TRAINER Adam Marcus finds himself holding the trump cards for his home city of Cape Town’s biggest race, the Sun Met, a scenario which would have seemed unimaginable a couple of seasons ago, and he is thrilled with the well-being of his two contenders Vardy and Twist Of Fate, writes DAVID THISELTON.
“It is tough times at the moment but I am a fighter and that’s why we have got to where we have,” said Marcus.
Stable star Vardy, a four-year-old gelding by Var, is unbeaten since an operation to have a “small knee chip” removed. The chip was discovered after his third-placed finish to One World and Twist Of Fate in the CTS 1600 at last year’s Sun Met meeting.
The chip did not cause unsoundness or affect his performance in any way so he was able to carry on racing with it still there.
Marcus continued, “After his win in the Winter Classic we could have gone for the Winter Derby but we decided instead to operate before the chip did become an issue.”
Since the operation Vardy has won the Grade 2 Green Point Stakes and the Grade 1 L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate, both over 1600m. The Queen’s Plate was the third time in succession he had beaten One World into second place.
More importantly, however, he also had two of the country’s big three, Do It Again, Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam, beaten in the Green Point and he beat all three of them in the Queen’s Plate.
Marcus said, “He has come through the Queen’s Plate exceptionally well. The race is still a week-and -a-half way but at the moment he is better than ever.”
The big question, being by the speed influence Var, is whether he will stay the trip.
Vardy’s half-sister by Captain Al, Eros’s Girl, did win the Listed East Cape Oaks over 2000m at Fairview as a three-year-old for Justin Snaith, which gives Vardy hope on paper.
Marcus has little doubt about the trip and said, “Although by Var he is very athletic and I am of the opinion one of his best wins was in the Winter Classic. If you take a line through him and One World the form of that race has held up exceptionally well. So I have no concerns about him staying 2000m.
“One of his main assets is he switches off so beautifully around the turn and he can then use his exceptional turn of foot. He is versatile and has sat in the box seat in second and has come from last. He is a very intelligent horse, he is laid back and he knows what to do. He is a late maturer and is getting better all the time.”
All these assets should also help him overcome a tricky draw of nine.
Marcus said, “The draw is not really a concern as he can come from anywhere and I will leave it up to Craig (Zackey). It is not a big field of 20, there are only 14 horses, so there should not be too much of a mad scramble and the guys should find their positions relatively quickly.”
Marcus inherited Twist of Fate when trainer Joey Ramsden decided to close his Milnerton-based yard.
Marcus said, “Twist Of Fate has not had good luck with draws in the past so I am glad he has now landed another good draw.”
The four-year-old Master Of My Fate colt was drawn two in the Queen’s Plate and ran on well for a 2,05 length fourth.
He is now drawn three in the Met with Aldo Domeyer staying aboard.
Marcus said, “I have only had him for two runs so am still learning about him from run to run, but I think we are going to have him at his peak for the Met and he has a lot in his favour.”
He added, “When he was a three-year-old he was able to be handy and stay on as he has such a big heart.”
However, he then talked about this tactic having not been as effective in the Grade 2 Premier Trophy over 1800m in December, his first start for the yard.
“He led in that race and was overtaken by both Hawwaam and Bunker Hunt in the straight, finishing a five length third.
Marcus continued, “So because he is such a pleaser and can overdo it, we asked him to take a sit in the Queen’s Plate and then utilise that power later on in the race. He ran on very well and Aldo was very happy with the run.”
He concluded, “His overall soundness and health is very good. He is in a good place and I am very happy with his prep so far.”
Twist Of Fate has become the subject of a fairytale story as he was bought by the Mauritius-based River Palace syndicate for a mere R20,000 and has now earned R3,175,850 in stakes.
“It’s the sort of dream story which keeps racing alive,” said Marcus.
Furthermore, he said Twist Of Fate was always willing to do whatever was asked of him at home and, despite still being a colt, was “an angel” to train.
Marcus spoke highly of the owners of both Twist Of fate and Vardy.
The latter is owned by big players in the game, Bernard Kantor, Greg Blank, Jimmy Sarkis and Darryll Yutar.
Kantor also owns Do It Again and will be hoping to see his colours featured in a quick Vodacom Durban July/Sun Met double.
Marcus decided to avoid the Grade 1 Bidvest Majorca Stakes with his Grade 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas winner Missisippi Burning as she had drawn wide and he felt the quality of the older fillies at present would make it tough.
He said, “She is a young, lightly raced filly with a lot of ability and she might go for the Prix du Cap. But the SA Champions Season in KZN will be her main aim as she will be able to race against her own age group. She is small but compact and is all heart.” – Gold Circle.