ANTON Marcus may view Rory McIlroy’s Nike sponsorship package with some envy, but the bank balance of South Africa’s champion jockey is probably healthier than most riders in the sport.
Under contract to Steinhoff boss Markus Jooste, Marcus is enjoying another successful campaign and will have received a decent cheque from the winner’s purse following Variety Club’s victory in last weekend’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth.
Marcus’s winning spree should continue on Saturday, when he partners another favourite, All Is Secret, in the Graham Beck Memorial Sceptre Stakes (Grade 2), also at Kenilworth.
Nine rivals will line up against All Is Secret and the pick of her opposition could be Dennis Drier’s Aussie-bred filly, Sunshine Rock. She has won her past two races and the stable is on a high following Beach Beauty’s success in the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes.
Turffontein trainer Gary Alexander will be looking for an improved run from his Argentinian-bred filly, Blueridge Mountain. She was beaten by five lengths on her most recent outing and will get every assistance from experienced jockey Glen Hatt.
The seventh race on Saturday’s Kenilworth card is the Sun Classique Handicap, in which Neil Bruss’s recent course winner, Adobe Pink, appeals as an attractive each-way bet. She won her last start by a length-and-a-half with Grant van Niekerk in the saddle and he retains the ride.
Hatt will be hoping to be involved in the finish on Mike Bass’s runner, Daily Flight, while trainer Justin Snaith has engaged Muzi Yeni for the ride on his runner, Rush For John.
Five-times champion trainer Geoff Woodruff holds the key to the Pick 6 at Turffontein on Saturday as it is possible he could win the last three races on the card. Yorker, Lockheed Jetstar and Master Sabina all possess good chances on form.
Yorker impressed many pundits in his latest outing and could prove too smart for Fantastic Mr Fox in the seventh race over 1,450m. Race-goers can expect the latter to come with another sustained late run and, along with Stuart Pettigrew’s charge, Zestful, it will pose the main threat to Woodruff’s representative.
Lockheed Jetstar is sure to top the betting boards in the eighth race and this looks the right opportunity for this expensive purchase to notch another win. Mike de Kock’s Aussie-bred Dubai Dizzy may have limitations, and the chief threat to Woodruff’s runner may be Captain Haddock.
The gelding hails from the yard of trainer Ormond Ferraris, who has his team in particularly good form at present. Many of his recent winners have been ridden by promising Mauritian-born apprentice Nooresh Juglall.
Woodruff’s ninth race runner, Master Sabina, turned in a pleasing effort when finishing fourth on debut. Derreck David is entrusted with the ride and he will be expecting challenges from Just For Fun, Spur Delight and Mr Zogs.