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Vardy – Now For The Sun Met!

'Chaotic' start casts cloud over premier race

Young Milnerton trainer Adam Marcus took another step up the ladder in his fast ascending career when he celebrated his second Gr1 success.

It was also another L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate victory for Avontuur superstar Var, when the lightly-raced 4yo Vardy streaked to victory in the 159th running of the R1,5 million weight-for-age mile at a sundrenched Kenilworth on Saturday.

Variety Club was Var’s previous LQP winner back in 2013, but it has been a champagne few weeks for the 30 year old Marcus.

A royal salute as Craig Zackey and Vardy celebrate the big win (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Three weeks ago the son of South Africa’s champion international jockey Basil Marcus trained his maiden Gr1 winner when Missisippi Burning – like Vardy, ridden by Craig Zackey  – won the Cape Fillies Guineas at the same venue.

Labelled as the likely race of the season, and with weeks of feverish marketing in the build-up, the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate hit shaky ground on the eve of the off with a twenty minute delay at the start as a result of various issues.

Apparently the eventual winner’s stablemate Twist Of Fate and the Kotzen longshot Pack Leader spread shoes, while defending champion Do It Again had an issue with his bridle. We are yet to have sight of the Stipes report but Richard Fourie labelled it ‘chaos at the start’ in a later interview.

The field was eventually despatched after the lengthy delay to an even break, and it was Crown Towers who predictably went up to lead from Rainbow Bridge, Do It Again and Hawwaam.

In the run for home, Crown Towers drifted out as Rainbow Bridge looked dangerous.

But with Hawwaam going up and down, and One World staying on, it was Vardy (17-2) who unleashed a powerful run from last, and set himself up as a serius Sun Met candidate as he soared down the Kenilworth straight.

He went  straight as an arrow in his new bit to beat the gallant One World (16-1) by 1,25 lengths in a time of 97 secs flat.

Part owner Bernard Kantor thanks Craig Zackey (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Rainbow Bridge (12-1) was always thereabouts but had nothing to come and finished a neck away in third, with Marcus rounding off the quartet with Twist Of Fate (55-1) beaten a further three quarters of a length in fourth.

The odds-on favourite Hawwaam was beaten 3,30 lengths into fifth after looking quite uncomfortable and unsettled in running.

Defending champion Do It Again (8-1) was a length behind Hawwaam in another flat run from the dual July winner.

His stablemate Soqrat was never in the race and ran close on 9 lengths back in an antic-climax for the De Kock team after their Paddock Stakes high of an hour earlier.

See the updated Hollywoodbets Sun Met betting here

British High Commissioner Nigel Casey presented the trophies.

A breathless Mauritzfontein-Wilgerbosdrift sponsored Craig Zackey said afterwards that he ‘knew he was going to win’.

“He was off the bit throughout the race and then he picked it up turning for home. He has a turn of foot like no other!” he added.

Trainer Adam Marcus is getting used to the big days. He said that Vardy came from last ‘and that’s no easy feat!’

“The plan was to sit midfield – but with the delay the guys wanted to get going. I’m thrilled and so happy for the owners and my team,” said Marcus, who will now be looking at SA Champions Season box bookings at Summerveld – but the Sun Met is only three weeks away!

The thrilled connections (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Bred by the Tawny Syndicate/ Klawervlei, Vardy is out of the unraced Jet Master mare Cupid.

He is a son of Avontuur’s superstar flagbearer Var (Forest Wildcat).

Racing in the same silks as those carried by Do It Again, who won last year, Vardy has won 6 races with 3 places from 9 starts for stakes of R2 302 200 for Bernard Kantor, Greg Blank, Jimmy Sarkis and Darryl Yutar.

Vardy’s half-brother by Gimmethegreenlight comes up as #174 on Thursday’s Cape Premier Yearling Sale.


Gr1 L’ormarins Queen’s Plate (SAf-Gr1)

Kenilworth, South Africa, January 11, R1.5 million, 1600m, turf, good, 1.37.37

1 – VARDY (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Var (USA) – Cupid (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF). Owner Messrs B Kantor, G L Blank, J Sarkis & D Yutar; Breeder Tawny Syndicate; trainer AN Marcus; jockey C Zackey
2 – One World (SAF), 60.0, b c 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Aquilonia (USA) by Giant’s Causeway (USA)
3 – Rainbow Bridge (SAF), 60.0, b g 5, Ideal World (USA) – Halfway To Heaven (SAF) by Jet Master (SAF)
Margins: 1.25, 0.05, 0.75


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25 comments on “Vardy – Now For The Sun Met!

  1. INNOCENT says:

    Quality horse and a top horse indeed what a star is Vardy

  2. Cameron James says:

    It’s clear to see DIA needs more ground now. Richard was bustling him out a long way from home. Even 2000m maybe a bit short.

  3. jai says:

    new champ in the making beat the best .
    well done vardy!!!!!!

  4. Tracy Low says:

    Where are all the know it all’s from camp Hawwaam now ? Rainbow bridge the ever consistant trier.
    Doesn’t know how to “not show up for work”.

  5. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Mr Ed, Pls can you post link for this race.

    Well done to Vardy connections, also the 2nd horse, never runs a bad race…
    These 2 are doing what DIA and RB did in last years races.

    Note your article contacting Anton, sharp on the ball. Agree, Hawwaam will be back, won’t let PA and QT players down again.

    1. Editor says:

      Sure Cecil- thanks

      Here we go:

  6. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Thank You ?

  7. Michael Jacobs says:

    Hawwaam is over-rated. He had beaten nothing of note prior to this race, besides Twist of Fate and Cascapadiea.

    I wonder if Frankie Hawwaam has got any views on the race?

  8. Garrick Bergh says:

    Congratulations to Vardy on taking the Queens Plate. Top performance.

    But I’ll nail my colours to the mast right now & eat humble pie if I’m wrong :

    If Vardy lines up in the Met he will represent the first ‘best lay’ of the new decade.

  9. Nico says:

    @Rian.. You still think i need to get my head checked up when i said Vardy has developed into a better horse than DIA and is the next best thing after Hawaam?

    If so, can you please sponsor me so i can go have it checked up

    Oh and i also said DIA will not win another grade one.. I’ll stand by that..

  10. Beatle says:

    I don’t think any of our horses would be able to compete with the best in the world – Hawwaam could run a better Met race if not well drawn ,raced far to handy , better from off the pace – Do It Again would really surprise me if ran in the first 4 in Met – Vardy looks hard to oppose at this stage Rainbow Bridge would be the best place bet on the day , the most honest around

  11. Art says:

    Always a delay when Hawaam races.Problems with a bridal?Someone please enlighten me what causes s problem with a bridle on arguably the second biggest race day on the calendar .I am not familiar with horse equipment Was it not checked before going down to the start.?What happened to the bridal from the time the horse left the parade ring until it arrived at the start.?Is it old equipment?Two (2) horses spread shoes going down to the start.Do horses get checked by farriers and trainers before a race or does the spreading of a shoe just happen?

  12. Rian says:

    Hey Nico, didn’t mean to offend , but really can’t remember as on pensioner list and as Frankie says still a Nov
    I watched Vardy beat One World for first time before July last year and said on SP he was my horse for July if he ran
    Marcus put him away to grow and Wow he was spot on….

  13. Prasheen harrimohan says:

    Guys the excuse for hawaams bad run is the delay that is nonsense. He got hammered accept it. He finally met his Moses. He finally met the big guns. A true champion will win a race no matter what obstacles arose. Soo stop making excuses for hawaam. Ps remember he got beat by a pe horse before. Frankie zackey where are you. No comment from you.

  14. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Guys, Pls give Frankie a break, he is a Cool guy… Passionate racing man.. Hawwaam will be back, so will Frankie, small setback

    ? I think he is travelling back from CT to Egoli with the Greyhound, no signal / data

  15. Deezo Snyman says:

    Vardy is probably the best miler in this country at the moment. Variety Club was exceptional and was voted the second best miler in the world after winning in Hong Kong. I have my doubts about Vardy staying 2000m in the Met. Unfortunately there are not many Grade 1s in this country that Vardy can compete in. The manner in which he won, he most certainly can participate anywhere in the world. The Goldolphin mile or the Shema Classic in Dubai are options or maybe a stint in Hong Kong, similar to Variety Club. The world is his oyster.

  16. Deezo Snyman says:

    I stated earlier that Vardy could run in the Godolphin Sheema classic, which is incorrect. The Sheema classic is 2400m. The Godolphin international mile in Dubai is the preferred race including the Hong Kong International mile, similar to Variety Club’s path.

  17. Andre says:

    Isn’t this what racing is all about ? We all have our favorites when it comes to good horses. My take, Hawwaam had a flat run and will be back but is he good enough to take on the best? Wow, what a breath of fresh air has Vardy not been ? The way he switches off at the back and that turn of foot I have no doubt he will see out the Met trip. Heads up heads down over the last 300m Vardy and RB what a race its going to be.

  18. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Cecil I’m still in shock and licking my wounds brother,,suppose it’s the no brainers that are chirping again and are obviously talking from their (ticky)pockets…I’m not going to give my views on Hawwaam and what transpired for the simple reason had one watched the race Hawwaams race was over at the 800m,,thank goodness for in-running betting we managed to dump quite a bit of stock back…Chatting with MDK on whatsapp late last night he wasn’t a happy man…Cecil one really needs to draw a line through Hawwaams run 99.9 % of the racing industry that knows and understands the game knows that that was not the Hawwaam we know he’s much much better than that…Hawwaam will set the record straight in the Met that’s for sure…Well done to Vardy and his followers,,wow was that impressive

  19. Chief says:

    Racing has always been the so called spot correct predictors, but none of these so called champs will ride in races in Meydan or UK but Soqrat and Hawaam yes, top quality but local pray that these horses must fail, everyone knows the anti behaviour towards foreigners

  20. Ronny says:

    So when are we going to have the discussion about the Merit Ratings System in South Africa? On Pure Merit and ability, No Horse in SA should be over 130 or even close to that…lets just wait to see which line horse the handicappers will use for the Queens Plate?

  21. Seattle Slew says:

    Brilliant win by Vardy and, quite understandably, most of the focus has been on his victory and Hawwaam’s below-best effort.

    I just want to give a shout-out to the placed horses: One World doesn’t know how to run a bad race and Twist of Fate, for the first time this season, looked something close to his 3-year-old self. Both come of out the race with plenty of credit.

    And what of Rainbow Bridge? We know he is temperamental, he would have definitely been affected by the delay at the start and he found himself in front early on off a farcically slow pace. You could see from his head carriage that he was not happy and the race was definitely not run to suit – but despite this, he plugged away for a very creditable third. I don’t think we quite appreciate how good this fellow is, never finishing out of the top 4 despite bumping top company race after race. I still think he is more likely to run a place in the Met than win it, but I’d be delighted if he proved me wrong and doubled up on last year’s victory.


    Seattle Slew, excellent summation

  23. Richard Letwaba says:

    Vardy, just like Pocket Power, has a bursting turn of foot. This is Jet Master’s gene. I don’t know of any Var staying 2000m. Please help if I missed something.

  24. Mux says:

    Do it again beat Rainbow Bridge in similar fashion in the 2019 queens plate comparing how vardy past hawaam over the mile in the 2020 queens plate. Marcus ironically now in a similar
    Situation to last year now, you decide if hawaam is still the worthy favorite for the 2020 sun met.

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