Charles Dickens Storms to Victory in L’ormarins King’s Plate

January 7, 2024

Charles Dickens gets a berth into Breeders’ Cup via King’s Plate victory. (Chase Liebenberg Photography and Design)

Beach Bomb takes Paddock Stakes for Guaranteed Starting Position into Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf

Double Success for Drakenstein Stud and Bass-Robinson

Breeders’ Cup Press Release

CAPE TOWN, South Africa ― Drakenstein Stud and trainer Candice Bass-Robinson savored double success with homebreds Saturday at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth Racecourse, sweeping the 163rdL’Ormarins King’s Plate (G1) with Charles Dickens (SAF) after landing the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) with the 3-year-old filly Beach Bomb (SAF).

Charles Dickens secured an automatic berth into the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, while Beach Bomb landed a guaranteed starting position in the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Now in its 18th season, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of stakes races, the winners of which receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled to be held Nov. 1-2 at Del Mar in Del Mar, California.

Charles Dickens, off at odds of 5-4, earned his 10th win in 13 starts when he stormed down the stretch under Aldo Domeyer on the outside of the 13-horse field, securing a 2 3/4-length victory over odds-on favorite See It Again (SAF) and avenging his third-place defeat to See It Again in the Dec. 2 World Sports Betting Green Point Stakes (G2) at Kenilworth.

Speed Machine (SAF) broke sharply and took the lead while Charles Dickens settled comfortably in eighth place about four paths off the rail. Coming around the far turn, Speed Machine opened up by 4 lengths but gave way as he entered the stretch. That’s when See It Again found a seam along the rail and took the lead. 

With 300 meters remaining, though, Domeyer urged Charles Dickens forward and the 4-year-old colt by Trippi rolled from eighth to first inside to the final 100 meters for a dominant win. Longshot Royal Aussie (SAF) finished third and defending champion Al Muthana (AUS) was fourth. In last year’s King’s Plate, Charles Dickens was defeated by a neck as the odds-on favorite. 

On the winner’s platform, Drakenstein owner Gaynor Rupert, paraphrasing author Charles Dickens from “A Tale of Two Cities,” said on 4 Racing TV: “We did have the worst of times and now we have the best of times. He really showed who he is today.”

Taking his third career Grade 1, Charles Dickens completed the mile in 1:37.88 over a course listed as good. 

Beach Bomb Edges Princess Calla to win Paddock Stakes

Beach Bomb bests favorite Princess Calla. (Chase Liebenberg Photography and Design)
Beach Bomb bests favorite Princess Calla. (Chase Liebenberg Photography and Design)

Sent off at odds of 5-2, Beach Bomb overcame a slow pace in the Cartier Paddock Stakes and surged from last place to overtake Princess Calla (SAF), South Africa’s reigning Horse of Year, by a neck.

Ridden by J.P. Van Der Merwe, Beach Bomb won her second straight Grade 1, having taken the Dec. 2 Word Sports Betting Cape Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth in her previous start.

Princess Calla, the even-money favorite, stayed just outside pacesetter Royals (SAF) before gradually moving to the front at the top of the stretch. However, she struggled to maintain her lead and despite a valiant effort, could not hold off Beach Bomb at the wire.

“She dropped the bit and was traveling well,” said Van Der Merwe. “I never panicked, and she was gutsy right to the line.”

Beach Bomb, a 3-year-old daughter of Lancaster Bomber, completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.16.

As a part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the pre-entry and entry fees for Charles Dickens and Beach Bomb to start in the World Championships. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 21 to receive the rewards.

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