Anton Marcus on Hill Fifty Four wins the 2014 J&B Met at Kenilworth Racecourse on Saturday. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/PETER HEEGER
Anton Marcus on Hill Fifty Four wins the 2014 J&B Met at Kenilworth Racecourse on Saturday. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/PETER HEEGER

Not many SA sportspeople earn  R785,00 in one day, but that was  about the earnings of 48-year-old jockey  Anton Marcus at the conclusion of the Sun Met meeting at Kenilworth on Saturday.

One can only surmise what SA sporting legend Gary Player, in Cape Town for last week’s CTS sale and Saturday’s big meeting, thought of the payday if he cast his mind back to 1959. That was the year he won his first major golf championship— the British Open — and you can be sure his winner’s purse was paltry compared  with what Marcus banked at the weekend.

Former champion Marcus has always maintained that his major objective in the sport is to capture the big races, and he was true to his word on Saturday.

His three successes came in the R5m CTS 1,200 on the favourite Cirillo; the R5m CTS 1,600 on another market leader, One World; and the cherry on the top,  victory on Rainbow Bridge in the R5m Sun Met.

Assuming the jockeys’ winning purse is 10% of the winner’s cheque his two CTS triumphs will have netted him R500,000 and the Met success R285,000.

Marcus is rated as one of the country’s most level-headed sportspeople,  yet the occasion got to him after the Met — that became clear in the post-race interview. He had brought home a horse owned by the late Chris Gerber, held in the highest regard by everyone in racing who  died in 2018.

How Gerber would have loved to have seen his blue-and-yellow colours flash past the post first in the Cape’s most famous race — it had long been his objective as well as winning the Durban July, which is probably now very much in the thinking of trainer Eric Sands.

After Head Honcho had established a lead he didn’t look like relinquishing, Marcus made his move on Rainbow Bridge. He got his mount to the front in the closing stages and then held off  the late charge of the favourite, Do It Again.

It was a big result for bookmakers to beat Do It Again as the Justin Snaith inmate was regarded as a good thing by  most pundits, but the four-year-old’s backers knew this  would be no walk  in the park when the commentator called the gelding towards the rear of the field.

Head Honcho kept on to fill third place to earn the third cheque of R500,000 with Undercover Agent shading former champion Legal Eagle for fourth place.

The disappointment of the race was 2018 heroine, Oh Susanna, with the Aussie-bred stablemate of Do It Again never in the hunt in the home straight.

Chris van Niekerk, a director of CTS, which staged the Cape Premier Yearling Sale last week where the top price was R4m, was understandably overjoyed when Marcus scored a decisive victory on his three-year-old, Cirillo, in the CTS 1200.

Not only did Van Niekerk pocket the first prize of R2.5m, but the Sean Tarry inmate is a son of Pomodoro who carried Van Niekerk’s colours to victory in the 2012 Durban July.

Just 35 minutes later, Marcus made it a red-letter day for the connections of One World and brought trainer Vaughan Marshall’s three-year-old home to make amends for his defeat when sent off the favourite for  the Cape Guineas in December.

One World is a son of deceased champion sire Captain Al, whose last progeny sold like hot cakes at last week’s sale at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Another of Captain Al’s progeny, Kasimir, provided Do It Again’s jockey, Richard Fourie, with a grade 1 winner at the meeting with the four-year-old finding a great turn of foot to put his rivals to the sword in the R1m Betting World Cape Flying Championship.