After a two-month break and having various appendages stitched back together, multiple champion Anton Marcus is back in full-time action at Hollywoodbets Greyville this evening. Never one to sit back and let others dictate his course of action, Marcus has had two barrier trials to test fitness and booked himself some competitive rides that will hopefully announce his return.
First up he partners Valiente for Brett Crawford in the card opener where the switch back to the poly should prove beneficial after disappointing on turf last time out. Assistant Peter Muscutt has removed the blinkers and Valiente looks the part in a field that shows modest form.
Marcus has taken advantage of Warren Kennedys absence due to the latter’s seven-day suspension and partners a few hot runners for Gavin van Zyl including the first timer Whizz Of Odds in the second.
“Whizz Of Odds barrier trialled well but unfortunately has a bad draw. But we are taking our chances because she is very quick. I rate her and she has a good winning chance,” commented Van Zyl to colleague David Thiselton mid-week.
Vying for favouritism are Another Secret and Royal View, the two finishing within a head of each other when last they met. Another Secret has the better draw this time around and that may give her the edge. Also in the mix is Katie’s Treasure who makes her poly debut but has shown some ability. The switch of surfaces could bring out the best in her.
Marcus has another plum ride in Wave, also for Gavin van Zyl. Wave is another that makes his poly debut but although returning from a break he has strong form in feature company. He had the worst of the draw over a mile in the Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes last start but prior to that was up with the best of his generation. Tonight’s trip is possibly on the short side but Van Zyl has declared blinkers and Wave could prove a little too smart for this line-up even though he is up against some useful opposition and Marcus will have to trim to 56kg!
Railtrip is another that Van Zyl is warming up for bigger things and he appears to have picked the ideal race for her second outing of the season in the Concorde Cranes Graduation Plate. Although taking on males, Railtrip is well in at the weights and is a smart filly who should come on lengths from her last run. About the obvious dangers; What A Blast is back on his favourite surface while Dennis Drier saddles a lively pair in Walterthepenniless, who is possibly the stable elect, and Bank Robber who has his third run after a break and improved nicely last time out.
If not making the winner’s enclosure by the fourth, Marcus should be on the mark in the fifth where he partners La Duchesse for Paul Gadsby. Placed in her last five starts, she is due a change of fortune and outside of a possible threat from the disappointing – to date at least – Tarocco, La Duchesse should be hard to beat.
The sixth is a tricky handicap with many in with chances but On The Double has her third run after a break and has been up against stronger in those two starts. She tries blinkers and should be cherry-ripe. Barinois has been consistent and her last win was over course and distance. She takes a small rating drop and with a claiming apprentice aboard will be a threat. One to watch is American Princess. She scrambled home on debut but was expected to do it a little easier so may have more to come.
The seventh has an impossible look about it but Agent Murphy is lightly raced and does appear to have some scope. He was in need of his last run when taking on stronger and can feature prominently in a tough contest. There is very little separating the likes of Grande Maestro, Sovereign Soldier, Roy’s Taxi, Rumbleinthejungle and Jonathan while the honest soldier Putchini, out for the 99th time, hardly ever runs a bad race and was less than a length behind Sovereign Soldier last run. Do Or Dare let the side down last time out has been costly to follow but should be worth another chance in the last where Academy Award and Man In The Moon look the most likely dangers.
By Andrew Harrison