One World and Vardy, separated in Saturday’s Winter Guineas by only a head – as hard-fought in the boardroom as it was on the racecourse, may well meet again over a furlong further in the Winter Classic on May 25. Hopefully it won’t be quite such a rough affair.
Anton Marcus’s mount, starting a prohibitive 4-10, led after 200m but two furlongs from home main market rival Vardy began to move up travelling ominously easily. He joined the favourite and looked sure to win as he went a head up.
But One World has only been beaten once in eight starts and, as many will remember, no less a horse than the Cape Flying Championship winner Kasimir also once dared to head him only to be battled out if it. Vardy was given the same treatment and was the first to wilt.
He came off a straight line and bumped the favourite. From then on it was no holds barred, with the pair touching several times, but Craig Zackey had his whip in his right hand. Horses tend to drift away from the whip and towards the ones they are battling and Vardy did just that. True, Marcus also switched his crop to his outside hand in the heat of battle but the stipes took the view that he was doing this to stop Zackey’s mount from bumping him again.
There was only a head in it at the line and Vardy’s trainer Adam Marcus promptly lodged an objection against his uncle for interference, leaving one wit in the weighing room to quip: “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your relations!”
The objection was over-ruled and jockey Marcus commented: “I thought it was straightforward – he hit me four times.” No action was taken against Zackey – he had been given a week when Vardy caused interference winning on his previous start – but Marcus was fined R1 000 for hitting his mount more than three times in consecutive strides.
The Klawervlei-bred Captain Al winner, bought by his trainer for R425 000, has now won nearly R3.4 million for Ken and Jane Truter, Etienne Braun and Braam van Huyssteen. “He is a very good horse and a very game one,” said Vaughan Marshall.
In the Sweet Chestnut 35 minutes earlier Bernard Fayd’Herbe and Helen’s Ideal made light of their 11 draw to delight Paul Barrett and breeder Peter de Beyer and book her ticket for next month’s Olympic Duel Stakes.
“Blinkers turned the corner for this filly and there are bigger things to come,” said Paul Reeves. “Hopefully she gets a draw next month. Every time I have a runner in a feature they seem to be drawn on another planet.”
By Michael Clower