TRAINER Adam Marcus, seen here in the pre-race parade with his star four-year-old Vardy, says he was very pleased with Vardy’s fast-finishing second in Saturday’s Gr1 Gold Challenge.

Vardy (5-2) favourite, was beaten just under a length by the powerhouse Rainbow Bridge, his tra-ditional rival, and Marcus feels that he would have caught up to the winner in just a few more strides

He said: “Nothing really went Vardy’s way. The race was run at a crawl, he came into the straight wide and had to make up plenty of ground off a slow pace on the hard galloper Rainbow Bridge, who dictated the race.

“But I was impressed with his turn of foot. He ran on so well and after this race I am happy that he will see out the 2200m of the Durban July. I had my reservations, but now I am confident he will be fine over the trip.”

Vardy and Rainbow Bridge are likely to top the July weights at 60kg, with Do It Again at 59,5kg and Bunker Hunt, Belgarion and Got The Greenlight off 53kg.“The four-year-olds, Belgarion and Bunker Hunt, will be the best weighted in the race. I respect Got The Greenlight but the three-year-olds haven’t raced against this calibre of older horse before,” he said.

Vardy’s tongue was notably hanging out and swing-ing to his side throughout the race and Marcus commented: “He has a parrot mouth and does that with his tongue sometimes. His tongue was under the bit, that is not a concern, it does not interfere with his breathing.”

Pic: Vardy with trainer Adam Marcus. (Candiese Lenferna).