Celtic Sea steals the show at Scottsville
Dennis Drier won his eighth career Grade 1 Golden Horse Medallion on Saturday and his eleventh Grade 1 victory at Hollywoodbets Scottsville, so he deserves to be given the freedom of Pietermaritzburg, but the feats of Sean Tarry at this course are not as well documented and he in fact surpassed Drier and made it twelve Grade 1 triumphs at the city track.
It was an equally memorable day for Gareth van Zyl, who landed the first Grade 1 of his career.
Tarry's filly Celtic Sea put up one of the most remarkable performances on the day to retain her Grade 1 SA Fillies Sprint crown.
This was the seventh time Tarry had won this race and Celtic Sea followed Carry On Alice as his second dual winner.
On a day when those coming from off the pace were finding it difficult to make up the deficit, the Captain Al filly was nurtured through a flat spot at the 500m mark by Gavin Lerena before powering home on the inside rail to catch her market rival Run Fox Run and the 16/1 shot Singforafa in a three-way head bobbing finish.
That made it eleven Hollywoodbets Scottsville Grade 1s for Tarry and he then made it twelve when Warrior's Rest won the Golden Horse Sprint by the narrowest of margins from Ultra Magnus, meaning Brett Crawford had been denied by a short-head for the second race in succession.
It was Tarry's second successive win of this race and his third in your years.
Warrior's Rest was suited by the prevailing conditions and was able to maintain a strong gallop from start to finish and the 18/1 shot did just that under a light weight of 52,5kg and an intelligent ride by Callan Murray.
The reigning Equus Champion Sprinter Kasimir finished third carrying top weight.
Tarry had only just failed in the first Grade 1 of the day, the Allan Robertson, when his filly Ecstatic Green joined the Van Zyl-trained Vernichey in front. However, the latter fought back bravely and only just prevailed under Warren Kennedy. War Of Athena flew up for third.
Drier then dominated the Golden Horse Medallion. His charge Pray For Rain showed exceptional natural pace and was still going well through the 400m mark. However, Tempting Fate looks something special and reeled in his stablemate in to win by a comfortable 1,50 lengths under Sean Veale in a performance which matched Celtic Sea's. No Laying Up stayed on well for third ahead of the favourite Erik The Red and the fancied Joseph Barry.
Drier has won seven of the last eleven renewals of the Medallion having first won it way back in 1990.