2017 Queen's Plate Preview

Superstar gallop Legal Eagle heads the betting for the Group 1 Queen's Plate at Kenilworth this Saturday.

Anton Marcus rides Queen's Plate favourite Legal Eagle
Anton Marcus rides Queen's Plate favourite Legal Eagle Picture: HKJC

There are five Group races on Saturday's bumper Kenilworth card but there can be little doubt that the highlight will be Legal Eagle stepping out looking to win what would be his third consecutive Queen's Plate.

Early betting has Legal Eagle odds-on to complete the hattrick and a quick look at his record shows why. Along with his two Queen's Plates Legal Eagle has four other Group 1 wins to his name (and three Group 1 seconds) and can claim to be the highest rated horse in South Africa in recent seasons.

In winning the Queen's Plate last year Legal Eagle returned a Timeform Rating of 124 and edged up on that assessment when running to 125 winning the Horse Chestnut Stakes at Turffontein in April.

That is fairly rare air in South Africa with ratings of 125 reserved for the likes of Pocket Power, JJ The Jet Plane and Variety Club in recent times.

As a lead up to the 2017 Queen's Plate, Legal Eagle has followed the same path he took to success last year, winning the Green Point Stakes at the course and distance in December.

It was a very similar performance to the one he posted last season and that he beat his main two rivals, Captain America and Gold Standard, comprehensively there confirms him as the odds-on chance the early betting has him marked.

Captain America and Gold Standard will again keep Legal Eagle honest but turning the tables looks certain to require the champ to be off his game.

Perhaps the most interesting betting option away from the odds-on Legal Eagle is the former Argentinian Hat Puntano who has made a bright start in South Africa and brings a different formline to the table.

Hat Puntano was a Guineas winner in Argentina and, after a less than glorious start, was off the mark at Group 2 level in South Africa at just the second time of asking posting a performance that hints at him being very capable of returning to the top.

He was turned over in the lead up to the Queen's Plate but did run very well giving weight around in a hot race at Turffontein and that looks a nice stepping stone for him just three weeks out from his Group 1 target.

Knocking off Legal Eagle is a mighty ask but he is a good horse and could be well worth an each way ticket.

Suggested Play: Back Hat Puntano each way in the Queen's Plate at Kenilworth.

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