One of his rides is Cirillo for Sean Tarry in Race 4, a Pinnacle Stakes over 1600m on the Inside track.
This four-year-old son of Pomodoro was given a four-month break after his KwaZulu campaign and was obviously in need of his first run when ninth of 10 runners behind stable companion Tierra Del Fuego, beaten 10.50 lengths in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1400m.
On Christmas Eve he contested another Pinnacle Stakes, again over 1400m up the Vaal straight, and this time Cirillo improved markedly, still finding Tierra Del Fuego too good, but finishing second, only going down two lengths.
The two meet again in tomorrow’s event but there is a lot more in Cirillo’s favour. He is 2kg better off and this time they will be racing over 1600m around the turn. In his third run after a layoff, and with Marcus up, one expects Cirillo to turn the tables.
Marcus has ridden him three times for two wins, including his last victory which was in the CTS 1200 on Sun Met day last year. Since then Cirillo has had three excellent seconds over 1600m, finishing 0.80 lengths behind Soqrat in the Grade 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes at Turffontein, 0.50 lengths behind Do It Again in the Grade 1 Gold Challenge and then 3.25 lengths off Buffalo Bill Cody in a Pinnacle Stakes.
This will be his first run at this course, but his style of running should be ideal and if close to his best, Cirillo will take a power of beating.
Tierra Del Fuego will be looking for his fifth consecutive win and he is drawn well at No 3. He has a good rapport with jockey Raymond Danielson who rode him in his last three wins.
An interesting runner is Camphoratus who caused a major upset when winning the Grade 1 Empress Club Stakes over 1600m on the Standside track last year. This KwaZulu-Natal-based filly is the best-handicapped runner, but her best runs have come against her own sex.
Approach Control in Race 8, a Graduation Plate over 1450m, looks the banker of the day. For a start, he is the best handicapped runner by at least 4kg but Candice Dawson’s charge has the form to go with it.
Dawson has often been left scratching her head with this fellow because he is a good-looking son of Potala Palace who gives the impression he needs further. But in his last two starts, over 1400m and 1600m on the Standside track, he has run two decent seconds, the first behind Chijmes and the second against Dingaans winner Shango, in which he went down a short head.
Both were with Warren Kennedy up and he has taken the ride again.