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The Sean Tarry stable thinks the world of Big Bear, a R240,000 purchase at last year’s Ready To Run Sale, and he justified their faith with a R1,25-million payday in the rich Emperors Palace-sponsored race restricted to horses sold at that CTS sale.

Big Bear, the 9-2 favourite, took an immediate lead, setting the pace from his stablemate Wonderwall, who drifted from 5-2 to 5-1. Wonderwall then took over with Big Bear on the rail on the inside of Tammany Hall. Alssakhra was on Big Bear’s heels with Virga on his outside, followed by Boatswain, Onamission, Puget Sound and Riding Shotgun. Takingthepeace was right there ahead of Purple Diamond, Cash Time and Brave Mary. Vicomte was near the back ahead of Just My Style and Surcharge.

S’manga Khumalo allowed Big Bear to lengthen his stride about 400m out and he pounced on his stablemate to lead over 300m from the wire. Brave Mary was running on strongly on the inside but Big Bear had stolen a march and he won going away by 2.50 lengths with Takingthepeace staying on well for third, two lengths further back and only a short head in front of Wonderwall.

Tarry said: “The way they started (the day) I didn’t think I would be speaking to you today, but I’ll take this with both hands. I said to his owners, Chris van Niekerk and Bruce Gardner, the only way to fix up a bad day and that’s with a good horse. He certainly is that. I’m thankful he’s come through. Everything went very smoothly. Lyle (Hewitson, who rode Wonderwall) had to take the race by the scruff of the neck (from a wide draw) and thankfully they didn’t cut each other’s throats.
“I’ve always rated this horse. I’m just very pleased for the owners that he’s come through.

Khumalo said: “I knew (when he went down to the start) if he gets a good break he’ll be hard to beat. This horse just puts his head down and does what he’s asked.” – TAB News.