Seven Million Reasons To Smile!

Son of Silvano cannot do more than win first up

Relief and a tangible measure of satisfaction at the first hurdle of a plan come together.

That was the overall vibe after the R7 million yearling Celestial City made an eyecatching winning debut for trainer Sean Tarry at a wet Turffontein on Tuesday, some three years after having passed through the ring as a sales-topper at Gosforth Park.

Multiple national champion trainer Sean Tarry is not an exuberant shout-it-from-the-treetops kind of character on an average day, and he has been in the game too long to see a sales price-ticket as a passport to anything but additional stress.

In fact he hinted at an agreement with owner Henning Pretorius to ‘lose the price ticket’.

Henning Pretorius signs the chit for Celestial City back in 2020 (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

When contacted by the Sporting Post some weeks ago, following questions from our readers as to the big-ticket’s progress, he said little more than ‘look out for him by the end of November’.

The drift in the betting on Tuesday afternoon from 28-10 to 5-1 also spoke of a lack of confidence.

But the handsome colt with the stallion’s pedigree could do no more than win, and that he did, turning it on up the outside under Avontuur jockey Calvin Habib to beat the rather well-tried Top Sail (7-2) by a half length in a time of 100,48 secs for the mile in sticky conditions.

Sean Tarry was clearly pleased with the outcome but cautioned that it was a maiden win and ‘let’s not get ahead of ourselves’.

Calvin Habib produces Celestial City with a well-timed effort on debut (Pic – JC Photos)

Wilgerbosdrift made history at the 2019 Emperors Palace National Yearling Sale, when the Piketberg farm’s blue blooded Masaki was knocked down to Shadwell South Africa for R9 million  – the highest price ever paid for a thoroughbred yearling at public auction in SA.

The leading breeders were back a year later with Tuesday’s much anticipated debut winner, a Silvano full-brother to multiple Gr1 winning champion Hawwaam, and also a half-brother to multiple Gr1 star and SA Horse Of The Year Rainbow Bridge and Cape Derby winner Golden Ducat. The latter recently made an impressive comeback to racing after a long layoff.

Celestial City, purchased and now raced by Summerhill Stud’s Henning Pretorius is the fifth foal of Jet Master’s Gr3 Prix Du Cap winning daughter Halfway To Heaven, a notorious producer of Gr1 winners and South Africa’s Broodmare Of The Year in both 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Watch Tuesday’s debut by Celestial City:

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