Hairdresser: What is the Queen’s Plate?
Me: You know the J&B Met?
Me: Well, it’s nothing like that.
The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate is the kind of event that one cuts one’s holiday short for. It is the one day of the year when wearing white won’t make you look like a bride and everyone is an expert in horses.
My first view of the racecourse was blocked by a man that reminded me inexplicably of a shower (not the political kind). Then, by Santex, it dawned on me that it was cricketer Jacques Kallis. Nice guy.
Five time winner Pocket Power opened the main race with an emotional lap around the course. A diehard Pocket fan next to me shed a tear as he gazed upon the now retired champion. Rebel to the colour scheme Gimmethegreenlight neatly won the race, possibly starting a legend of his own.
Joanne Strauss proved her presenting skills by pronouncing a Xhosa name that I can’t even spell. She was a stronger woman than most when she handed over the prizes for Best Dressed and Best Hat to Darielle Robertson and Kia Johnson respectively. Many of the finalists looked like they were ready to make grab and dash with the R 21 000 Cape Cobra Marmo/pearl python handbags.
Looking at those shortlisted as Best Dressed it’s not hard to understand why fashion designer Gavin Rajah tweeted about the fashion being mediocre and that the guys outshone the ladies. But off the podium there were a few outfits that beautifully upheld the iconic LQP white and blue. There seems to be a lot more creativity when restricted to only two colours, and the possibility of a wind that can blow away unpinned hats. The girl who came second in the Best Hat competition used the embellished belt of her dress as a headpiece. Jennifer Su worked a hat big enough to pass for a boat from Gulliver’s Travels.
What makes the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate so special is that the elegant touches are not just limited to the VIP areas. In the general areas there was more than enough seating and there were hardly any lines at the bar areas. Much appreciated, especially when one has taken the trouble to dress up.
Performances by The Kongos, Tumi & the Volume, Spoek Mathambo and DJ Sox rounded off the day’s proceedings in perfect pitch.
By Jana van Heerden
The 151st Queen’s Plate took place on Saturday 7 January 2012 at Kenilworth Race Course. View our photos of the event.