VARDY’s party-owner Greg Blank has always been known to have discovered the Fountain Of Youth – he drinks from it in Camps Bay these days following his departure from Johannesburg.
When we picked up the number ‘41’ in a televised interview with the colourful Blank after Saturday’s Queen’s Plate we thought he was referring to his age, because he doesn’t look a day older than that. He was, however, mentioning that Vardy was his 41st Gr1 winner, and he’s actually 61 years of age.
Blank’s roll started way back in the 1980s when he raced Dancing Danzig with his father at Diane Stenger’s yard – she won three Gr1’s. Then followed a string of successes over many years including David Ferraris-trained Forward Filly and North By Northwest, Sean Tarry’s Regal Ransom, Robbie Sage’s Pointing North and many others leading to Vardy, who could turn out to be the best of the whole bunch.
He tells: “I’ve had two seconds in the Met, and a short-head defeat in the Durban July when Young Rake was placed second to El Picha.” (In one of the most controversial judges’ decisions in the history of the race).
“Maybe this year it all could change, because our aim with Vardy has always been the Sun Met. After the Green Point our trainer Adam Marcus told everyone Vardy was 75% fit, I’d say he was 90% on Saturday so we have more in the tank going into the Met.
“Adam has done a remarkable job. Vardy actually raced with a knee-chip as a younger horse, it didn’t bother him but after he won the Winter Classic we decided to have it removed while he was so healthy and fit. We selected his races carefully and Adam brought him back to his peak to rack up these big wins. We are proud and thankful.”
Interestingly Blank bought Vardy’s dam, Cupid (Jet Master), from the late Chris Gerber, who had her in training with Alec Laird but she unfortunately cracked her hip and never raced. “I pulled Jimmy Sarkis into Cupid and we retired her to Klawervlei Stud.
“Cupid produced Vardy’s half-brother (by Dynasty), a two-year-old also in training with Adam, and she has another smart half-brother to Vardy on sale this week at CPYS. He’s a stunner by Gimmethegreenlight. Cupid is presently in foal to Querari.”
Vardy is owned in partnership by Blank, Bernard Kantor, Darryl Yutar and Sarkis.