Vardy, winner of last season’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and expected to be one of the favourites for South Africa’s premier mile race in January, will be out of action for several months after suffering an injury to his near-fore suspensory.

Trainer Adam Marcus, speaking at Kenilworth on Saturday said: “It’s not career-ending but he has a small lesion in the suspensory branch on his near-fore. I’ve dealt with injuries like this before and they take a lot of TLC but I am hoping that we can get him back on the course.

“The lesion is something that can heal with time and we picked it up immediately. We will give him the time he deserves. He is a gelding, and lightly raced – and we still hope that we can bring him back to his best.

“But for the moment one step at a time. We will rescan in two months and then we will be able to see the speed at which the injury is healing.”

Marcus disclosed that this is not the first time the five-year-old has suffered a serious setback, saying: “He is prone to issues. As a young horse he had surgery to remove chips from his near-fore knee and his off-fore fetlock. He is a big horse and this time he may have simply put his foot wrong during training.”

Justin Snaith, out of luck at Turffontein, won three of the other seven races but he disclosed that he has been going through a fair bit of soul-searching about the races in which he should risk his three-year-olds. Like most trainers, he has to consider what the handicappers would do to the horses’ ratings – and future chances – should they run well.

He said: “The handicappers are being instructed to make the ratings high in order to keep Grade 1 status for out top races but I feel we should instead focus on our own racing.”

Michael Clower from


  1. The MR ratings have absolutely nothing to do with the status of Graded races. Such a statement is false and misleading. I think Justin needs to do more soul searching before making such comments publicly.

    • Justin is presumably referring to the fact that internationally to attain or maintain Group One status, the average rating for the first four finishers in the race must be 115 or higher over a three-year period.

  2. Mr Editor – your assumption of what is meant is out of context with the paragraph preceding the last. Justin is clearly not referring to the APC (Asian Pacific Conference) ratings of which you refer (115+) and which are quite separate from the MR “handicappers” and their MR ratings which apply in SA races. This you should know from your time at the NHA.

    If he were referring to the APC ratings, then what exactly have those ratings to do with soul searching in races where MR’s apply and not APC ratings? And just what is the presumed correlation between MR ratings, which he would seek to avoid, and the APC ratings? The latter have no impact on MR ratings at all and the correlation between them is loose and entirely as a result of their use of a similar, but not exact, method of calculating a rating.

    There is no instruction to the handicappers to raise APC ratings in order to retain Graded status for Grade 1 races. This is pure fiction and an invention. I know this factually as I have audited the APC ratings on behalf of the NHA for the past two years and there has been no increment in those ratings on average in the last completed season 2019/20.

    Factually there has been a drop in the average rating for season 2019/20 compared to the prior four seasons. There are also fewer South African raced horses rated 115+ in 2019/20 compared to season 2018/19. The handicappers in consultation with the APC handicappers have been more severe in rating Pattern races in 2019/20 than in the past and that trend remains into the current season – 2020/21. There simply is no evidence of an increase in ratings and Grade 1 ratings.

    Who exactly is the body or person that Mr Snaith (and Clower) refers to that that has instructed the handicappers to raise ratings in order to maintain Grade 1 status for races? And having done so what do they make of the fact that ratings dropped into 2019/20?


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