Up Where He Belongs

Diadem double for SA champion sire, Trippi

The Highlands bred Trippi gelding Trip To Heaven has matured like a fine red wine and stormed to his fourth Gr2 victory with an impressive turn of foot to land the spoils in the R400 000 Gr2 Diadem Stakes at Kenilworth on Saturday.

Trip To Heaven charges clear under S’manga Khumalo, as Tevez (Aldo Domeyer in the yellow cap) battles to get to terms (Pic -Wayne Marks)

It was the 5yo’s second consecutive Gr2 success after his Joburg Merchants win and he remains unbeaten in three starts this season – with the R1 million Gr1 Cape Flying Championship on Sun Met day, albeit over 200m shorter, looking to be his for the taking.

Fair enough, he has never won over the minimum trip, but Trip To Heaven has shown character in overcoming a relatively modest (despite winning his first Gr2 Joburg Merchants) 4yo season to be a serious candidate for our champion sprinter award.

And the fact that he is relishing his racing is a feather in the cap of his trainer Sean Tarry, who has him in fine trim.

Smanga Khumalo

Smanga Khumalo – winning partnership with Trip To Heaven

Then buckle S’manga Khumalo up in the cockpit, our SA champion who has been aboard at all of his seven career wins, and today’s 3-1 looks a bit of a giveaway in hindsight, doesn’t it?

With the late declaration of blinkers for the 26 week rested Red Ray, the field of twelve was despatched with the speedy Exelero, one of four Mayfair Speculators’ runners from three different yards in the race, showing the way.

Cape Merchants winner Search Party kept the leader honest as the field came across to the outside rail, with Trip To Heaven nearer last and looking relaxed.

At the 400m, Khumalo started looking for daylight and switched Trip To Heaven to the centre of the group as Search Party continued to roll, with Exelero tiring.

In a matter of strides the gaps opened and Trip To Heaven stormed clear to beat the consistent 7yo Tevez by 3,75 lengths in a time of 71,56 secs.

Merchants winner Search Party showed plenty of pace and was shaded into third, just ahead of the blinkered joint 3-1 favourite Red Ray who came into the picture too late for a well-beaten 4,20 length fourth. He will be a fitter horse in the Cape Flying Championship.

Disappointment of the race was the Vaal visitor Talktothestars, who showed again that Kenilworth is not his happiest patch of turf.  The son of Overlord blew in the betting and ran accordingly, finishing 10,10 lengths off the winner. The Cape Flying Championship looks a lifetime away for him right now.

Sean Tarry – will have a strong hand on Met day

Trip To Heaven has now won 7 races from 1160m to 1450m, with 5 places from 17 starts for stakes of R1 564 750.

A R1,4 million Cape Premier Yearling Sale Book 1 buy, he races in the interests of powerhouse owners Chris van Niekerk and Markus Jooste and was bred by newsmaking Highlands Stud.

Trip To Heaven is a son of SA champion sire Trippi – whose daughter Lanner Falcon won the race last year.

The winner is out of the imported Cee’s Tizzy four-time winner Helleborous Blue – a 3/4-sister to the solid USA -trained pair of Slew’s Tizzy and Slew’s Tiznow.

While it’s no secret that Justin Snaith is lining up the armoury as he always does, Sean Tarry looks to be countering with a massive Sun Met day attack.

Roll on 28 January!


Gr2 Diadem Stakes  (SAf-Gr2)

Kenilworth, South Africa, January 14, R400k, 1200m, turf, good, 1.11.56

1 – TRIP TO HEAVEN (SAF), 59.0, b g 5, Trippi (USA) – Helleborus Blue (USA) by Cee’s Tizzy (USA). Owner Messrs C J H van Niekerk & M J Jooste; Breeder Highlands; trainer SG Tarry; jockey S Khumalo
2 – Tevez (SAF), 58.0, b g 7, Caesour (USA) – Minelli (SAF) by Elliodor (FR)
3 – Search Party (SAF), 59.0, b g 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Princess Magdalena (GB) by Pennekamp (USA)
Margins: 3.75, 0.05, 0.40

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