South Africa

Nesius back in the saddle

2014-11-26 10:08
Karl Nesius (Supplied)

Cape Town - On Saturday, January 10, 2015, one of the most successful jockeys in South African history, Karl Nesius, will return to Kenilworth Racecourse with premier thoroughbred, Cape Town Noir, to defend their 2014 title at the Cape’s foremost equestrian eventand the first Major of 2015, the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (LQP).

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For top jockeys like three-time LQP champion, Karl, preparing for one of the world’s top five race days is a rigorous task that requires dedication, discipline and a stringent dietary regime and exercise programme. This often involves having to stay up to 10kg below regular weight or lose as much as 3kg through cardio exercise the day before the race or risk disqualification.

“In the months leading up to LQP, my training includes daily rides on sand and grass tracks as well as several hours at the gym, up to four times a week. I also follow a strict, low-fat diet to maintain a constant weight. On race day, I will arrive at Kenilworth early in the morning to train with the horses and strategise with their trainers for each of my races,” says Karl, whose race-day ritual starts with a morning sauna to focus and warm up.

With over 3 000 wins and every Major save one in a career spanning roughly 40 years to his credit, Karl sites his 2014 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate victory as the highlight of a successful year in racing, reflecting fondly on the race’s special connection to the British Royal Family and the fact that it is “always won by a ‘champion’ horse”.

Five-year-old colt (trained by Dean Kannemeyer for owner, Lady Christine Laidlaw), Cape Town Noir’s performance at LQP 2014 earned him last season’s title of South African Equus Champion Older Miler. The victory was also the continuation of a prosperous partnership with Karl that stretches back to Cape Town Noir’s earliest years in the sport, including all but one of the racehorse’s wins to date.

“A great racehorse needs to be a supreme athlete with a big heart and a will to win. Temperament also plays a huge part. Cape Town Noir is one such special horse and we have a fantastic rapport,” enthuses Karl, who has ridden over 50 Grade 1 winners.

At LQP 2015, the international equestrian fraternity will be paying particular attention to Karl and Cape Town Noir as the racehorse becomes only the second in history (since the legendary Pocket Power) to defend his L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate title, by competing for two years running, when the pair take to the track in pursuit of the R1 million purse.

Read more on:    horseracing

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