A bold move at the top of the home straight by Anthony Delpech rounded off an SA Oaks – SA Derby double for Maine Chance stallion Silvano at Turffontein on Champions Day.
Silvano’s daughter Wind Chill had scored a smart victory in the SA Oaks a half hour earlier.
The Gauteng Guineas and SA Classic runner-up, Sean Tarry’s Al Sahem made good in the final leg of the SA Triple Crown and demonstrated that things may well have turned out quite differently had his trainer not faced a race against time in advance of the first leg.
“We started on the backfoot initially and once again it all boils down to timing. We had him ready today and he showed us what he is capable of,” said Tarry, who had a relatively quiet big day with a Gr1 and Gr2 in the bag.
In a disappointingly small field, SA Classic winner Heavenly Blue and Al Sahem looked the standouts amongst some Gr1 passengers.
The race panned out beautifully for Delpech, who said that Al Sahem had been quiet last time – “today he was naughty – that’s his personality – and he ran to his ability,” he added.
“At the 1200m the pace came back to me and he did thing so easily. He ran on well all the way to the line. I must thank Sean (Tarry) for keeping me on throughout the Triple Crown,” said Delpech.
Al Sahem galloped powerfully down the long Turffontein straight to win in a time of 154,51 secs.
With the favourite Heavenly Blue battling to make up the ground – he may not have stayed – it was left to Geoff Woodruff’s Derby Trial winner Pagoda to give cheek and grab second cheque.
The son of Mogok looks worth keeping an eye on.
Heavenly Blue ran a one-paced third and he is likely to drift off the top of the July betting.
Trainer Sean Tarry had been bullish all week.
“We respected the favourite but I expected the better showing. Lyle Hewitson and Joe Gingwiza have done all the work on him and I must thank them and the team for the great effort,’ he said.
Al Sahem was bred by Al Adiyaat SA and is a son of Silvano out of the three-time winning Al Muft mare, Alderry.
He has won 3 races with 2 places from his 5 starts and stakes of R1 972 500.