The Gr2 Drill Hall Stakes at Hollywoodbets Greyville on 1 May could well be the SA Champions Season launch pad for Adam Marcus sensational L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner Vardy.
Currently quoted at 8,33-1 in the Hollywoodbets Vodacom Durban July ante-post market, the son of Var had no luck in the Sun Met when he was nearly brought down as he clipped the heels of Mike de Kock’s favourite Hawwaam early on.
The charismatic athlete, who runs in the bright yellow Kantor flag, has captured the imagination of the South African racing public. But he was a bit worse for wear after an unhappy race in the Cape flagship.
Trainer Adam Marcus told the Sporting Post today that his star was near back to his old self but would be given a nice break at Milnerton before the transfer to Summerveld for South Africa’s premier season.
“It’s a well known fact that he is not a straightforward horse. Besides his delicate mouth, things have to go his way. He got all the attention and care he needed. I put him on a soft feed, got him relaxed again and he has shown signs of being his old self again.”
Adam said that, while nothing was cast in stone and plans with thoroughbreds were always fluid, the Drill Hall would be a good starting point for Vardy, with the July and other major races like the Gold Challenge and even the Champions Cup on the radar.
“Obviously the 2200m of the July remains an unknown. Given what happened in the Met, we still are none the wiser if he will get 2000m or beyond. And the July is a handicap, so we need to look at the overall picture – weight and quality of opposition being two chief factors,” added Adam.
He said that that on the flipside, Vardy’s yard-mate Twist Of Fate had come through his fourth finish in the Sun Met with flying colours. The son of Master Of My Fate is currently at 12,5-1 with Hollywoodbets’ long-term July betting market and ran third in last year’s Vodacom Durban July behind Do It Again. His track record shows that he loves the Hollywoodbets Greyville circuit.
“If Twist Of Fate gets a nice weight in the July, he is a mature stronger horse this year and could be a serious runner. He is a genuine horse who never runs a bad race.”
Adam, who is visiting KZN for the third time on his own account, having achieved plenty of success with his Dad Basil over many years earlier, said that his very select string would include his Cape Fillies Guineas victress Missisippi Burning, and the solid Geoff Woodruff stayer, Dharma.
“Missisippi Burning is on a well deserved break after her big victory in December and will have the Gr1 Garden Province Stakes on July day as her main mission. We will also likely target the WSB Fillies Guineas at the start of the season, and then possibly use the Tibouchina Stakes in June to keep her on the boil,” he added, saying that he would be discussing all plans and ideas with his owners.
The Winter Derby and Cape Summer Stayers winner Dharma, who is looked after at Milnerton by Lucinda Woodruff for her Dad, Geoff, will probably target the Gold Cup on Super Saturday.
“He is a solid stayer and there are some nice distance races for him en route to the Gold Cup. He will be stabled with us,”confirmed Adam.
The young trainer, who has had a dream season to date with two Gr1 trophies on his display cabninet, said that he would rather look after a small string of genuine feature race prospects and would not be considering additional horses at this stage of the game.
“It’s not an inexpensive exercise to travel to KZN for the three months. But we have the firepower this season to be competitive and I’m looking forward to the challenge of taking on the best again.”
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