Former SA champion trainer Sean Tarry turned what had the makings of a possible good day, into one of his most memorable when the hardknocking Tilbury Fort pulled off the biggest win of his career – outgunning his opposition under champion rider Lyle Hewitson to win the R2 000 000 G-Bets Gauteng Summer Cup at a festive Turffontein on Saturday.
On what was one of the most vibrant and well attended Summer Cup days on record, an estimated crowd of 15000 turned up on a beautiful Highveld afternoon to enjoy some action-packed racing and a host of entertaining sideshows.
And the major players on the day were the multiple past SA champion Tarry with six winners, backed up by his merry group of top-class jockeys, headed by the Avontuur-sponsored Lyle Hewitson (4 victories), with S’manga Khumalo and apprentice Luke Ferraris grabbing a winner apiece.
After his eyecatching Charity Mile near miss, Tilbury Fort was tantalisingly easy to back at around 7’s off his 52kgs, and Tarry, always the man for the big occasion, sent three runners to start in a bid to win his second consecutive Summer Cup.
The trio included defending champion Liege and the widely drawn Social Order.
Last year’s Summer Cup runner up Fort Ember set a sedate gallop, followed by Cash Time, Dawn Assault, Arctica and Cascapedia.
As expected it became something of a sprint for home and as they entered the final 200m, the bright yellow flag of Tilbury Fort burst through down the middle
Despite moving about late under pressure, Tilbury Fort was going the best and beat surprise threat Dawn Assault by 0,60 lengths in a time of 124.32 secs.
Dawn Assault was full value for a great effort from a wide draw, while Cascapedia moved up dangerously down the rail but had little more to offer and ran a further 0,20 lengths back in third.
Topweight Coral Fever ran a cracking fourth under 0,40 lengths back under his 60kgs.
The pacy Fort Ember hung on for the last cheque – she ran 3,90 lengths back in eighth to bank the R10 000.
“It’s special when you’ve done so much work on the horse, and he’s been so good to me.I am so fortunate and thankful to ride for such a totally professional yard,” said Hewitson who has now moved out of the Joburg Academy in anticipation of coming out of his time at the end of the month.
“I thought it would be tough today, and would have been happy with two winners. But as the day went on I grew more confident, as you do when things go your way.Tilbury Fort likes racing fresh, so I wasn’t worried about it being his second outing after a rest,” said the rampant Tarry, who won six race on the day.
Improved many lengths after gelding, Tilbury Fort is a winner of R2 054 000 in stakes from 5 wins and 10 places at 22 starts.
The Sandown Stud bred Tilbury Fort was purchased for R110 000 at the 2015 CTS March Yearling Sale by Sean Tarry.
A son of deceased champion Horse Chestnut (Fort Wood) the winner is out of the seven-time winning Restructure mare Colleen.
Gr1 Summer Cup (SAf-Gr1)
Turffontein, South Africa, December 1, R2 million, 2000m, turf, good, 2.04.32
1 – TILBURY FORT (SAF), 52.0, b g 5, Horse Chestnut (SAF) – Colleen (SAF) by Restructure . Owner Messrs M A Currie, W H Jacobs, S Mathen, E C Van Niekerk, Craig Zoghby, Sean Tarry Racing C.C. (Nom : Mr S G Tarry) & Mrs B M A Lahoud; Breeder GJ Armitage; trainer SG Tarry; jockey L Hewitson
2 – Dawn Assault (SAF), 52.5, b h 5, Call To Combat (SAF) – Cayman Ridge (SAF) by Al Mufti (USA)
3 – Cascapedia (IRE), 54.5, b m 5, High Chaparral (IRE) – Janoubi (GB) by Dansili (GB)
Margins: 0.60, 0.20, 0.40