Riding racehorses for a living is no easy job. It’s hugely physically demanding and incredibly dangerous. So, there aren’t many old jockeys around.
Thankfully, South African racing fans still have the Piere “Striker” Strydom and Anton “Superman” Marcus, two of the finest jockeys in the world – even in their relative dotage. Strydom has been murmuring about retiring soon; not Marcus as yet.
For jockeys, the question of hanging up the boots crops up with increasing frequency from the 35th birthday onwards – and it all hangs on luck on the track and, particularly, luck with staying on board while galloping along at 60 kays on a half-ton beast.
Marcus has recently returned from a few months off recovering from knee surgery and punters who rely on his metronomic winning habit are thankful. But the 50-year-old body takes a bit of time to heal and get back to full fitness again. Anton The Great is taking it gradually.
He’s taken 20 rides over about 10 days, but already the old power and glory is becoming evident. He’s won four of those 20 and recorded five places – already a better return than any other rider on the roster.
At Monday’s meeting on the Greyville Polytrack he partners three horses – all for trainer Alyson Wright – and two of them are likely to start as hot favourites.
In Race 4, four-year-old Top Me Up Holly looks like a good bet to register her third win in her eighth start – a FM72 Handicap over 1900m. The filly has excellent stamina credentials and the No 8 draw is no problem over this trip. Potential banker No 1.
Banker candidate No 2 comes in Race 8, with another four-year-old filly, Maria Corolina. She, too, looks primed to keep building the Marcus comeback story.
5 Ladies Day, 4 Cape Princess, 2 Princess Sabrina, 6 Miss Lailah
5 Sparkling Flame, 2 Crystal Cove, 7 Mia’s Gold, 6 Blazing Astute
5 Space Oddity, 1 Port Adelaide, 3 Noble Nova, 7 Maxine Du Monde
8 Top Me Up Holly, 6 Montfort, 2 You Deserve It, 1 Ingakara
2 Blue Planet, 5 Sea Master, 4 Ontopoftheworld, 1 Origami
4 Peanut Butter, 5 Reckless Love, 2 Tombola, 3 Good Girl
4 Maria Corolina, 10 Star Choice, 3 Ice Imperial, 1 Birdwatcher
8 What A Blast, 4 Great Guy, 10 Stanton Street, 7 Alphamikefoxtrot
1,2,3,5,7 x 6,8 x 1,2,4,5,9 x 2,3,4,5,6 x 4 x 4,5,7,8,10 (R1250)
2,5,7 x 1,5 x 8 x 2,5 x 4,5 x 4 x 4,8 (R48)