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The relative strength of South Africa’s recent Gr1 form came to the fore at Turffontein on Sunday when December’s Gr1 G-Bets Summer Cup hero Tilbury Fort got up late to win a Pinnacle Plate over 1400m, a trip that seemed too sharp on his comeback.

Tilbury Fort (5-2) prevailed in a thrilling finish, getting the better of last July’s Gr1 Mercury Sprint winner Will Pays (6-1) by just 0.10 lengths.

The two Grade 1 stars were the trailers coming into the straight but burst through in the final 100m to leave a strong field of rivals floundering. Will Pays had to check and was considered unlucky not have won by his trainer, but this took no merit away from the winner, who ran on powerfully under a well-timed run from Lyle Hewitson.

“Tilbury Fort won over 1400m early in his career and he’s quite good over a mile. To win at the shorter distance in this company showed his class,” said Tarry.

Tarry bought Tilbury Fort for just R110,00 at the CTS March Yearling Sale in 2015 and syndicated his purchase between owners Mark Currie, WH Jacobs, Craig Zoghby, Erich van Niekerk, Satch Mathen and Mrs B Lahoud.

Bred by Sandown Stud, the son of Horse Chestnut has now pushed his career earnings to over R1,2-million.