The Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (1600m) and Grade I Cartier Paddock Stakes (1800m) took the lime light with young trainer Adam Marcus successful with Vardy (SAF) in the Queen’s Plate and long-time South African champion trainer Mike de Kock successful with Queen Supreme (IRE) in the Paddock Stakes.
Adam Marcus comes from a long line of distinguished family participation in South African racing. The son of former jockey Basil is a nephew of four-time champion jockey Anton Marcus.
This was the biggest win in the eight-year career of Marcus, who was educated in England (at Cheam and The Oratory) while his father was riding for Clive Brittain.
“Winning a race like the Queen’s Plate is a dream come true for someone who grew up in racing but, when I started training, it seemed impossible to get there,” he said.
Vardy, a four-year-old by Var out of the Jet Master mare Cupid, came with a strong run under jockey Craig Zackey to lead 200m out drawing clear to beat 16-1 shot One World (SAF) by a length and a quarter, with last year’s Met winner Rainbow Bridge (SAF) a short head further back.
The winner, as he had done a number of times in the past, drifted left as he challenged but Zackey kept him clear of the runner-up. Vardy will now be one of the favourites for the Sun Met on February 1st the same course.
De Kock won with Queen Supreme, a four-year-old Exceed And Excel mare out of the Gone West mare Call Later, leading 200m out under Callan Murray in the Paddock Stakes to win by a most convincing two and a half lengths from Cape Fillies Guineas runner-up Driving Miss Daisy (SAF).
This was the fifth Paddock Stakes success for De Kock but his first since 2010. It hasn’t always been a lucky race for him either – between 2002 and 2011 he had six beaten favourites.