Tarry’s Golden Horse Back For Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge

Saturday 6 June - Hollywoodbets Greyville

It’s been billed the race of the season, and with good reason! A nationally representative line-up of 13 of South Africa’s best milers will line up on Saturday in the 53rd renewal of the premier SA Champions Season weight- for-age mile, the R2 million Hollywoodbets Gr1 Gold Challenge.

Hollywoodbets Greyville hosts the clash of the titans which was won last year by Drakenstein’s retired champion Charles Dickens, who will mark his inaugural season in the Franschhoek stallion barn in the forthcoming breeding season.

Lucky Lad – returns on Saturday to bid for a second Grade 1 success in quick time (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Five sophomores will carry the flag this year for the younger generation, with newsmaking Highveld Champion Main Defender (Hollywoodbets’ 3-1 favourite) bumping his counterpart Sandringham Summit (7-2) and Saturday’s sensational Gr1 Golden Horse winner Lucky Lad, who has been priced up at 9-2 by the big race sponsors.

The decision to back Lucky Lad up so soon after his breathtaking victory over the 1200m in the KZN Capital City, has raised some eyebrows, as it’s not the stereotyped time-framework that we are used to with the top yards here.

But Sean Tarry told the Sporting Post that there was plenty of short interval precedent internationally, including the Melbourne Cup build-up races, and that the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge had always been the main target for the handsome son of Gimmethegreenlight.

“We reverted to ‘plan C’ after Thunderstruck’s retirement,” explained the five-times SA champion conditioner, who said that with Dyce carrying topweight and Lucky Lad coming into the Golden Horse carrying 54,5kgs, and the rest, bar two, at varying terms of sufferance, it was a chance that they simply had to take.

“The Hollywoodbets Scottsville engagement was the real worry. But he came through that with flying colours, emptied his manger on Sunday, and looks a million dollars today. Richard Fourie said before Saturday that he would like to ride Lucky Lad in both the Golden Horse and the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge. We are thus on track, and while we put plenty of thought into our planning, we have to be flexible and are now hoping for the best.”

Tarry responded to our question as to whether Lucky Lad, a Hollywoodbets Durban July entry, would get the mile, by pointing out that a sprinter would not be getting up on the post as he has done in both the Gr2 Senor Santa Stakes and the Gr1 Golden Horse recently, were he not looking for further.

“He’s showing us that further ground is the way to go. He did chase Sandringham Summit home in the 1400m TAB Gr2 Dingaans at Turffontein,” he added.

As to his 11 draw, the 55 year old trainer said that even a professional racing operation was permitted to believe in ‘good omen’s, every now and again.

“When he won the Gr1 Gold Medallion last season he did it from gate 11. On Saturday he won the Gr1 Golden Horse from gate 11. He starts in the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge from gate 11 this coming Saturday. Richard Fourie knows him well. We will leave it to the top jockey.”

And will he go for the Hollywoodbets Durban July?

“Our focus is now on the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge. We will assess things thereafter. One thing I can tell you is that we will not be running Lucky Lad in the Hollywoodbets Durban July, if we don’t believe he can win it.”

R2 000 000 1600m Ref-0
1st R1250000, 2nd R400000, 3rd R200000, 4th R100000, 5th R50000
Hollywoodbets GOLD CHALLENGE (Grade 1)
For Horses at Weight-For-Age
WFA: 2yrs-10.5kgs 3yrs-1.5kgs
No Apprentice / Female Sex Allowance
1 1 Gimmeanotherchance 58.5 115 A Craig Zackey Mike de Kock
2 2 Cousin Casey 60 123 A S’manga Khumalo Sean Tarry
3 3 Main Defender 58.5 131 A Calvin Habib Tony Peter
4 4 Sandringham Summit 58.5 123 T A Gavin Lerena David Nieuwenhuizen
5 5 Itsrainingwilliam 60 108 A Serino Moodley Justin Snaith
6 6 Dave The King 60 126 A Muzi Yeni Mike de Kock
7 7 Gladatorian 60 120 T A Sean Veale Stuart Ferrie
8 8 Royal Aussie 60 124 A Kabelo Matsunyane Justin Snaith
9 9 See It Again 60 132 BA Piere Strydom Michael Roberts
10 10 Snow Pilot 58.5 120 A Juan Paul v’d Merwe Justin Snaith
11 11 Lucky Lad 58.5 124 TBA Richard Fourie Sean Tarry
12 12 Al Muthana (AUS) 60 123 A Tristan Godden Ricky Maingard
13 13 Bingwa 60 123 BAe Raymond Danielson J A Janse van Vuuren
Same Trainer
(1,6) (2,11) (5,8,10)

Sandringham Summit was left flat-footed by the rampant Green With Envy in the WSB Gr2 Guineas last month, while betting boards topper Main Defender has not seen race action for over three months since beating the older Dave The King in the Wilgerbosdrift Gr1 Horse Chestnut Stakes.

Back in action –  Main Defender runs fresh on Saturday (Pic – 4Racing)

Michael Roberts’ See It Again had a nice blowout prior to races on the Daily News 2000 raceday, and wraps up his Hollywoodbets Durban July prep on Saturday.

Lucky Lad’s stablemate and unlucky IOS Gr2 Drill Hall Stakes runner-up Cousin Casey is quoted at 14-1 and may be a value pick for his staunch supporters who have waited what feels like a lifetime for him to find winning form.

Justin Snaith last won this weight-for-age mile in 2019 with Do It Again, and in 2015 with Legislate. Both were ridden by Richard Fourie, while Snaith’s first Gold Challenge winner was the top filly Dancer’s Daughter, who won the race in 2008 when ridden by Weichong Marwing and beating Imbongi (Anthony Delpech) in the glorious days when it was run on the left-handed Clairwood track.

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