All the big action may have been at Kenilworth on Saturday where, in vintage Leicester FC fashion, Vardy put one past the goalkeeper in the Gr2 Greenpoint Stakes followed by Mississippi Burning landing the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas, giving Adam Marcus his first Gr2 win followed a half-hour later buy his first Gr1. A remarkable feat.
But one has to start somewhere and Gavin van Zyl appears to have another smart filly in his yard in Whizz Of Odds who took the step up from maiden to MR90 in her stride at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday.
“I would have been happy to finish in the first three,” admitted Van Zyl, “but I must admit that I was pretty impressed with that. She was taking on seven-time winners like Effortless Reward, hard knockers.”
Current jockey championship leader Warren Kennedy was equally impressed. “I was pacing it with Effortless Reward and she was doing it easy. When I pressed the button, she just gave me more,” he said of his filly.
Seasoned mare Queen Of Alamo was closing fast over the final 100m but the race had already been put to bed. Given this performance the SA Fillies Sprint next May could be an option.
Tony Nassif is one of the nicest people that you will ever meeting in racing. He operates a small string out of his Turffontein yard and is quite open that in that he is in the sport because he loves it.
“I don’t need to do this,” he mentioned in conversation a while back. “But I love it.”
Some of his raids to KZN have been optimistic given the form of his runners but one can never discount them with any confidence.
With Anton Marcus aboard on Sunday, the inference was obvious. “Me and Anton go back a long way,” confirmed Nassif after Cut Loose had claimed the second in emphatic fashion. She started favourite at her second start but, “that run was all wrong. She got her tongue over the bit and choked up,” said Nassif. “She’s a nice filly.”
“When Tony nominates it just a case of getting on the phone and asking if it was worthwhile riding and if Tony says yes you jump on,” said Marcus. “As Tony says we go back a long, long way and we have had a lot of fun and success together and that’s what it’s all about. I believe the owners drove down (from Jo’burg) at 4 o’clock this morning so I’m sure they are delighted.”
Divine Hugh, a close-up second to recent Dingaans winner Shango two runs back, started short-priced favourite but, having only his second outing after a lengthy break, found one too good in the Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained Master Tobe. “Johan left him here after his last run,” confirmed Pat Lunn, Van Vuuren’s Summerveld assistant. “He’s been here three weeks. I told Johan that he was working exceptionally well, eating well and put on some condition. We put the tongue-tie on last run and he runs on very nicely.”
By Andrew Harrison