L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate hero Vardy is being given a lengthy break following his tough time in the Sun Met when he was nearly brought down as he clipped the heels of Hawwaam early on.
Adam Marcus said: “He got roughed up, and he went a bit quiet on me for a few days. It’s the first time that has happened to him and he is not a straightforward horse. He has a delicate mouth for a start and things have to go his way. I put him on a soft feed, got him relaxed again and he began to freshen up once more.
“He is not going to go to a farm. He will stay with me so that I can keep an eye on him. He can be very playful and I have lovely paddocks at my yard.”
The Durban season is on the agenda and he could run in the big one despite the doubts about him getting the trip. “The Vodacom Durban July is a big option,” says the four-year-old’s trainer. “Nothing is set in stone at this stage but it is the prestige race of the season. That apart, he will go for some of the other big races.”
Stable companion Twist Of Fate, who ran his usual honest race to take fourth in the Met, was third in last year’s July for Joey Ramsden and will also be going to Durban. “He came through his race beautifully and he loves Greyville,” said his trainer who celebrates his 31st birthday in eight days’ time. “If Twist Of Fate can go into the race with a nice weight he will be a very big runner.”
Justin Snaith has already declared four for Saturday week’s Kenilworth Fillies Nursery – S’Manga Khumalo rides December winner Favorita, Richard Fourie will partner Met day Listed race third Stuck On You and Bernard Fayd’Herbe has been booked for Trickster although no jockey has yet been decided on for Trippin The Stars. Met day Listed race winner Erik The Red (Fourie) has been declared for the Cape Of Good Hope Nursery.
There has been some criticism of the decision to transfer these two Grade 3 races from their traditional June slots, and the critics point to the small entry of 13 in each, but both races have often struggled to get a decent-sized field in the past. The colts’ race has had a field of only five three times in the last seven years and it has not reached double figures since 2008 while the fillies race has averaged only seven in the past eight seasons.
The races were moved because Kenilworth Racing wants to put up as impressive a show as possible for those at next week’s Asian Racing Conference. With the Prawn Festival meeting expected to attract a crowd at least equalling that of the Sun Met, the delegates’ reports home should be extremely favourable – something that can only benefit our industry in the long term.
By Michael Clower