SA Champion trainer Sean Tarry made it a glorious hat-trick of victories in the R1 million Emperors Palace BSA Ready To Run Cup when the diminutive Visionaire grey Spiritofthegroove came from the clouds to deny the Gary Alexander coupling in the final 100m.
From a humble start five months ago when winning a Workriders Maiden Plate at the Vaal on debut, Spiritofthegroove was thrown into the deep end and held her own at stakes level down in Durban in the SA Champions Season last term.
With two eyecatching starts under the belt as a 3yo, she was the highest rated runner in the field – but her awful draw deterred many on Saturday and she was allowed to start at 9-2.
The PE raider Her Eminence led Enjoy The View and Blue Spark early, and kept plugging away as they went into the final 350m .
That was the moment that the Alexander duo of Gaian Glory and Just Kidding made their bid.
With Denis Schwarz riding a confident race on Gaian Glory, she looked to have done enough, but had no answer to the finishing burst of Spiritofthegroove who stormed down the inside rail to win going away by 2,25 lengths in a time of 85,90 secs.
Just Kidding was another who was finishing with determination, but she couldn’t quite get there and was beaten into third a further 1,50 lengths back, to round off a Visionaire trifecta.
Wayne Agrella produced the PE raider Blushing Bride, a stablemate to the pacemaker, for fourth and a handy R60 000 cheque that will more than cover the Bremner travel expenses.
Pinch Pot was the last horse to earn a cheque, when he banked R12 000 for tenth finish.
Marco van Rensburg, who said he had erred last time on the inside track, by pressing the button too early on Spiritofthegroove chirped that Sean Tarry had been ‘on his case for three weeks’.
“He kept asking if I was the right jockey. Now he knows! The filly isn’t big but she is is all heart and she floats – she has a beautiful action,” he said.
Trainer Sean Tarry said that he ‘had gotten lucky’.
“Three months ago I didn’t think she could lose it. Then we got the draw and 40 mms of rain. And as for Marco! After the last run, in my mind he wasn’t going to ride her again. Two bites of the cherry is usually it. But he did his spade work. And he rode a top race in the end,” he said, as he summed up a good day – with ‘a few winners and the Springbok World Cup victory!’.
Bred by Timen Stables, Spiritofthegrove is raced by Equine Hub SA (Pty) Ltd and is a daughter of Lammerskraal sire Visionaire (Grand Slam) out of one-time winning National Assembly mare, Band Of Angels.
She has earned at all her 6 starts and took her win tally to two, with earnings of R703 875 – a handsome early return on her purchase price of R240 000.