Tarry Right to Question July Selections

SEAN TARRY is swinging towards running former Grade 1 Golden Horse Sprint winner Warrior’s Rest in the Grade 1 HKJC World Pools Champions Cup on Marshalls World Of Sports Gold Cup day on July 31 and he also took time to lament the Vodacom Durban July selection process which saw a horse he gave a chance to, Shango, being eliminated.

Tarry said he and the connections had always felt Warrior’s Rest would see out 1800m, so, as he had drawn wide in the Grade 1 Mercury Sprint, the HKJC World Pools Champions Cup provided a good opportunity to test this theory.

The now six-year-old What A Winter gelding ran third in the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Stakes over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Greyville as a two-year-old. He has subsequently run eight times over a mile for one win, a second and two thirds and he finished second in his only attempt at the Champions Cup distance of 1800m. He finished a 5,75 length seventh in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000, which was the furthest trip he has been tried over.

His 1800m runner up finish was in an Assessment Plate so the Champions Cup represents a massive step up in class.

However, he would hardly have been expected to become a Grade 1 winner back then and not only did he achieve the latter when carrying 52.5kg to victory off a 113 merit rating in the Golden Horse last year but he followed that up with a runner up finish in the Grade 1 weight for age Mercury Sprint.

Warrior’s Rest is currently merit rated 115, which puts him 7.5kg under sufferance with Jet Dark, who looks likely to be the highest rated horse in the Champions Cup, considering Rainbow Bridge is reportedly on his way home.

Warrior’s Rest gained a reputation before being campaigned in sprints of leading at a good pace and then having the ability to continually crank that pace up another notch. He used to run all the way to the line and the end result was a trail of vanquished horses in his wake. He used to literally gallop them into the ground on his best days.

He will come in relatively fresh and this year’s Champions Cup is thus likely to be run in a good time.

Warrior’s Rest will be one of the dark horses.

The declarations for the race are tomorrow.

Tarry’s perennial Grade 1 bridesmaid Cirillo ran a fine 0,25 length third in the Champions Cup last year. Cirillo will not run in this year’s renewal as Tarry felt he deserved a rest after a tough season. However, he pointed out he might have pulled him out of the July had he been certain Shango would have got in as Cirillo would have had better prospects in the Champions Cup over a trip he had proven he enjoyed. As it happened Shango was only made second reserve in the July although both of his stablemates Cirillo and Shah Akbar were included in the final field.

Shango then won the July consolation race, the Grade 3 Hollywoodbets 2200, beating the Grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup winner Black Knap by a neck, despite giving him 5.5kg. The Lonsdale runner up Matterhorn, who gave Black Knap only 1kg when beaten a shorthead, was included in the July final field so Shango had proven a point.

Tarry admitted he had stopped fretting about the July selection process about six years ago and these days just accepted his fate.

However, he said the process sometimes made it difficult for a trainer to plan a horse’s assault on the race.

He said in the case of Shango he had won the Grade 2 Dingaans last season and beaten this year’s July favourite Got The Greenlight in the Grade 1 SA Derby. He had subsequently finished fourth in the Grade 1 Daily News and just 4,70 lengths back in the July. He had then gone immediately for surgery and only made his reappearance in April this year. Tarry was very pleased with his comeback 3,75 length fifth to Puerto Manzano over 1600m and said he came out of the race fine and all was on track. However, he then ran well below par in his second run after a layoff and reckoned this might have been the reason for his ultimate elimination from the July field. Shango subsequently ran a 0,75 length second to Johnny Hero in the Grade 3 Jubilee but was giving the latter 4kg and that was the completion of a perfect preparation.

Tarry acknowledged the July as a great race and respected the tradition of giving preferential consideration for final field inclusion to the winners of certain races. However, he said the process had flaws that made it frustrating for trainers when it need not be. The chief habits he questioned were putting in winners of races like the Grade 3 Jubilee, Grade 3 Cup Trial and Grade 3 Track And Ball Derby when they had either beaten weak fields or had narrowly beaten other July entries who had been carrying a lot more weight. He pointed out that in the latter case the beaten horses who was eliminated would come into the July better weighted than the winner.

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