Sean Tarry chats to Gold Circle about his arsenal for the Horse Chestnut Stakes (Gr1), the SA Derby (Gr1) and the SA Oaks (Gr2) at Turffontein on Saturday 2 May.

CIRILLO and TIERRA DEL FUEGO are the stables’ leading lights for the 1600m Horse Chestnut and Sean reports that both are in very good shape and there will be no excuses from a fitness point of view.

Cirillo made a slow start to his 4yo campaign but bounced back to easily win the recent Gr 2 Hawaii Stakes, with Tierra Del Fuego finishing a distant second.

On that form Cirillo, who was runner-up in last year’s Horse Chestnut under a length behind Sograt, should again have the edge over his stable companion.

The talented Guineas winner Ikigai has the WSB Guineas at Hollywoodbets Greyville at the end of May as his main target but Sean revealed he may well start in the Horse Chestnut. If he does, we will get an opportunity to guage the current 3yo crop against the older generation.

The Dingaans winner, SHANGO, will head the Tarry charge for Derby glory. “He ran a close second to the unbeaten Alibi Guy over 1900m at the back end of his 2yo campaign. He hit the line hard that day which gives us hope he will stay the Derby trip,” said Tarry. “But I guess only the race itself will confirm that,” he added.

CORNISH POMODORO and NEBRAAS have also been pencilled in for a crack at the Derby. Both are largely unexposed lightly raced 3yo’s but Cornish Pomodoro finished 2nd behind Green Laser in the 1800m Sea Cottage Stakes while Nebraas was runner-up in the Derby Trial at his last start. The latter has a very interesting pedigree being by Vercingetorix out of a daughter of Archipenko, who won the QE 11 Cup at Shatin for Mike de Kock.

“Cornish Pomodoro and Nebraas are both well above average with plenty of scope and the Derby distance should not be a problem for either of them,” said Tarry.

Sean has two fillies bound for the SA Oaks. KEEP SMILING, by Flower Alley, has only won once from 12 starts but Sean was quick to remind us that she was a close second at level weights behind Summer Pudding in the Gr3 Fillies Mile back in November. “She has very good form and boasts a nice Oaks pedigree. I expect her to be competitive,” said Tarry.

VICTORIA PAIGE is an interesting Oaks prospect. “She is by Captain Al but there is plenty of stamina on her dam’s side. She gives us the impression she will stay and class is on her side,” suggested Tarry.

“Unfortunately Victoria Paige was sidelined for the Fillies Classic due to a high temperature – a great pity as I really fancied her to give Summer Pudding a proper run for her money. She was beaten less than a length by Paul Peter’s charge in the Fillies Guineas and I have always held Victoria Paige in high regard,” he concluded.

So what of Al Mutawakel? “He could possibly run in the Presidents Champions Challenge at the end of May but my preference may be to head straight to Durban with him,” responded Sean.

-Gold Circle FB

Image: Sean Tarry / Candiese Lenferna

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