Marcus has a point to prove on Met favourite Hawwaam
Jockey aims to make amends for loss on Mike de Kock’s horse in L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate
There is a worry for supporters of Rainbow Bridge, Vardy and Do It Again in Saturday’s R3m Sun Met at Kenilworth — top Anton Marcus will not be giving it 100%. He will be giving it 110%.
The reason? Marcus, who is bidding for his fourth success in the Cape’s premier race, will be well aware of the criticism by trainer Mike de Kock of his ride on Hawwaam in the recent L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
De Kock told the media after the Queen’s Plate: “Anton was obsessed getting away from the rail. I struggle to think why — when you are in the perfect position — to take the shortest way home, he didn’t. This time [in the Met] he doesn’t have to do all that thinking.”
The trainer is referring to the Met favourite being drawn wide so Marcus faces the choice of either to commit early or slot in behind the early front-runners.
Win, lose or draw this is the last time racing fans will get to see Hawwaam in SA. He will enter quarantine shortly and then make the arduous journey to the UK via Mauritius.
Vardy has done wonders for this column in his past two starts with victories — both at decent prices — in the Green Point Stakes and Queen’s Plate. But will the four-year-old stay the distance of 2,000m, which he is trying for the first time? The answer from up-and-coming young trainer Adam Marcus is yes.
Asked about this issue, Marcus said: “I have no concerns about him staying 2,000m. One of his main assets is he switches off beautifully around the turn and he can then use his exceptional turn of foot.”
Rainbow Bridge — well supported in the ante-post market — is bidding for back-to-back Met wins and Eric Sands is confident of another big run, particularly with Ryan Moore in the irons.
Moore will probably be amused that former top jockey Garth Puller stated this week that “Ryan is definitely one of the best five jockeys in the world”. Most pundits regard the 36-year-old Brighton-born rider as the best on the planet.
Do It Again is bidding to turn the tables on Rainbow Bridge who beat him 12 months ago, but the dual Durban July winner cannot have my money. He has been under a cloud — rated only 50-50 to run — 10 days ago and the cases for the other trio are more persuasive. It will be a huge feat of training by Justin Snaith if the five-year-old takes top honours.
Stablemate Bunker Hunt — a rank outsider at 50-1 — could take home a place cheque as he is well drawn and reportedly has been pleasing the Snaith camp in his work.
It is a race where the selection is not given with any degree of confidence, but I will stay loyal to Vardy and select him to beat Hawwaam, Rainbow Bridge and Bunter Hunt.
The safest bet on the 12-race card is to take the boxed exacta of Queen Supreme and Celtic Sea in the eighth race — the grade 1 Majorca Stakes. The 16-10 about Queen Supreme was quickly snapped up leaving evens the best price on Thursday and — whatever the fate of Hawwaam — it will be a surprise if De Kock is not in the winners enclosure with his Irish-bred filly.
- Rainbow Bridge
- Bunker Hunt
- Queen Supreme
- Celtic Sea
- Front And Centre
- Miyabi Gold
- Wisteria Walk
- Spring Break
- Cartel Captain
- Wild Coast
- Got the Greenlight