1987 Gr1 Queen's Plate

 

Whether Mark Anthony has it in him to become a household name remains to be seen.  he has the good looks and appealing head and eye that make people take a horse to their hearts, but his achievements may be limited by the foot trouble he has had since a foal.  As Terrance Millard says, he has been “kept in cotton wool” right from the start, even missing last Natal winter season because of his feet;  but this simply serves to emphasise what Mark Anthony has achieved from the limited opportunity he has had.  His performance in the Cape Derby, coming from the tail of the field to win after almost being brought down, suggested that he had star potential.  He won his next three races even more impressively, spreadeagling his rivals, and then established his class beyond all doubt in the Queen’s Plate.

Bush Telegraph was sent out an even-money favourite for the prestigious weight-for-age Queen’s Plate, but turned in a below-par performance over the Kenilworth 1600m, fading to finish second last, more than 13 lengths back.  He was examined later and found to be suffering from heart strain and is still being rested.

Swinging into the straight in the Queen’s Plate it was Mark Anthony’s stable-companion, the brilliant three-year-old Royal Chalice whom Felix Coetzee had elected to ride, who swept to the front.  He went clear of the field and with 300m to go was being called home a winner.  It was then that Mark Anthony put in his run.  With seeming nonchalance he strode forward on the rail, taking the measure of Royal Chalice at the 200-marker and going on to beat him by 2 lengths – the defunct sire Royal Prerogative (GB) thus having the rare distinction of siring both Queen ‘s Plate winner and runner-up.

Prior to this Royal Chalice had won the weight-for-age Computaform Stakes for three and four-year-olds over the Kenilworth 1600m.  Usually one of the highlights of the early season, the race was no more than a farce.  The field slow-cantered for 800m and then sprinted up the straight, Royal Chalice getting first run and holding Young England to 3 3/4 lengths.

1987 Gr1 Queen's Plate

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