Press Room



Cape Town’s most fashionable and glamourous streamed into Kenilworth Racecourse yesterday in their elegant blue and white to be part of the 157th running of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival. The  two day event saw over 5000 attendees, including international celebrities, racing fans and socialites from around the world, once again raising the bar against which other racing and social events will be measured. It is rare to find an event that consistently delivers a tone of poise, grace and beauty as does the LQP Racing Festival.

Adding to the allure of the occasion was the excitable tension in the crowd as they awaited to see if two-time South African Horse of the Year and defending Champion Legal Eagle would make history in becoming only the second horse in the long and coveted history of the event to win the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate for a third time: opposing him was a group of the best racehorses in the country.

Turning into the straight Legal Eagle was sitting in third place, a few lengths off powerful front-runner Captain America who with 300m to go was showing no signs of stopping. There was a palpable stir in the crowd as Legal Eagle started to reel in the leader, the cheers and shouting becoming louder and louder, all the while a chasing pack of horses also started to gain on Legal Eagle. The last moments of the race had the crowd in rapture, as it became clear how close the finish was going to be: Captain America and Legal Eagle rapidly being hunted down by a wall of opponents. Ultimately, in a dramatic and fitting climax, Legal Eagle collared Captain America metres from the line, while bravely holding off the onset of rivals flying up from behind.

In winning Legal Eagle also became only the second horse in South African history to earn more than R10 million, and overtook four-time L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate victor Pocket Power as the leading prize money earner in South African racing history.

“Starting with Friday’s Garden Party followed by Saturday’s excellent racecard and entertainment, guests were reminded again why the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival is regarded as one of the top five horseracing festivals in the world,” said LQP Racing Festival Coordinator, Katherine Gray.

The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival race card, spread over two days for the second year, featured a number of top class races apart of the flagship event, including the Cartier Paddock Stakes (Grade 1), which once again attracted a collection of the best fillies in the country. The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and Cartier Paddock Stakes are the only races in South Africa which gain the winner automatic entry into America’s prestigious Breeders’ Cup. Other prominent races included the Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Stakes (Grade 2), the Cartier Sceptre Stakes (Grade 2) and the BMW Politician Stakes (Grade 3).

Off the track the Cape’s premier horseracing and social festival was impressive as ever. On the Friday guests at the Garden Party were entertained by a full jazz band entertaining beautiful guests as they sipped on bottomless L’Ormarins Brut and Heineken while enjoying a delectable harvest table of gourmet delights.

On Saturday, thousands of Cape Town’s successful and beautiful arrived in their most stylish blue and white, to be part of one of the unmissable social occasions of the year. International and local celebrities and socialites were there to be part of the fun, most notably TV and radio personalities Bonang Matheba, Nomzamo Mbatha, Maps Maponyane, Tumi Voster, Cindy Nell, Liezel van der Westhuizen, Enhle Mbali Maphumulo and Leigh-Anne Williams, sport stars such as Chad le Clos, Jean-marc Johannes and Herschelle Gibbs and hip-hop artists Major League DJz.

 Other stellar entertainment during the day included performances by the colourful Cape Minstrels, who opened the L’Ormarins Queens Plate race, while the vinyl DJ crew from Cape Town, Roastin’ Records, energised the after-party crowd and set the evening up perfectly for the headline act of the night, DJ p.H., who sent the crowd wild as he sent the rocking after-party towards its memorable climax.

Adding to the extraordinary occasion was hip hop super star Riky Rick, also a guest in attendance, who took to the stage and blew guests away with a surprise impromptu performance.

The festival had numerous fashion competitions over the two days, with spectacular prizes from Cartier and L’Ormarins Wines on offer, as well as the coveted prize for the Best Dressed Lady being a trip-for-two to London for five nights in the British summer.

The award this year went to Mala Bryan, who will be jetted off to London in August, to attend the esteemed Glorious Goodwood racing festival, one of the world’s most famous horseracing events. Second place went to Danelle de Wet and Bonang Matheba in third place.

The best-dressed gentleman turned out to be Andrew Matsose, followed by Clive Roberts as the runner up and Hubert Gutsa in third place.

In true horseracing tradition, no best dressed competition is complete without celebrating the lady with the best hat, which this year went to Nosipho Dipela.

“We are very excited to see the immense growth and success of the LQP Festival, and already looking forward to taking the festival to even greater heights in 2019,” says Katherine Gray.


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