Anton Marcus can return to Kenilworth in style tomorrow and win the Cape Classic for the fourth time in seven seasons. He also has a big chance on Pretty Young Thing in the Western Cape Fillies Championship.
His mount Silver Operator is favourite at 5-2 for the Classic, has 2kg in hand on ratings and would have beaten Snow Report (a big price at 12-1 here) in another two strides in the Langerman. He also went close in his prep.
His Achilles heel could be the distance because he has looked as if he needs a bit further, although the rain forecast for this morning should slow things down a bit. “I would say that he is best over 1 600m but this trip should be OK and he has done very well,” says Vaughan Marshall.
The other negative is the record of Cape Classic favourites – only two of the last nine have won. General Franco comes out next best on official ratings but both bookmakers and the Snaith stable seem a lot keener on the unbeaten Sachdev who is second in the market 9-2.
The Dennis Bosch raider Padre Pio surely has it to do giving weight all round. Seventh Gear (5-1) has long been held in high regard but Snow Report and Sophomore Sprint winner Three Two Charlie have achieved more. “It could be close between them,” says Candice Bass-Robinson. “Three Two Charlie is pretty decent and I think the 1 400m should be OK for him as this is on the old course.”
The big drawback with Pretty Young Thing is her 17 draw. Greg Cheyne, who rode her when she won a fortnight ago, spoke of her good gate speed and Marcus’s unique starting method will ensure she gets over quickly, and with the minimum of exertion, but she will still have to cover more ground that her main rivals. “She has done well, is in good form and I am happy with her,” enthuses an optimistic-sounding Brett Crawford who was successful with Bad Girl Runs in 2005.
The last four favourites for this Grade 2 have all been beaten into second but the previous five all won. World Radar heads the market and, while she has only raced at Fairview, she has won both her starts by wide margins. “I think she is above average although time will tell,” says Alan Greeff who won the race with Tatler back in 2001.
Snaith, bidding for his sixth win, runs three with Casino Queen the shortest-priced at 10-1. Roll In The Hay has been backed from 11-1 to 6-1 and Mrs Bass-Robinson says: “I don’t think she will get further than 1 400 but she should get away with this on the old course from a one draw.”
Glen Kotzen has deliberately not given Third Runway a prep run, recalling that he did the same with Princess Victoria when she won in 2011 and adding: “She will be ready – her gallops have been phenomenal.”
By Michael Clower