Jack Milner: With eight live runners in the field for Saturday’s R500,000 World Sports Betting Grand Heritage (Non-Black Type) over 1475m, and the stable hitting top form, Sean Tarry has a great chance of driving home from the Vaal Racecourse with the winning trophy in his car.
In fact, Tarry also trains the two reserve runners so he could have 11 runners should there be two withdrawals which are not from his yard.
The Grand Heritage is a unique race in South Africa in that it comprises 28 competitors and is run over what is considered to be an irregular distance. The centre rail has been removed from the straight track and they can take up the entire width of the course.
The key for the jockeys will be to work out the draws. Based on what we saw at Tuesday’s meeting at the Vaal there was not a great deal of bias from any draws but for most of the meeting the winners were coming from horses racing just outside the centre of the track.
So, based on a slight preference for the outside draws, perhaps Social Order could give Sean Tarry and jockey Gavin Lerena a third feature-race victory in the space of a week.
The betting has Mike de Kock-trained Fired Up and Riverstown, trained by Paul Peter, joint favourites at 13-2. Next best come Social Order (10-1), Russian Beat (14-1) and Aurelia Cotta (14-1) all trained by Tarry. There has been a lot of rain over the last few days and the forecasts indicate it is likely to continue for the next few days so we can be sure the track will be soft to heavy tomorrow.
On that basis, one has to go with the horses who enjoy the wet and high up on that list is Social Order. He has raced five times in the wet for two wins and a place. This six-year-old son of Count Dubois would probably prefer a little further but did run a very nice second behind stable companion Tierra Del Fuego last month over 1400m at the Vaal in yielding conditions. He was running on strongly when going down by a long head so the extra distance and the stronger handling from Gavin Lerena, could make the difference.
Riverstown ran a great third in the Grade 3 Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein last month and followed that up with a 1.25-length second behind Tarry-trained Ikigai.
This son of Byword is lightly raced and can only get better. He is also drawn towards the outside and will be ridden by log-leading jockey Warren Kennedy.
The next three are all drawn towards the inside and include Fired Up, Russian Beat and Captain Of Tortuga, who loves this course and distance and has placed in all four starts in wet going.