NO trainer has won the Emerald Cup twice but both Sean Tarry and Mike de Kock will be out to change that on Saturday afternoon. The R600 000 Grade 2 event is the richest race on sand in Africa and is run over 1450m at the Vaal.
De Kock captured the first running of the race with Hilti in 2005 while Tarry won last year with The Mouseketeer. Both have a strong hand in this year’s race – Tarry with four runners and De Kock with two.
De Kock’s runners had mixed fortunes with the draw. Meadow Magic is nicely positioned at No 2 but Right Beauty (headline photo) drew widest of all. The draw is often vital at this track so Meadow Magic could have the edge on this field. “This will be his third run back from a rest so he will be spot on,” says assistant trainer Mathew de Kock. “Meadow Magic and Right Beauty travelled up from Durban last Saturday and both took the journey very well.
“We galloped them both on Monday and they put up very good gallops. Meadow Magic is perfectly positioned in barrier No 2 and we’re expecting a good showing. Unfortunately Right Beauty has drawn widest off all. He has run once on the sand for one win and his gallop was pretty impressive on Monday. If he was well drawn I would be confident of a good run.”
Mr Tobin has been the star of the sand over the last year but Meadow Magic got extremely close to beating him when they met in the Highveld Sand Challenge over 1600m. De Kock’s runner looked to have the race in the bag with 100m to run but perhaps his jockey thought he had the race won and took it a little too easy. That allowed Mr Tobin to get up in the final stride. However, this time Meadow Magic is 0.5kg better off and will have the services of stable jockey Anthony Delpech.
Despite top weight of 60.5kg one cannot ignore the chances of Mr Tobin. It was at this meeting last year that Tarry opted to try Mr Tobin on the sand for the first time. At that stage he was a battling six-year-old who had just managed to notch up two wins. He contested the Vaal River Handicap over 1800m and went on to beat Empenoso Henn by 2.25 lengths. It was a life-changing performance. Since then he has gone on to race nine more times at the track for eight wins and a second.
Even when Tarry felt 1450m would be too short, he was proved wrong. Although Mr Tobin is usually outpaced early in the race, once he gets going the Argentinian-bred gelding mows down his opposition to win going away. “I believe he is way above these horses and it’s just a matter of the handicapping. If I have a few lengths in hand then he I feel he can win,” said Tarry.
Mr Tobin will come from off them but Tarry is not concerned. “Over 1450m they go flat out. The horses drawn well are not going to give the chances to the horses on the outside.”
Gavin Lerena has won all four of his races aboard Mr Tobin and he takes the ride again.
Last time out Mr Tobin beat Beacon Flare by 2.50 lengths over this track and trip but on this occasion Weiho Marwing’s charge is 6kg better off. That should give him the edge but Mr Tobin won with plenty in hand and might well be able to confirm the form.
Last year’s winner, The Mouseketeer, has in-form Piere Strydom in the irons and their chances cannot be overlooked. Strydom will be looking for his third victory in this race, having won on National Spirit (2006) and Narc (2007). – Racing Express.