Sean Tarry snatched up Classic Day and put it in his pocket
The champion trainer saddled the winners of seven races, including the first six on the card, at Turffontein on Saturday – setting all kinds of records.
April 1, 2017
The amazing winning run was crowned when Legal Eagle, the best horse in the country, won the HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes as easily as you please.
However, it was fellow Randjesfontein conditioner Mike de Kock who burst the bubble when he landed the two Grade 1 Classics – Races 7 and 8 on the card – with Orchid Island and Heavenly Blue (see separate report). Tarry saddled the second-placed runners in both those contests.
Starting as an odds-on favourite, Legal Eagle shot to the front from the widest draw in the R1-million 1600m Horse Chestnut, dictated the pace throughout and eased to victory unextended by more than two lengths. His stable companion French Navy ran on well into second place.
The win gave the Mayfair Speculators’ five-year-old gelding his 10th victory from 17 starts, his sixth Grade 1 triumph, his sixth win from six starts over 1600m and his second Horse Chestnut in a row.
Jockey Anton Marcus, riding his second winner for Tarry on the day, said simply: “The race was self-explanatory really. It’s a privilege to ride a horse like this. It’s something special. I’m elated.”
Tarry’s astonishing run began in the first race, when champion jockey S’Manga Khumalo got home 19-10 chance Aurelia Cotta by 2.50 lengths over money horse Like A Panther (21-20) from the De Kock stable.
Khumalo got the result in the next race when Brave Nomad (7-2) was promoted over Walker. The jock they call “Bling” made it a hat-trick on Green Plains (14-10) in the Grade 3 Pretty Polly Stakes.
Marcus did the honours on Barrack Street (8-10) in the Grade 3 Protea Stakes – as the blue and red silks of Chris van Niekerk flashed across the line first for the fourth time in succession on the day.
And those colours – and Tarry – did it again in Race 5, the Grade 3 Man O’ War Sprint, this time with Khumalo steering filly Exquisite Touch (5-1), who trounced a promising-looking field.
At least the winning colours changed in Race 6, the Horse Chestnut, but the Tarry name was up in lights yet again.
Tarry went into Race 7, the Grade 1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic, looking unbeatable. His filly Smiling Blue Eyes – aiming to land the second leg of the Triple Tiara – started favourite at 16-10, and another from his yard, Safe Harbour, near the top of the boards at 41-10.
It was Safe Harbour that almost did it for Tarry.
She failed by a whisker to pass De Kock’s Orchid Island (4-1 second favourite), ridden by Anthony Delpech and owned by the race sponsor, Wilgerbosdrift.
In a thrilling finish with less two lengths covering the first six horses past the post, Orchid Island (9-2) edged out Safe Harbour with Geoff Woodruff”s charge Bi Pot a short-head further back in third and De Kock’s Belle Rose in fourth.
Tarry had to wait until Race 11 for his next visit to the winner’s enclosure after Consequentially did the honours under Chase Maujean.