Pocket Power: stable are delighted with the horse's preparationPICTURE: goldcircle.co.za
Pocket Power chases fourth Queen's Plate
Preview: South Africa, Saturday
Kenilworth: L'Ormarins Queen's Plate (Grade 1) 1m, turf 2.20pm GMT
POCKET POWER, unbeaten in eight starts over 1m at Kenilworth, is sure to start odds-on to win his fourth consecutive Queen's Plate at the Cape Town course on Saturday.
The three-time horse of the year has often proved vulnerable at the two Durban courses, Greyville and Clairwood, but not at Kenilworth where he is the undisputed king.
He meets his nine rivals at level weights in this historic race, first run in 1861 when in was named in honour of Queen Victoria.
Pat Cosgrave: rides Strategic NewsPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Unlike earlier in the season whenhis disinterested homework was a cause for concern, Pocket Power's stable are delighted with his preparation.
Candice Robinson, daughter and assistant to trainer Mike Bass, said: "To win this for the fourth time seems an impossible feat to achieve but he is in great shape and he looks outstanding."
Kapil, a length-and-a-half away in third 12 months ago, has in two recent sprints confirmed trainer Stan Elley's view that he is better this term, but the bookmakers rate Big City Life a more potent danger.
The Durban July winner was no match for Pocket Power when the pair reappeared over half a furlong less here five weeks ago but trainer Glen Kotzen is adamant that his runner has come on considerably.
Kotzen said: "Most definitely he has. The horse has been really doing well and he is in top class form."
Pat Cosgrave, thankful that he decided to give England's Siberia-like winter a miss, has his first South African Grade 1 ride on Strategic News.
But trainer Dylan Cunha is not optimistic, saying: "The horse's real mission is the J & B Met and we will be happy if he finishes fourth or fifth here."
Also on Saturday. . .
Kenilworth: Paddock Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1f, f&m turf, 12.55pm GMT
LEICESTER-born Mike Bass has a real chance of initiating a famous big race double with Pocket Power's full sister River Jetez, who was beaten only a head in last year's Paddock Stakes and has won her last two.
River Jetez: just beaten last yearPICTURE: Goldcirle
Bass is responsible for four of the 11 runners including the lightly raced Croc Valley and the smart Love Is In The Air.
He said: "River Jetez has been doing very well in her preparations and is well suited to the conditions. But I wouldn't be surprised if Love Is In The Air proves to be goodenough while Croc Valley is improving all the time."
Mother Russia is the ante-post favourite and trainer Mike de Kock predicted that there would still be a bit to come when she won in good style at Turffontein last time.
There was precious little to choose between Sparkling Gem and Mother Russia last season but there is a big doubt about Justin Snaith's filly getting the trip.
This season's three-year-old fillies have been widely described as below par but Field Flower won the Cape Fillies Guineas (over 1m) like an improver who will appreciate this extra furlong.