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Sean Tarry sets the bar high in his training career so he will not be content with the bronze medal in this season’s trainers championship. He will finish some way adrift of Paul Peter and Justin Snaith.
In the 2020/2021 campaign, Tarry finished with total earnings of R12.8m, for the 2021/2022 season so far his tally is R14.5m.
So, given the departure of his chief patron Chris van Niekerk, Tarry can feel he again held his own in the premier league of trainers. He has saddled more than 100 winners from far fewer runners than Peter or Snaith.
If the early betting on Saturday’s Marshalls World Of Sport Gold Cup is a correct guide, Tarry has a bright chance of finishing the season on a high. He has three of the first five horses at the top of the market.
The trio are Nebraas, Black Thorn and Shango and the big plus for the stable is that the trio will all be partnered by top jockeys. They are Richard Fourie, Keagan De Melo and Gavin Lerena.
It’s not known whether Fourie was approached to ride Aragosta on who he won the SA Derby, but he keeps his successful partnership with five-year-old Nebraas. He has won three times and been placed third in his four rides on the gelding.
One of those wins came in the Gold Bowl at Turffontein in April in which he beat his stablemate, Black Thorn. He will be 2kg better off in Saturday’s marathon.
Aragosta was a disappointment in the Hollywoodbets Durban July with the three-year-old never a factor and coming home five lengths behind Sparkling Water. He should appreciate the step up in distance in the Gold Cup and S’manga Khumalo has been booked for the ride.
Khumalo has never ridden Aragosta but he will be aware of the Rafeef gelding’s good form which gives him a good chance of landing the July-Gold Cup double.
This column managed to tip Sparkling Water as an early July selection at 33-1 back in February and have hopefully identified a Gold Cup runner which could surprise at long odds.
The horse is Imperial Ruby on offer at 40-1 and 48-10 a place.
Bookmaker Lance Michael quotes Imperial Ruby at 35-1 with Nebraas heading the market at 2.86-1.
Meanwhile, UK racing fans looked on in shock as the three fancied runners in Saturday’s King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot — Westover, Emily Upjohn and Mishriff — all fluffed their lines behind 18-1 chance Pyledriver.
Ridden by PJ MacDonald, Pyledriver really put his rivals to the sword beating Torquator Tasso by two lengths with the runner-up finishing eight lengths clear of slow-starter Mishriff.
MacDonald said: “I can’t believe it. During the final furlong, I was saying ‘Where are they?, where are they’. I was willing the line to come and thank God it did as he was running about in front.
“This could be the last time I win a Group One. I want to make sure I enjoy every moment,” he added.
Winning trainer William Muir said: “I’ve never wanted to cry but I do today. I know they said Westover was fantastic in the Irish Derby and they said Emily Upjohn was terrific, but we also knew our horse was very talented.”
Bookmaker reaction was for Betfair to cut Pyledriver’s odds for the Arc De Triomphe in October from 66-1 to 16-1.
MARSHALLS GOLD CUP
(Betting supplied by Lance Michael)
5-1 Black Thorn, Shangani
18-1 Salvatore Mundi
22-1 Chollima, Crimson King, Rex Union
35-1 Imperial Ruby, Smoking Hot
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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.