NICCI GARNER
4 minute read
24 Jul 2013
7:28 pm

SA’s top horses already in quarantine

NICCI GARNER

Durban July winner Heavy Metal went straight into quarantine following his victory in the country’s premier race and will fly off to Mauritius early next month with a Dubai World Cup Carnival campaign in mind.

Jockey S'Manga Khumalo on the winning horse Heavy Metal at the Vodacom Durban July race on 6 July 2013 at the Greyville Racetrack in Durban. Picture: Christine Vermooten

Alongside him at the Kenilworth Quarantine Station are a number of South Africa’s top horses, including Mike de Kock-trained Vercingetorix, Rumya, Lehaaf, Mujaarib, Alexandra Palace, Merhee and Full Combat, as well as a new recruit Master Plan, formerly trained by Alec Laird. Other horses currently awaiting export are Equus Horse Of The Year Variety Club, Slumdogmillionaire, Blueridge Mountain and Happy Valentine, who is now owned by Barry Irwin’s Team Valor International is en-route to the USA.

The horses will be going via Mauritius, where they will stay for three months, and then Europe. The Dubai-bound horses will arrive in the Middle East in the first week of December, a month before the Carnival starts.

Tarry will be in charge of Heavy Metal in Dubai but the trainer, who took National Colour there in 2007, is reserving his excitement about going back.

“It’s a big schlep,’’ he said. “There is so much that can go wrong. When he’s there – and he’s fit and well – and his name is in a Racecard, then people can start getting excited. For now, I’m just holding thumbs that he gets through each day.

“Mike de Kock encouraged me to take Heavy Metal out and will be keeping a close eye on him through his travels.’’

It was expected that this year the export protocols would be relaxed in time to allow direct imports to Europe after a month in quarantine at the Cape. An outbreak of African horse sickness in the control zone of the Western Cape in May 2011 had resulted in a two-year ban by the European Union.

However, there has been no news from Racing South Africa on that front and Tarry said: “Nobody can afford to sit around and hope. We all had to make a plan on what the facts are right now and that means nearly a month in quarantine in South Africa, three months in Mauritius and another month in Europe.’’

Tarry believes that Heavy Metal could do very well overseas. “He’s a Silvano and has only been over ground four times, for three wins. I think he’s still a fresh horse who is only finding his feet right now.

“I haven’t decided if I’m going to stick to the turf with him, or try him over Meydan’s Tapeta. The two obvious marks for him are Sheema Classic or the Duty Free on Dubai World Cup Night.’’

However, he warned, “I don’t think we’ll see the best of him in Dubai. Hong Kong or Singapore will suit him more.’’

For now, Tarry is focusing up on his Gold Cup Day runners. He has three horses in the R1.25-million Gold Cup, including Kolkata, the 8-1 joint second favourite.

“He got an eight-point penalty for winning the Gold Vase on Durban July Day, so he’s not the best-weighted horse in the race. But he’s come to hand at the right time and, considering he was rated 93 after finishing second in this race as a three-year-old and is now 98, it’s not way out.

“He is, however, getting less weight than he should from the horses rated higher than him.’’

Tarry’s other two horses are Gold Onyx and E-Jet, both of who will be going over the distance for the first time. “I don’t know if they stay, but I have a feeling they will.

“Gold Onyx will have to be dropped out from the draw (No 17) and you don’t often win a Gold Cup from way back. So he’s going to have to get a little bit of luck.’’

Whiteline Fever will be running in the Champions Cup over 1800m and Tarry says: “He’s got to be a big runner. But there are a few horses who are pretty well weighted in the race, like Mike de Kock’s filly Espumanti and Justin Snaith-trained Run For It.

“Whiteline Fever’s got a lot in his favour, though, with a good draw. The 1800m shouldn’t be a problem. He is a horse who needs to be covered up and one who doesn’t want to hit the front too early.’’

He looks fair value at 10-1 with Betting World.