Jack Milner
3 minute read
3 Apr 2017
10:45 am

Tarry’s magnificent seven!

Jack Milner

The Classic and Fillies Classic races both won by De Kock inmates.

ALL SMILES. Callan Murray shows his delight as Heavenly Blue cruises to victory in the R2-million SA Classic at Turffontein on Saturday to give the young jockey his first Grade 1 victory. Picture: JC Photographics

There are some days when there are numer­ous wondrous perfor­mances and you don’t know where to begin.

Classic Day at Turffontein on Saturday was one of those days. Let’s start with the magical num­ber seven. According to the bible the world was created in seven days, we have seven days in a week, seven continents, seven seas and seven colours in the rain­bow.

After Saturday we have anoth­er significant seven, Sean Tarry’s magnificent seven winners in one meeting. One often sees a trainer with loads of runners on a big day but they would be happy with two or three. Runners from Tarry’s yard won the first six races on the card and then he won Race 11 to make it seven. S’manga Khumalo rode four of the winners.

He was only stopped by anoth­er talking point – both Classics going to the Mike de Kock yard. The SA Classic went to Heavenly Blue while the Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic was won by Orchid Island. We’ve got used to expect­ing this kind of display from Mike de Kock but he has been in Dubai for the World Cup and is currently in Australia so it was left to young Mathew de Kock to get the horses ready for the big occasion.

He did so with aplomb and his accurate analysis of the race proved to be spot on. He warned the public prior to the Gauteng Guineas that Janoobi was the fit horse and Heavenly Blue would need the run and was being aimed at the SA Classic. He reiterated that last week and anybody who analysed the replay of the Guineas would have seen that with a bit of better fortune Heavenly Blue would have finished a lot closer to Janoobi and second-placed Al Sahem.

Heavenly Blue was easy to back at 2-1 and there were a few gasps when he was second last going through the turn in this R2-million race over 1800m. But there was another young player in the sport who came of age on Saturday and that was jockey Cal­lan Murray. He was unfazed by the fact he was so far off the pace turning to for home.

“I knew they were going too fast and they would come back to the field,” he said later. What did take him by surprise was how quick­ly Heavenly Blue made up the ground and within 100m of him pushing the button Heavenly Blue has almost swept past Unagi who was the leader at that stage.

“He got there so quickly I decid­ed to give him a short rest,” said Murray. But he was soon in front and you could see a long way out the race was in the bag. The Aus­tralian-bred son of Snitzel was 2.90 lengths ahead of Al Sahem at the finish with Furiosa another 0.40 lengths back in third.

“This is unbelievable,” said the effervescent Murray after claiming his first Grade 1 victory. “These are the days I live for. This horse is so special.”

He could soon be back aboard Heavenly Blue as they run in the SA Derby over 2450m next month.

Some 40 minutes earlier the De Kock yard also claimed the R1-million SA Fillies Classic when Orchid Island, undoubtedly the smallest filly in the race, over­came a wide draw and fought all the way to hold off Tarry-trained Safe Harbour by a neck. Bi Pot proved she is better than her merit rating suggests by finishing third while another De Kock run­ner, Belle Rose, finished fourth.

The disappointment of the race was 16-10 favourite Smiling Blue Eyes who was always a long way off the pace and finished 13 lengths behind the winner. “She’s not herself,” said Tarry later.

“I warned everybody there were problems around the yard and I knew we would get hit some­where. Unfortunately it was Smil­ing Blue Eyes.”

The stable did come away with at least one Grade 1 win when Le­gal Eagle led all the way to com­fortably beat stablemate French Navy by 2.40 lengths.