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L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate: the “blue-and-white” race

January 11, 2013

Queen's plate picThe Western Cape’s racing season kicks off tomorrow with one of its most prestigious horse racing events – the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town. This prestigious weight-for-age race sees the best 16 thoroughbred horses in South Africa accepted according to their merit ratings.

It was 1861 when the legendary Queen’s Plate race first thundered on African soil, with a prize of a silver plate and 500 sovereigns donated to the winner by Queen Victoria. The race signalled a meeting of racing excellence, style and grace that has continued throughout the history of South African horse racing.

This is the 152nd year in which this high-fashion, high-stakes event will take place, making it one of the best-established social events of the summer. As a horse-racing event it attracts the elite, not just because of the ticket prices but because the prize is enough to spur anyone on: the coveted trophy plus R1 million. The cream of the racing circuit – horses and jockeys – will again be competing for this handsome purse.

Sponsored by L’Ormarins since 2005, the event also showcases the winemaking skills of Anthonij Rupert. There will also be a selection of vintage cars on display from one of the leading collections in the world, courtesy of the Franschhoek Motor Museum.

If you’re there for the fun and a flutter on the horses, you’ll still be required to put your best fashion foot forward. The dress code is, as always, strictly white and blue. Executive promoter from events company SAIL, Michelle van Eyden, explains that the stud colours of the Drakenstein Stud Farm, located at L’Ormarins in Franschhoek, are blue and white: “The jockeys who ride any of the horses from the Drakenstein Stud ride in blue and white silks. This was woven into the event when L’Ormarins started to sponsor the event,” she says.

LOrmarins pic2

Eyden describes the event as an elegant day at the races: “Horse racing is something people don’t do every day so it offers an alternative entertainment and lifestyle option.” On what to wear she advises, “Definitely wear elegant blue and white – no jeans. There are great prizes to be won for the best dressed and best hat on the day.”

In the exclusive VIP Stud Club, guests will be able to rub shoulders with the country’s who’s-who. The popular Style Lounges have an uninterrupted view of the race track. Also on offer will be an array of culinary treats.

The Best Dressed and Best Hat competition will be judged by some of South Africa’s leaders in the fashion industry, such as Sam Walker (PopYaCollar), Emily Bell (Marie Claire), Jacqui Kolbe (Milliner) and Tammy Tinker (British Vogue). The winner of the Best Dressed title will win an exclusive Errol Arendz dress valued at R10 000 as well as an Elizabeth Arden hamper. Prizes for the Best Hat category include pieces from The Little Hattery, Elizabeth Arden hampers and fragrances from Cartier.

The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate will donate a percentage of ticket sales to the Montrose Foundation’s Equine Youth Development Programme. The eight-week programme offers personal and social projects for young people including building trust and orientation, self-awareness, anger and stress management, healthy habits and motivation to self-development.

Gates open at 11h00 at Kenilworth Racecourse, Rosebank Road, Kenilworth, Cape Town.

Tickets: R250 to Style Lounge; R900 to VIP Stud Club.


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