Jack Milner: Tarry’s charge can prove he is better than his merit rating suggests.
Sometimes one just has to go against the rules if your gut tells you the handicappers may well have got it wrong.
That could be the case in Race 6 at Turffontein on Tuesday, a Graduation Plate over 1450m on the Inside track.
So often in Plate races the fillies come out better handicapped than the colts but more often than not, their rating is based on races against their own sex and does not apply when they come up against the boys. We saw that last week in the Victory Moon Stakes when Seville Orange was rated level with Soqrat on handicap and despite receiving 11kg, finished in seventh place beaten just under six lengths.
So it comes as no surprise that in tomorrow’s Graduation Isle De France and Mawsool (now scratched), the two fillies in the race. Isle De France has not raced since contesting the Fillies Mile on 24 November last year when she finished almost 20 lengths behind stablemate Ghaalla. Even if you ignore the “sex” issue, Mike de Kock’s charge might well need the run.
Next best is Riverstown from the Paul Peter yard, who only moved into that position courtesy of a 5.5kg penalty he received for running third behind Frosted Gold in the Grade 3 Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m on 2 November.
What is food for thought is that Gavin Lerena is retained by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein, who own both Isle De France and Riverstown, yet he has elected to ride Spanish Boy for the Geoff Woodruff yard.
Russian Beat is the fourth best-weighted runner but he is likely to find this 1450m a touch sharp.
So, the horse who could be better than his rating and could give them all a galloping lesson is Ikigai. On paper he is not in the running but this three-year-old son of Vercingetorix has only raced three times for a win on debut and two close seconds. Two runs back he finished 0.50 lengths behind Astrix after having his heels clipped during the running of the race. That was over this course and distance.
Sean Tarry then put him back to a 1200m race at the Vaal and he was caught close home by True To Life but was reported to be hanging out in the closing stages.
He will probably enjoy a return to this distance and racing around the turn. He also has the services of Piere Strydom for the first time and from a good draw, looks the runner to beat.
The danger could well be Spanish Boy, who gave Lerena a winner on his first race back from injury. He won over 1200m at this track and as a son of Silvano, will enjoy this extra 250m.