MIKE’S two runners for Saturday’s weight-for-age Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate over 1600m at Kenilworth, Link Man and Gibraltar Blue, arE both in good shape.
Matthew de Kock, assistant trainer, said, “They travelled very well and are both looking outstanding, so we are hoping for the best.”
Link Man on the gallop track, Thursday. (Liesl King).
Matthew added that their preparations were practically complete and they would just be taking it easy until Saturday.
The pair have drawn very well indeed in stalls two and three respectively.
Matthew said, “Gibraltar Blue likes to be handy and Link Man is more versatile, so the draws have given us a big advantage.”
He agreed that the mile was definitely the maximum trip for both of them and added, “I am not concerned that they don’t see out the mile, but I am concerned that if there is a south-easter blowing on the day it will make it tougher for them.”
Link Man was beaten into a 0,75 length third place by the Gavin van Zyl-trained pair The Apache and Seal in his last start at level weights in a Pinnacle Stakes event over 1600m at Turffontein and it was a slightly disappointing performance in terms of his Queen’s Plate winning chances, especially considering he had a better draw than the pair that finished ahead of him.
Matthew said, “It was not a true run race and he was a bit keen off a slow pace. I was not completely happy with the run, but was happy that it was a good enough preparation for the Queen’s Plate.”
He has been happy with Gibraltar Blue’s preparation.
Gibraltar Blue was beaten 0,75 lengths into third in last season’s Grade 1 Klawervlei Majorca stakes against the girls on J&B Met day last year and will need to step up on that performance to win the Queen’s Plate.
Matthew said, “That was almost a year ago and we are hoping she has improved since then.”
Being a Northern Hemisphere-bred she was indeed not yet four-years-old in reality when running that race (she was born in April 2007), so could well have improved more than the 0,5kg Northern Hemisphere allowance she was given that day.