Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ ALAN CROWHURST
Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ ALAN CROWHURST

Champion trainer Sean Tarry sends a team of 20 horses to Saturday’s meeting at Turffontein and the stable has two standout runners in Celtic Sea and Vodacom Durban July hope Al Mutawakel.

Four-year-old Celtic Sea, who takes on seven rivals in the seventh race, is enjoying a successful season and her close second in February’s Majorca Stakes at Kenilworth took her career earnings to more than R2.7m. Though she will have to shoulder 62kg, Celtic Sea should see off her opponents with the minimum of fuss and Gavin Lerena — in the saddle in each of the filly’s four starts this term — should not break any sweat on the favourite.

Finding the horse to follow Celtic Sea home is difficult with stablemate Cordillera, Double ‘O’ Eight and Secret Dream all in the mix. Perhaps the stable exacta with Cordillera could be the right way to go.

Tarry has won the Durban July twice (2012 and 2013) and he is sure to be well represented in the 2020 edition of SA’s most famous race. In early July betting bookmakers have priced up his four-year-old Al Mutawakel at 33-1, but those odds could shorten if the colt wins Saturday’s sixth race in good style.

After his creditable third behind stablemate Zilzaal in the Summer Cup, it is again a question of who will run second and that position could be filled by Paul Peter’s three-year-old Astrix. The son of Vercingetorix had a troubled passage in the SA Classic and is better judged on his fourth behind Ikigai in the Gauteng Guineas. The gelding is reunited with this season’s leading rider Warren Kennedy.

Al Mutawakel’s stable companion, Captain And Master, has more than recouped his purchase price of R340,000 and can earn a cheque in his second outing after a break.

The outcome of the first leg of the jackpot on Saturday will depend on the wellbeing — or otherwise — of Mike and Adam Azzie’s three-year-old filly Karino. The daughter of Duke Of Marmalade has not been seen since making mincemeat of her rivals in a 1,200m race at Turffontein in October. If not in need of the run, she should maintain her unbeaten record. However, another Tarry runner, Leading Fast, receives 6.5kg from Karino and can give Callan Murray’s mount a run for her money. Candice Dawson’s filly Eskimo Kisses will also have her supporters.

The scenario is the same in the eighth race with Mike de Kock’s unbeaten three-year-old Al Jahbath returning from a 39-week break — his last appearance was in a 1,100m sprint at the Vaal in June. De Kock can bring his charges back fit and well so the son of ill-fated Soft Falling Rain could still get home from Epic Dream and Tarry’s representative Emerald Tiara.

Punters will need to include as many runners as they can afford in the first leg of the Pick Six which will see a field of 16 maidens race over 1,160m. Of those who have shown some ability, Flying Var, the mount of Muzi Yeni, Samoa, Afriel, Dark Song, Single Red Rose and Dark Song all enter calculations.

Perhaps Flying Var — a daughter of Var owned by Peter White — will be good enough for the place accumulator but the Pick Six demands a lot more inclusions.

Selections

1st Race: (1) Intothemystic (2) Arran (9) Western Vision (3) Great Pretender

2nd Race: No Selection

3rd Race: (6) Lhasa Star (1) Afternoon Tea (9) Spice Market (3) Amber Light

4th Race: (13) Flying Var (1) Afriel (6) Dark Song (5) Sheer Talent

5th Race: (7) Leading Fast (2) Karino (5) Eskimo Kisses (1) Ouro

6th Race: (1) Al Mutawakel (2) Astrix (4) Captain And Master (3) Full Mast

7th Race: (1) Celtic Sea (7) Cordillera (3) Double ‘O’ Eight (6) Secret Dream

8th Race: (1) Al Jahbath (2) Epic Dream (6) Emerald Tiara (8) Wild N Grey

9th Race: (4) Mistressofmyfate (6) Herstel (9) Towards The Sun (11) Claremorris