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Former champion trainer Sean Tarry continued his love affair with the Summer Cup at Turffontein on Tuesday when Flying Carpet triumphed to make it four wins in the last five years for his Randjesfontein stable.
Previous winners of this grade 1 race hailing from the Tarry stable were Liege (2017), Tilbury Fort (2018) and Zillzaal (2019).
Flying Carpet, a 32-1 chance on the tote, registered only the third win of his career and owners Riethaan Beleggings CC will bank the R1.25m first-prize cheque.
A son of Judpot bred at Riethuiskraal Stud, Flying Carpet dug deep under jockey Calvin Habib to hold off the challenge of another outsider, Majestic Mozart. With Golden Pheasant and Johnny Hero finishing third and fourth, the quartet paid an astonishing dividend of more than R4m.
It was a huge result for bookmakers. If anyone had suggested all of War Of Athena, Malmoos and Got The Green Light would fail to finish in the first four they would have been carted off to the nearest loony bin.
War Of Athena did best of this trio, finishing fifth, two lengths behind the winner, but both Malmoos (16th place and 12 lengths behind the winner) and Got The Greenlight (14th and 10 lengths behind Flying Carpet) ran shockers and were never in the hunt.
Steelrode Mile victor Bingwa was one of the best-backed horses in the field, starting at 5-1, yet he fared even worse than Malmoos and Got The Greenlight, beating only one runner home and trailing in 20 lengths behind the winner.
The grade 3 Magnolia Handicap proved another good race for the Tarry yard with the stable’s runners finishing first, third and fourth.
Sound Of Warning, owned and bred by Drakenstein Stud, just got the better of a tight finish with the favourite Big Burn, but had to survive an objection lodged by the runner-up’s rider, Warren Kennedy.
The protest was overruled, providing Sound Of Warning with her third career win and proving it was the right decision by Drakenstein not to offer the daughter of Trippi for sale as a yearling.
It was a red-letter day for the small stable of Corrie Lensley, with his sprinter Alesian Chief proving last month’s win in the Golden Loom Handicap was no flash in the pan. The colt proved too speedy for his rivals in the grade 3 Merchants.
The only three-year-old in the race, the son of Vercingetorix fought off this column’s tip, Bartholdi, with KwaZulu-Natal raider Cartel Captain making good late progress to finish third. The favourite, MK’s Pride, who has enjoyed a successful year, was never a factor.
Muzi Yeni — on the mark when Secret Link won the second race on an objection — will have mixed feelings about the Merchants result. He had ridden Alesian Chief in all his previous starts but was booked for the unplaced Battle Force.
Drakenstein did not have to wait long before celebrating another feature race success with Safe Passage, ridden by S’manga Khumalo and trained by Mike de Kock, completing a four-timer in the grade 2 Dingaans.
With 200m to run, the outsider, Red Saxon, looked set to cause a big upset, but Khumalo found the best finish in the closing stages to take top honours.
“Stamina definitely came into play today. We’ll take the win with both hands,”De Kock said.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.