Whether together or not the future looks bright for Marco van Rensburg and Marauding Horde

Marco van Rensburg partnered Marauding Horde for the horse's last two wins.

Marauding Horde, a son of Vercingetorix, completed a hattrick of victories on Saturday afternoon and I liked what I saw.

Although historically the Gallic king Vercingetorix surrendered to Julius Caesar in October 52 BC, the delightfully named Marauding Horde took a leaf (or perhaps a laurel wreath) out of the book of his sires vanquisher on the weekend. For he mostly certainly came, saw and conquered Turffontein for a third time.

Although there are multiple reasons to be impressed by Marauding Horde – for starters witness the six-part owners of the Main Chance bred colt – it was the manner in which he accelerated and put the race to bed that caught the eye.

His trainer Mike de Kock also thought he won well remarking in his post-race interview that for him to quicken off such a slow pace with 60kg on his back was more than encouraging.

From the commentary box, my Clocking The Gallop colleague Nico Kritsiotis was judiciously complimentary in his assessment of Saturday’s win, saying “he seems to be well above average with a lot of scope and is clearly on an upward trajectory. I have been surprised with the immense improvement in his last two wins”.

In those last two wins the colt has been partnered by jockey Marco van Rensburg.

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Van Rensburg is currently back in South Africa and to my mind riding as best as I’ve ever seen him ride.
I phoned Marco to catch up with where he’s at, how his career is going and what he makes of Marauding Horde.

Marco van Rensburg describes himself as a farm-boy who always loved animals and as such there was an inevitably that he would gravitate towards working with horses. One of his mother’s employers owned a few racehorses and following his suggestion Marco applied and was accepted at the South African Jockey Academy.

He began in 1998 and left the academy in 2003.

From early doors Marco has been successful. As an apprentice he rode 149 winners and during his career, which has been characterised by consistency and drive, his talent has afforded him the opportunities to be associated with some good horses.

When I pressed him to name-drop a few racehorses he has won on, ridden or been associated with, I knew every one of them.

He won races on the likes of Greys Inn, Lizards Desire, Mr. Flood, Hinterland and Nhlavini to name but a few.

Equally impressive are the horses that he has been associated with, the impressive list includes Ipi Tombi, Victory Moon, El Picha, Domino Man, JJ The Jetplane and Surcharge.

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I mentioned to Marco that since his recent return from Dubai I couldn’t help but notice he’s been getting some chances from the De Kock stable and the partnership is working well.

He responded by saying: “Yes, actually the whole idea of me going to Dubai to take my chances was Mr. De Kock’s idea, so he understands the circumstances of my return.”

Marco told me that as a freelancer his first few months overseas had been really tough. Without a salary he had to pay his own way for two months until he landed a job with trainer Fawzi Nass.

Sadly Marco lost his father to cancer earlier this year and it was his father’s worsening health that led him to decide to cut short his first Dubai season and return home to spend some time with his dad before he passed.

Marco will be returning to Dubai in September this year and picking up on the “good experience” he has already enjoyed riding for Fawzi Nass. From the sounds of things the second stint will offer a smoother transition and less hardship and perhaps some opportunities to ride in Bahrain.

Getting back to Marauding Horde, what does Marco van Rensburg think of the colt.

Marco, like De Kock, Kritsiotis and yours truly isn’t getting too ahead of himself but during our chat he dropped a few terms that suggest whilst he might be “quietly optimistic” about the future the emphasis could be on the second word in that phrase.

He referred to Marauding Horde as “smart” and “decent” but the description that stuck with me was “he’s proper”.

Whether together or apart, both horse and rider can expect a few good months ahead.

The Marco van Rensburg stock is rising and if, as he intends, he can get his race riding weight down to 51kg, I have more than a sneaky feeling that he’ll be riding many more winners for Mike de Kock, Corne Spies, Cliffie Miller and a good few other racing stables before he departs for Dubai in September.

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