in a burst of speed inside the two-furlong marker, Van Niekerk sent Jet Dark between the fading Hurricane Harry and Cirillo and into the lead. Rainbow Bridge made a final surge, but could not catch Jet Dark at the wire.

In picking up his fourth win in seven starts, and his first Group 1 triumph; Jet Dark completed the 1-mile in 1:38.38. He came into the race after a fourth-place finish in the 1-mile Cape Racing Presents the Cape Guineas (G1) at Kenilworth on Dec. 12. Prior to that, he won the one-mile tabonline.co.za Mr 80 Handicap at Kenilworth on Nov. 28. His first Group stakes score was in the Beaumont Stud Langerman (G3) last July, also at Kenilworth.

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