Black Saturday for Met punters, but not for trainer Vaughan Marshall
Some 33 years ago investors took a hammering with the Black Monday stock market crash and — around the same time — trainer Vaughan Marshall announced his arrival in racing with his first Cape Guineas winner.
There was an “action replay” at Saturday’s Sun Met meeting with the majority of punters leaving Kenilworth with empty pockets, but Marshall was again full of smiles as he captured the Cape's premier race for the third time.
Not one favourite won on the 12-race card.
Now in his late 60s, Marshall has proved time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with in any big race and this time it was four-year-old One World who came up trumps in the hands of jockey MJ Byleveld.
What Marshall has achieved with the son of Captain Al, whom he saddled to win the Cape Guineas in 2000, is remarkable. In his 14 starts, he has posted 10 wins and four places and his earnings stand at R5,6m. A tidy return on the R475,000 he cost as a yearling at the CTS Premier Sale.
With One World having raced once over 1,800m, the prediction was that he would run out of gas over the final 200m — particularly with the hype over his three main rivals Hawwaam, Do It Again and Vardy.
With 200m to run, backers of Rainbow Bridge were headed to the payout queue. World-renowned jockey Ryan Moore, who arrived on Friday and flew out on Saturday night, looked to have timed his challenge perfectly for back-to-back Met wins.
But rather like Roger Federer in one of his tennis marathons, One World refused to throw in the towel and — responding to Byleveld's strongest urgings — got up on the inside to win in a photo-finish.
Hawwaam, sent off the 43-20 favourite, made some late progress to finish third with Twist Of Fate finishing fourth narrowly in front of popular outsider Bunker Hunt.
With nothing more to prove, it was no surprise that Marshall hinted One World might be bound for Klawervlei Stud where he was bred. However, the breeding season is some way off and the four-year-old's owners might be tempted for one more grade 1 win in the Champions Cup at Greyville at the end of July.
The two disappointments of Saturday's race were Vardy and dual Vodacom July winner Do It Again. Trainer Adam Marcus had predicted Vardy would produce a finishing kick, but it never materialised and the Queen's Plate hero (sent off at 34-10) finished sixth some five lengths behind the winner.
On Saturday morning, a fellow journo remarked that “you're taking a chance not putting Do It Again in your top four”, but the Snaith team had been worried a fortnight ago and — after finishing seven lengths back and beating only four home — their fears were well founded. The gelding turned in the worst performance of his career.
Gavin Lerena, jocked-off Rainbow Bridge in the Met, must have felt he had the grade 1 Majorca Stakes in the bag on Celtic Sea with 100m to run. But — at a memorable meeting for Candice Bass-Robinson who also won the Cape Flying Championship with Russet Air — it was Aldo Domeyer who pounced in the shadow of the post to score on 2019 winner Clouds Unfold.
The defeat of the hot favourite Queen Supreme was another dagger blow for punters. Sent off the 17-10 market leader, the Irish filly trailed in 10 lengths behind the winner and something must have gone amiss.