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Vardy, Twist of Fate And Missisippi Burning Settling In At Summerveld

Adam Marcus arrived at Summerveld on Tuesday with four horses, including big guns Vardy, Twist Of Fate and Missisippi Burning.
He said, “They stopped off at Colesberg for four hours for a rest and a snack and have all traveled beautifully, everything went according to plan.”
The Vodacom Durban July is a possibility for Vardy and is the chief target of Twist Of Fate.
Marcus was adamant before the Sun Met that Vardy would stay the 2000m trip.
The Var gelding started second favourite but nothing went right in the race.
He said, “He clipped heels with Hawwaam and was lucky not to come down. He was very shaken up after the race. Nearly falling is quite a severe thing for a horse to get over. But fortunately he came through the race sound and it just took a week or two to get his mind right. He is looking exceptionally well and prior to coming to Durban he had been working beautifully.  We can put a line through that run as nothing went according to plan. These things happen in racing and and on his previous form he is right there. He won both the Green Point and the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate with plenty in hand and One World (who won the Met) was second on both occasions. But because of what happened in the Met we are none the wiser whether he stays that sort of trip and it is still a grey area. So I cant say he definitely sees it out but his style of racing suggests he should. He switches off so beautifully, so it shouldn’t really be an issue. The route for all of the top horses will likely be the IOS Drill Hall, Rising Sun Gold Challenge, Vodacom Durban July and Champions Cup. But nothing is cast in stone. Vardy’s owners are great guys who all understand racing and we have discussed it and decided to take it race by race. The July is a handicap so it is not the best race for him but there is the lure of the prestige which makes it hard not to go for.”
Marcus has two objectives for Twist Of Fate’s season, firstly to build up his confidence and secondly the Vodacom Durban July.
He said, “As the July is essentially a handicap, I ideally don’t want to be putting him up against the highest rated horses as I will need to look after his merit rating. If we put him in the weight for age races against the superstars he is the sort of horse who always gives 100% and races like that knock a horse plus if he runs a blinder the handicapper will hammer him. So I am going to look for an easier route into the July and have one or two Pinnacle races as options already. Ideally I want to nurture him into the July and have him getting better and better with every race so he comes into the race relatively fresh and full of confidence. He has always been just off the best horses, so getting a couple of kilograms from them in the July he will have a shout.”
The fairytale R20,000 purchase finished a 1,70 length third in last year’s VDJ carrying 54kg and as things stand at present, off a 129 merit rating compared to Do It Again’s 135, he will carry 57kg this year. If weight for age is taken into account, he will effectively only be 1kg up in the weights from last year.
Vardy on the other hand will, as things stand, carry 59,5kg off his 134 merit rating. However, Do It Again could soon be knocked off his perch as the country’s highest rated horse if he fails to bounce back from his below par Cape Summer season.
Marcus said about the small Captain Al filly Missisippi Burning, who has one “S” missing in her name due to an official limit on name length of 18 characters including spaces, “After her win in the Grade 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas she continuously drew off the course, so didn’t have another run. The Umzimkhulu looks like a good option followed by the Daisy Fillies Guineas. Thereafter we will have to decide whether she is going to stay against her own age group over further or face older horses over a mile.”
The other horse in the string is Dharma whom Marcus will take care of on behalf of Geoff and Lucinda Woodruff.
He said, “He is a staying type and is well handicapped. He is not up with the best but will be competitive in the staying handicaps.”
By David Thiselton, Gold Circle
Main Image: Vardy, Chase Liebenberg Designs