Castle breached but Tarry bolsters Kilcoy

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NICCI GARNER<br />
CELEBRATING a winner is like no other feeling on earth, but Sean Tarry’s face in the No 1 box after 20-1 outsider Horatio was given the nod by a whisker in the Grade 3 Tony Ruffel Stakes at Turffontein last Saturday told its own story.<br />

<p>Tarry had two runners in the race and on paper ultra-classy Kilcoy Castle seemed unbeatable. He had feature-race form to such good sorts as Argonaut, JJ the Jetplane and Lion’s Blood, was optimally drawn at No 4 and was weighted to give his rivals a galloping lesson. The writing was on the wall some 400m from the wire, though, as Kilcoy Castle threw in the towel and tamely faded to eighth in the nine-horse field.</p>
<p>Juanfra looked a certain winner until Horatio, under a perfectly timed ride from Gavin Lerena, unwound a powerful finish to snare his rival on the post.</p>
<p>Said Tarry: “Horatio’s win was bittersweet for me. I’m pleased he came through to save the day for the yard and am thrilled for his owners who have put their faith in me. He wasn’t expensive and this kind of result shows that the playing fields are level, that not only the big owners can win feature races.</p>
<p>“But I was gutted about Kilcoy Castle’s run. I’ve got a big campaign planned for him and there are some tough horses to beat out there. In a sub-standard field, I expected him to produce the goods.</p>
<p>“He was probably 90% fit, which should have been enough. But it wasn’t all his fault. Brett (Smith) could not find cover. As a result Kilcoy Castle towed into the bit and never settled. He did too much on the turn and compounded. If he’d had a horse in front of him, he would have dropped the bit and had more to come at the business end of the race.”</p>
<p>Both horses pulled up well and Tarry says they will be aimed at the Gauteng Guineas on 1 March.</p>
<p>“It was Horatio’s first run for me and he was in good shape. As I’ve said before, he’s not a good workhorse but, although he was only a one-time winner, his form with Paul Matchett was solid. It was a great ride from Gavin.”</p>
<p>Tarry’s Roman Eagle had her supporters in the Acacia Handicap about an hour earlier, but finished unplaced and Tarry points to jockey Ian Sturgeon aboard Michael Roberts’ Valdovino as the chief reason for both fillies’ bad runs.</p>
<p>“Ian stopped my filly from getting to the front. He kept them out the whole way and both died. Ian would have done better if he’d put his mount behind Roman Eagle and Brett, then both would have run on. He would call it tactical, but it can only be tactical if you get a result.</p>
<p>“Roman Eagle will now go for the Queen of the Sand Handicap (28 February) and will be a hard horse to beat.”</p>
<p>Six-year-old Fork Lightening represented Tarry in the Wolf Power Handicap and ran on from last to finish fifth, a result that pleased his trainer: “He’ll pick up a decent race soon. He’s running well enough to suggest his day’s not far off.”</p>

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