Devastation turned to elation and hopes of a beautiful summer ahead, at Turffontein on Friday evening, as Sean Tarry pondered the emotional rollercoaster of just over a fortnight ago. His Charity Mile frustration with the smart Tiger’s Retreat not making the final cut, showed that the handicappers are capable of random, albeit unwitting acts of favour, at times.
Tarry had saddled Whiteline Fever who ended up running fourth in the Gr2 Charity Mile, but it was clear at the time that he was disappointed to have Tiger’s Retreat relegated to the spectator role of a reserve runner. The man who took Mike De Kock all the way to the last jump in last season’s SA trainer champion chase, will no doubt be looking at things on the maxim of ‘all’s well that ends well.’
After Tarry’s charge Tiger’s Retreat had won Friday evening’s R300 000 Gr2 Victory Moon Stakes, it is possible that what seemed like a harsh decision by our handicappers, may well turn out to be quite fortuitous.
The sixteen horse field broke on terms at the 1800m marker on a track tagged soft after rains in the previous 24 hours.
The mare Cherry On The Cake and Serissa made the pace, with Royal Bencher in third, with plenty of jostling behind them.
At that stage as they went into the bend Tiger’s Retreat was five lengths adrift in sixth position.
As they stormed for home, Royal Bencher moved up to lead, Knock On Wood also looked dangerously full of running.
As they fanned out in the run for home, Danielson found himself in no man’s land at the 400m marker and he cleverly (did he have a choice?) took the race by the scruff of the neck, as Robbie Fradd produced Master Sabina on his outside.
In a thrilling charge to the line, the two matched strides with the Tarry runner gaining the ascendancy late, showing plenty of heart in the process.
Tiger’s Retreat won at 10 to 1 by a short head in a time of 109,61 secs.
The year younger 7 to 2 favourite Master Sabina was not disgraced in defeat, while Ilha Bela ran on well in third, and looks set for a solid Summer Cup tilt.
Robbie Sage and Colin Bird would have been thrilled with the performance of the original first reserve runner Menacing, who grabbed the R15 000 fourth cheque. Their lightly raced son of Go Deputy ran a cracker after getting his break following the withdrawal of General Sherman.
Winning rider Raymond Danielson, who has a knack of winning the features, said afterwards that he couldn’t get in and had been forced to run three wide early on. He also spoke of his concerns that he felt that they were going a ‘bit slow where I was.’
He said that was exposed in the straight earlier than he would have chosen. He did not hesitate to suggest that his mount would have won easier if things had gone his way, and felt that he had more wins in the tank.
Danielson deserves plenty of the credit for the win, and showed maturity by not panicking and adapting to the realities as the race panned out.
Trainer Sean Tarry confirmed afterwards that he had been ‘devastated’ when Tiger’s Retreat had been left out of the Charity Mile. He paid tribute to his loyal owner Chris Van Niekerk and said that Raymond Danielson had ridden a good race and made the most of his bad position.
“It was a courageous win and he had gone to post superbly well,” he said.
Tarry said also that there had not been much to choose between his quartet of runners, but that Halve The Deficit had spread a shoe and had not gone down well.
Tiger’s Retreat registered his first stakes win and his fifth victory overall, with 7 places from his 15 starts.
Bred by the late Terry Silcock, he is by Tiger Ridge out of the four time winning Fort Wood mare, Water Berry.
He cost all of R550 000 on the National Yearling Sale and edged close to balancing the books with his stakes earnings now totalling R494 350.
Tiger’s Retreat is likely to line up in the Sansui Summer Cup in two weeks from now.Gr2 Victory Moon Stakes (SAf-Gr2) Turffontein, South Africa, November 15, R300k, 1800m, turf, good, 1.49.61 TIGER’S RETREAT (SAF), 54.0, b g 5, Tiger Ridge (USA) – Water Berry (SAF) by Fort Wood (USA). Owner Mr C J H Van Niekerk; breeder TS Silcock; trainer SG Tarry; jockey R Danielson Master Sabina (SAF), 54.0, b c 4, Jet Master (SAF) – Sabina Park (SAF) by Sportsworld (USA) Ilha Bela (SAF), 54.5, gr m 5, Fort Wood (USA) – Ilha Da Vitoria (BRZ) by Candy Stripes (USA) Margins: nose, 1, ¾