WHEN Champion trainer Sean Tarry won the R2,5-milion Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes at Kenilworth 10 days ago, interviewer Neil Andrews asked him for the secret to his success. He simply said, “Good owners, and good horses”, modestly leaving out the ambition and dedication which have brought him to where he is today.

Tarry has reclaimed the lead on the 2016/17 National Trainers’ Log from Justin Snaith – having won the title the last twice – but it appears, like with former Champion Mike de Kock, that there are other things foremost in his mind right now, like churning out Graded winners and keeping the stable’s big guns on the boil.

Tarry won five races on Sansui Summer Cup Day at Turffontein, Saturday  – two Grade 2s, a Grade 3 and two Maidens, finishing one-two in three of them.

Trip To Heaven (S'Manga Khumalo), with Derek Brugman (left), Chris van Niekerk and son Erich).
Trip To Heaven (S’Manga Khumalo), with Derek Brugman (left), Chris van Niekerk and son Erich.

He won the first two Maiden Plates and then picked up the Grade 2 The Citizen Merchants over 1160m with Trip To Heaven, the Grade 3 Fillies Mile with Smiling Blue Eyes and then the Gr2 Ipi Tombe Stakes with Intergalactic.

The day began with the Tarry Maidens Apocalypse Now (Lyle Hewitson, 7-1) and the public favourite Furiosa (S’Manga Khumalo, 14-10) streaking clear in Race 1 over 1160m – the first-timer Apocalypse Now drawing away late for an eye-catching win for the partnership of Chris Van Niekerk, Markus Jooste, Bruce Gardner and Ken Truter.

Tarry commented: “There wasn’t much between the pair in work, I suspected that Furiosa needed a bit further to win, but I still gave him an edge over Apocalypse Now considering his good second to Romi’s Boy which has already proven to be a strong race, and the fact that he had the experience of a run behind him. As it turned out the newcomer was better. Well done to the owners and Riverton Stud, who bred Apocalypse Now.”

Magicality (11-10), made it a quick stable double under Khumalo. She put three lengths between herself and Twinkle Town, setting a faster time than Apocalypse Now, and Tarry said: “S’Manga was on the mark again with this one, he told me after he’d galloped her last week that Magicality would be hard to beat. She had the right form and he gave us confidence after her layoff.”

Tarry’s long-time patron and mentor Chris Van Niekerk, in his customary gentlemanly manner, offered visitors to his Turffontein suite snacks washed down with Johnny Walker Black – and pointed to his trophy cabinet reminding Tarry that Trip To Heaven provided the stable with its fourth Gr2 Merchants win.

Van Niekerk listed them – Successful Bidder (2007), Jackodore (2012) and Trip To Heaven (2014 and 2016, in partnership with Markus Jooste) and Tarry said: “Trip To Heaven is a wonderful horse, one of the best I’ve trained. He’s won two Graded races after being gelded – the Rising Sun Gold Challenge was taken away on objection.  We have options with him, he’s a top sprinter and he has shown how effective he can be over a mile, though if we decide to race him again over 1600m it will only be at Greyville.

“Bull Valley should also be mentioned. He ran his heart out for second in the Merchants and we’re happy with the way he has progressed in the stable.”

Smiling Blue Eyes, quality win after Maiden.
Smiling Blue Eyes, quality win after Maiden.

In the Gr3 Filies Mile over 1600m, Grant Van Niekerk rode 20-1 outsider Smiling Blue Eyes to a one-length win over stablemate Tambalang and Tarry said:  “We bought Smiling Blue Eyes at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale for Sheikh Mohammed bim Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Al Adiyaat. She’s beautifully bred by Dynasty from a Badger Land mare and with that stout pedigree indications were that she was an outright stayer.

“She showed her stamina winning her Maiden over 1900m, and now also showed her ability by dropping back in trip and up in class and winning a Gr3 over a mile. It was somewhat of a surprise, but it was a tough 1600m after the rain and Smiling Blue Eyes obviously had the quality to win at this level, which is very pleasing. I have to thank Monique Mansour, who pre-trained her and did a good job!”

Intergalactic, easy to back at 13-1 even after the stable had saddled four earlier winners, ran on strongly after a slow start to win the Gr2 Gauteng Tourism Ipi Tombe Challenge over 1600m.  The Summerhill-bred by Kahal had competitive form, having finished close-up to New Predator in the recent male-dominated Charity Mile – on that alone she had every reason to be involved and once again Khumalo produced the goods with a storming finish.

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