Gavin Lerena and Sean Tarry’s fairer sex speed machine Celtic Sea were the toast of Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Saturday when the duo produced the performance of the day when fighting back from the gallows to defend their title in the R325 000 The Witness Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint.
With a head separating the top three, the SA Fillies Sprint produced the highlight of a terrific day of speed.
The 1200m contest was fought out by the expected pair of Celtic Sea and Cape star Run Fox Run – with Corne Spies’ Singforafa playing a starring role in the action-packed movie.
After her relatively easy victory in the 2019 renewal, Celtic Sea made it look far harder work here as the free-striding Singforafa ran the race of her life and looked a winner in the final stages.
But Lerena was giving the machine a chance to gather her senses after the halfway mark, and she rallied powerfully at 11-12 to pip Run Fox Run (2-1) and Singaforafa (16-1) in a time of 67,73 secs.
Fourth-placed True To Life was over 3 lengths back in fourth.
Triumphant trainer Sean Tarry modestly conceded that it ‘makes the job easy when you have superstars like this to work with’.
“Gavin Lerena was as cool as a cucumber. Another Gr1 victory for Anthony Beck in these famous colours. I’m glad to have been able to give Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein another Gr1 too. It’s a privilege,” he added.
A relieved Gavin Lerena said that he didn’t exactly ‘want to leave it till the last second’.
“She hit a flat spot at the 550m and I knew I couldn’t force her. But she found her legs inside the last 250m. Thanks to a great team and wonderful collective effort,”he said.
Bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein, Celtic Sea is out of the two-time winner Ireland (Mark Of Esteem).
A R325 000 National Yearling Sale graduate, Celtic Sea took her stakes total to R2 999 392 with 10 wins and 9 places from her 23 starts.
The Garden Province could be her next start – but it is ‘draw dependant’, according to Tarry.