Tomorrow’s Winter Classic looks a straight fight between One World and Vardy. There was only a head in it in last month’s Winter Guineas and they meet on the same terms but One World is one of those tough you-won’t beat-me characters who puts his head down and battles whenever defeat is staring him in the face.
Indeed he has only been beaten once in eight outings and that was in the Cape Guineas in December when things did not go according to Vaughan Marshall’s plans – and the Milnerton trainer says that he has no concerns about tomorrow’s extra furlong.
Vardy, who had a race fitness advantage last time, tends to come off a straight line under pressure but he pleased Adam Marcus in his final piece of work yesterday.
Marcus said: “He has done exceptionally well since the Winter Guineas and he is in a very good place at the moment. The 1 800m is an unknown distance for him but, although he is by Var, I have always felt that the further he goes the better he will be. He has the ability to switch off in his races and he has a very good turn of foot.
“That said, taking on One World is never an easy task. He is the same style of horse as Jay Peg – they like to dictate and, if something comes, they dig deeper and keep finding more – but we will give it our best shot.”
M.J. Byleveld takes over from Marcus’s uncle Anton and in some ways he is on a hiding to nothing. If he wins everybody will praise the horse and if he gets beat they will blame the jockey. But MJ, who is bidding for his third Winter Classic, was three for three on the colt before being sidelined by injury and he is riding particularly well at the moment.
His mount has to be the selection – although generally odds-on you could still get evens (Betting World) yesterday morning – and the stats point to him. The last five Winter Guineas winners who went on to the Classic all won and the favourite has taken the last three runnings whereas no Winter Guineas runner-up has landed the Classic since 2010.
Majestic Mozart (best-priced 8-1) will be suited by the extra distance but he has nearly three lengths to find on the big two. Herodotus (9-1) will similarly be helped by the trip but he has even further to make up.
Helen’s Ideal looks good for the Stormsvlei Mile and Run Fox Run can extend her unbeaten record in the Olympic Duel.
BLOB Over the last 20 Cape Town racemeetings 33 (43%) of Michael Clower’s 76 selections have won, showing a profit of R195.90 to a R10 level stake.
By Michael Clower