JACK MILNER: IN recent years, few trainers have had a more consistent run in the Ladbrokes Gold Cup than Sean Tarry.
In 2008 his charge Membrado finished second to Desert Links. In 2009 he did not have a runner but a year later the stable’s Vertical Takeoff ran a two-length second behind Ancestral Fore. Last year he won the R1-million race with Aslan and saw stablemate Kolkata finish 0.50 lengths back in second.
The same two runners will represent the yard in the Grade 1 race over 3200m at Greyville but this time Kolkata can take the honours.
Tarry, jockey Piere Strydom and owner Chris van Niekerk were the winning combination with Pomodoro in the Vodacom Durban July and it is highly possible the three could strike again with Kolkata.
His build-up looks perfectly timed. After finishing a 1.50-length second to Gorongosa in the Grade 3 Racing Association Handicap over 3200m at Turffontein last November, Tarry put Kolkata on ice.
The four-year-old Requiem gelding reappeared in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1400m at Greyville where he ran a 4.25-length fifth behind Lake Arthur. That was followed by a run in a MR 94 Handicap over 1600m at Clairwood where he ran fourth, 3.35 lengths off Mujaarib.
His last outing came in the Grade 2 Gold Vase over 3000m at Greyville in which he ran on well enough to finish a 3.25-length third behind Seal.
According to the stipendiary stewards’ report, Kolkata pulled and was blowing hard after the race.
“He was blowing slightly after the Gold Vase, but not excessively,’’ said Tarry yesterday.
“He needed the run. He had only had the 1600m race two weeks before it so how would he be fit for a 3000m just two weeks later? The telling factor was that he pulled in the race.’’
Tarry conceded his charge was “a year older and a year stronger’’ but felt the competition was tougher this year.
“But we have a good jockey in Piere Strydom, a decent weight and a good draw. He ticks all the right boxes,’’ said Tarry.
Mike de Kock has four runners in the line-up – Ilsanpietro, Captain’s Wild, Vettel and Gorongosa – and one always has respect the stable.
Captain’s Wild is the only doubtful stayer but the other three have had very good preparations.
While Gorongosa failed in the Durban July, she did get jostled quite a bit in the race and that put her out of contention.
De Kock has been gearing her up for this race and with Anthony Delpech in the saddle she could be the best of the four.
“She shows little at work,’’ said assistant trainer Nathan Kotzen. “She stays well and this race is her mission. We like to give her a bit of a chance and I would prefer to see her midfield than too close to the leaders.’’
Blake is one of the most consistent stayers around and although he is not well weighted with some of the other runners, Dean Kannemeyer’s runner cannot be ignored.
“He never runs a bad race,’’ said Kannemeyer. “He is a better horse than he was six months ago (when he won the J&B Stayers on Met Day) – and he stays.’’
He jumps from pole position and will be ridden by Karl Neisius.
Princess Of Light will be having the last run of her career and she is an honesty filly who stays all day. She could provide a value Place payout.
“She travelled very well and arrived as fresh as a daisy,’’ said trainer Geoff Woodruff. “She was bucking (on arrival) which is a good sign. She’s had a few good gallops up in Joburg recently so she’s very well.
“In the Gold Bowl (finished third behind Gorongosa and 2.5kg better off) she may not have seen out the distance but I think the short-run in will assist her.’’