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pocket power j&b met 2007

Pocket Power: South African legend faces stiff task in Queen's Plate

  PICTURE: Goldcircle.co.za  

Power chases fifth Plate and place in racing lore

Preview: South Africa, Saturday 2.55pm GMT

Kenilworth: L'Ormarins Queen's Plate (Grade 1) 1m, turf

POCKET POWER (Mike Bass/Bernard Fayd'Herbe) bids to make history at Kenilworth on Saturday by winning the Queen's Plate for the fifth successive season.

But the local bookmakers are taking the view that at the age of eight the legendary gelding's powers are on the wane.

In the last two yearshe started at odds-on but 5-2 is now freely available and Mike Bass, who is responsible for a third of the 15-strong field, understands why.

"He has probably lost some of his brilliance but he will run a big race and everything has gone pretty well with his preparation," he said.

The biggest danger according to the betting is Mother Russia (Mike de Kock/Anton Marcus), who has only 1lb to find with the champion on official ratings.

Mike De Kock

Mike De Kock: no win in this race

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham  

This is one of the few big South African races de Kock has never won and he sent the mare to Cape Town much earlier than usual in a bid to counter the effects of the 18-hour journey from Johannesburg.

But the horse Bass fears most is the unbeaten Fillies Guineas winner Ebony Flyer (Justin Snaith/Felix Coetzee), who is due to join Andre Fabre shortly, but is badly drawn.

Snaith said: "Number 13 is going to be a problem but her work has been exceptional and I believe that it will take a bad draw to beat her."

Past Master (Darryl Hodgson/Gerrit Schlechter) was impressive in the Diadem last time and Hodgson said: "I think he will be in the first three but we've all got to beat the champ."

This is the 150th running of the Queen's Plate and Pocket Power shares his four-win record with Riley, who won four races in three days when he won this for the third time in 1879.

Victory on Saturday would enable Pocket Power to join the US great Kelso as the only horses to win what is now a Grade 1 or Group 1 Flat race five years in a row. Kelso did it in the Jockey Club Gold Cup from 1960-64.

Also on Saturday. . .

Kenilworth: TBA Paddock Stakes (Grade 1) 1m 1f, turf, f/m (12.35pm GMT)

Flirtation (Mike de Kock/Randall Simons) sprang a 25-1 surprise in the Summer Cup and has been backed in to 18-10 favourite (from 3-1) with Betting World.

De Kock, who also runs 14-1 shot Zirconeum (Johnny Geroudis), has had mixed fortunes in this race. He has won it three times in the past nine years but has also sent out five beaten favourites during this period.

Love Is In The Air (Mike Bass/Bernard Fayd'Herbe) is second favourite after being beaten a neck by A Daughter's Legacy (Riaan Van Reenen/Glen Hatt) over a furlong less last time.

Bass said: "She has been doing well and running to form but she will need a bit of luck from her 11 draw."

A Daughter's Legacy has been showing sustained improvement and has won five of her last six but she is 5lb worse.

Van Reenen is playing down her chances, saying: "If she runs into a place, I will be over the moon."

 
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