The Sean Tarry yard’s four-timer at the Vaal Classic on Tuesday was remarkable considering a dispersal sale of Sean’s own horses recently lowered their numbers considerably.
Tarry’s last non-Covid effected championship winning season was in 2018/2019 and he had 372 runners in the first four months of that season compared to 197 runners this season.
Tarry scratched Rain In Holland from the Ipi Tombe Stakes as a precaution because she was not feeling 100% well and he will run her in a Pinnacle event in December as a final preparation for the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes.
He has Pinnacle options in Johannesburg and Cape Town available, but was swinging towards the Jo’burg one as he will prefer preparing her at home.
The Wiilgerbosdrift SA Triple Tiara heroine finished a disappointing seven length last of six in her reappearance.
However, it was over the too sharp 1400m and she also started her three-year-old season relatively slowly compared to her later performances.
The general prognosis for “return to performance” after the procedure to sort out an entrapped epiglottis, which saw her sidelined for the last two months of last season, is excellent.
She should have come on from that last run and hopefully the pinnacle event will put her spot on.
She will face her toughest test to date in the Paddock Stakes with the like of narrow runner up from last season, Chansonette, and third-placed Marina likely to be in the line up, while last season’s winner Captain’s Ransom will also be there unless she runs in the L’Ormarins King’s Plate.
Meanwhile, Tarry runs last season’s Paddock Stakes fourth-placed Princess Calla on Saturday at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth in the Grade 2 Southern Cross Stakes over 1000m.
Tarry is her fourth trainer and this is the Flower Alley mare’s first run since winning the Grade 1 HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes over 1600m last April.
He said recently he was not sure Princess Calla would be ready in time for the Paddock Stakes and the Grade 1 Majorca Stakes is likely to be her chief target for the Cape Summer Festival of Racing.
Another probable Cape Summer Festival Of Racing campaigner is Nebraas, who was too far back in the Grade 1 Betway Summer Cup from a tricky draw, but finished strongly.
He said there was a good chance of this stalwart former Gold Cup winner lining up in the Grade 2 Western Cape Stayers over 2850m on WSB Met day.
Black Thorn looks to be headed for that race too. He was pulled up last time out but hopefully this classy stayer will bounce back on Saturday in the Grade 3 Drakenstein Stud Cape Summer Stayers Handicap over 2500m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth.
Another Tarry runner on Met day could be Asiye Phambili (What A Winter), who won well under Piere Strydom on Tuesday at Vaal Classic over 1500m.
She is eligible for the R7,5 million WSB Gold Rush over 1600m.
Her owners Hollywood Syndicate have a ticket for the lucrative race too and off a merit rating of 88 she could currently be their leading contender.
Strydom got the best out of her, so the connections would likely want to stick with him, but the great jockey has already been associated with the Gold Rush contender Typeset, who is merit rated 94.
Tarry said it would be a brave man to enter a horse in this year’s Grade 1 R2 million Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas, considering the strength of the crop.
He is consequently not sending down his Grade 1 winner Thunderstruck for the big race on December 17.
He said Thunderstruck had not had things go his way in his last two starts.
From a wide draw in the Grade 2 Allied Steelrode Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m he finished a 9,50 length 12th.
Then in the Jonsson Workwear Dingaans he finished fifth.
Tarry said about his Dingaans run, “He acquitted himself well, beaten just four lengths, and with more luck in running could have got closer.”
However, he is still not convinced he stays a mile.
He thus has the difficult decision to make of opting for a campaign suited to a specialist sprinter or whether to give him another chance at a mile from a better draw … he is not going to try a mile from another tough draw while he still has the doubt.