Tommy Crowe and Nic Jonnson, the owners of Jet Dark, winner of Saturday’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth, have to decide whether to send their star three-year-old to the US for the Breeders Cup in November.

The winner of Saturday’s grade 1 race gets an automatic invite to the Breeders Cup championships which this year are scheduled to be held at Del Mar racecourse near San Diego on November 5 and 6. It is an iconic venue with its racetrack next to the beach. The slogan for the track is: “Come to the racecourse where the surf meets the turf.”

When trainer Justin Snaith travelled to Kenilworth on Saturday he would have had high hopes of winning the historic Queen’s Plate with his Vodacom July victor Belgarion or dual July winner Do It Again. He must have felt that three-year-old Jet Dark had a tough task against this duo as well as Rainbow Bridge and Cirillo.

However, under a perfect ride from Grant van Niekerk, Jet Dark rose to the occasion and his weight-for-age allowance allowed him to get the better of Rainbow Bridge and score by three-parts of a length.

Jet Dark, who cost R200,000 as a yearling, is a son of Trippi and was bred at Drakenstein Stud which hosted the behind-closed-doors meeting. In his previous outing, the colt had finished fourth behind Russian Rock in the Cape Guineas.

It was a fine start to the New Year for jockey Van Niekerk as he will want to forget 2020 in a hurry. He was shown the door by Hong Kong authorities in April after allegations of a domestic dispute.

Bookies will have cheered the result as Belgarion — unbeaten in his previous six races — was the subject of hefty support and started favourite at 9-10. Jet Dark attracted little interest and was sent off at 12-1.

When the betting on the Cape Met — scheduled for January 30 — settles down on Monday Belgarion and Rainbow Bridge will remain leading contenders as the first-named probably found Saturday’s 1,600m too short.

Rainbow Bridge’s second place took his career earnings to just shy of R6,7m so he continues to delight his owners Mike and Norma Rattray. They also own Golden Ducat — narrow winner of the Premier Trophy — so are likely to be double-handed in the Met.

Summer Pudding’s legion of fans will have shed a tear or two after Paul Peter’s filly surrendered her unbeaten record in the grade 1 Paddock Stakes. The Summer Cup winner never got a blow in as — for the second year running — Queen Supreme came out on top.

“She upped her game big-time today,” enthused winning trainer Mike de Kock, who was at the track to welcome his winner. This column has been advising early support for the mare for the Met for several weeks and her price is certain to shorten after this performance.

Summer Pudding — racing on a left-hand track for the first time — appeared to have every chance and seems unlikely to turn the tables on Queen Supreme in the Met.

The Snaith stable also took Saturday’s Design Indaba Stakes in which six-year-old Kasimir added to his bankroll when notching the 10th win of his career.


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