The 158th L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival 2019 was a weekend of sporting excellence and track-side elegance. Now into its third year, the LQP once again showed all who attended why it is one of the best horse race events in the world.
Bedecked in white and royal blue, the famous Kenilworth Racecourse once again played host to the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, Africa’s premier horse racing event, treating local and international guests to two days of luxury, fashion and the best the horse-racing world has to offer.
In what was billed as the race of the millennium, Vodacom Durban July winner Do It Again took the R 1.5 million L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (Grade 1) purse, and spectators were treated to a thrilling showdown from a field that included the country’s 10 best horses and jockeys.
With just meters to go before the finish line of the race, Do It Again won by a nose, just beating Soqrat, who came in second, Rainbow Bridge, who took third place and last year’s winner, Legal Eagle, who placed fourth.
The two-day event on Friday and Saturday attracted over 5 000 attendees, who arrived in their most stylish royal blue and white attire to take part in what is considered to be one of the most annually anticipated social occasions in Cape Town. Just some of the stars who took in the LQP splendour included Springboks Siya Kolisi and Steven Kitshoff, Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green, actress Nomzamo Mbatha, skateboarding star Jean-marc Johannes, actress Enhle Mbali-Maphumolo, and DJs Sphectacular and Naves.
With its reworked layout and playful short-format race card set to jazz, L’Ormarins brut and endless Cape summer sunshine, Friday’s relaxed LQP Garden Party showcased L’Ormarins hospitality at its beguiling best. The exquisitely dressed garden invoked a fun, playful mood, providing the ideal antidote to a week at the office as well as the perfect festive season extension for those still on holiday.
Friday’s short-format eight-race card offered two features, one of which saw Princess Irene walk off with the Ardmore Jamaica Handicap while Clouds Unfold won the Cartier Sceptre Stakes (Grade 2) in a nail-biter.
Saturday’s card kept race-goers glued to the rail as South Africa’s finest horsemen and their equines did battle for the spoils and spectators were treated to unparalleled racing, including the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and Cartier Paddock Stakes (Grade 1) race, the only South African race which allows winners entry into the elite Breeders’ Cup Mile in the USA, as well as the Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Stakes (Grade 2) and BMW Politician Stakes.
But the entertainment didn’t stop at the rail.
Cape Town’s premier horseracing and social festival ticked all the boxes track-side too, and there was equally fierce competition in the competitions for best-dressed and best hat, with spectacular prizes being awarded to Catherine Fivaz (who won Best Dressed Woman), SABC 3 Top Billing’s Presenter Search winner, Fez Mkhize (for Best Dressed Man) and Elizabeth Charleston for Best Hat.
The Cape Minstrels treated visitors to an authentic taste of Cape Town, parading just before the main race, and finally, once the jockeys had hit the showers and the last horses had been loaded up to go back to their stables for the night, revellers joined under the jewelled sky for the legendary LQP after-party to dance the night away under the skillful direction of DJ p.H. and Major League DJz – making it a day to remember.
“The growth and success of the first multi-day LQP Racing Festival in 2017 cemented its place as one of the world’s top horseracing events. We look forward to taking the festival to even greater heights in 2020,” says LQP organiser Katherine Gray.