SPARINGLY raced four-year-old Vardy has at least two things in common with his human namesake (Jamie) Vardy, who leads the goal-scoring log in the current British Premier League season, playing for Leicester City. Both have blistering pace, and both have a coach who knows what he’s doing.
Former football star Ian Wright described Jamie Vardy as, “… a player who was a substitute behind more established players, and ended it as the top scorer… one who creates constant work for defenders…”
The rising equine star came from last in Saturday’s Green Point Stakes over 1600m, took firm control 150m out and ran a host of established stars ragged for trainer up-and-coming trainer Adam Marcus and jockey Craig Zackey.
Vardy (10-1) beat the formidable classic miler One World into second, with Rainbow Bridge into third and Pack Leader taking fourth spot. Gr1 winners Undercover Agent and Do It Again were further back, clearly needing their runs
Nothing detracts, however, from Vardy’s win. He, too, came off a seven-month rest and according to Marcus, with only a single hard gallop coming into the Green Point, was only 75 – 80% fit himself.
“Vardy has improved physically and mentally, I told his owners he’s a different horse,” said Marcus, whose training feat on the day will go down as nothing short of terrific.
“The way he beat One World in the Winter Classic (back in May), was sensational. I always had in the back of my mind, taking on the big guns – in this case a multiple July winner, a Met winner, a Queen’s Plate winner and more.
“For Vardy to move past horses of this calibre like he did today was just very exciting, I am so proud of him.”
Zackey added: “He is special, a very good horse and I am fortunate to be associated with him, and to have built up a good relationship with him and his connections.”
Owned by Bernard Kantor, Greg Blank, Jimmy Sarkis and Darryl Yutar, Vardy is five from eight with R1,163-million in stakes.
Bred by the Tawny Syndicate, he’s a son of Avontuur Stud’s VAR and Cupid, a daughter of champion broodmare sire, Jet Master.
While the Green Point Stakes should have been Adam Marcus first career Gr 1 winner – it continues to boggle the mind why this race has Gr2 status – he had to wait just a half an hour after Vardy’s win to chalk it up, officially.
Marcus and Zackey struck again in the prestigious Cape Fillies Guineas with 22-1 chance Mississippi Burning, a daughter of (guess who), Captain Al, and a welcome top-level success for owner Mario Ferreira.
Mississippi Burning came from well off the call – midfield in a big line-up, to smash the opposition by a surprising three lengths.
“She won really well. I was concerned about the mile, but rode her like she would stay. She’s one of the smallest fillies in Cape Town” said an elated Zackey.
“It’s a dream come true” said Marcus, celebrating his Maiden Gr1.