Pomodoro is tops!
Author: David Thistleton
Sean Tarry scored the first Grade 1 winner for the promising new sire Pomodoro on Saturday through Thekwini Stakes winner Return Flight and this was fitting as Pomodoro not only won Tarry his first Vodacom Durban July but his dam Golden Apple, bred by Sean’s brother Mark, also provided him with his first Graded winner.
Pomodoro also once recovered from death’s doorstep, so his life has been the stuff of fairytales.
Tarry said, “People forget how well our South African-bred stallions have done. You only have to look at Jet Master (seven times National Champion Sire). Pomodoro was a champion racehorse and is by Jet Master, his dam Golden Apple was a champion broodmare and her sire Northern Guest was a champion broodmare sire, he has every box ticked to be a very successful stallion.”
Furthermore, Pomodoro, like one of history’s greatest stallions, Danzig, is a direct descendant of the 1860 born mare Old Orange Girl, who was a half-sister to the first British Triple Crown winner, West Australian.
Tarry pointed out too that Pomodoro’s progeny were likely to be good three-year-olds and then train on from there, as Pomodoro did himself.
“And here they are doing well at two, which is phenomenal,” he said.
He added, “Pomodoro got good numbers in his first two seasons but received very little quality. Now that he has done what he had to do it would be nice to see him get some quality.”
Pomodoro’s dam Golden Apple was sent to the sales. Sean’s opinion was she was a bit on the small side and should be let go and Mark had agreed. However, in the back of Mark’s mind was her beautiful balance and on the spur of the moment, after she had passed her reserve, he bought her back. It was an inspired decision. She grew into a medium sized filly and provided Sean with his first ever Graded winner less than two years after he had taken out his trainer’s license. She got up by half-a-length under Anthony Delpech to win the Grade 2 Gosforth Park Fillies Guineas at odds of 9/2 in March 1999. She later finished a half-a-length second in the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 at Greyville and Sean felt if had not been so early in his career she would have done even better. The precocity of Pomodoro’s progeny this season might stem from Golden Apple’s influence as she was placed in two stakes races as a two-year-old.
Golden Apple, who is deceased, went on to become an Equus Champion Broodmare. All eight of her runners have been winners and she has produced four stakes horses.
History was to repeat itself as Pomodoro, Golden Apple’s fifth foal, was sent to the sales by her breeder Chris van Niekerk.
“We were in two minds, so put a reserve of R1 million on him at the National Yearling Sales and bought him back for about R650,000,” recalled Tarry.
Pomodoro, which means tomato in Italian, took a while to develop so didn’t run as a two-year-old despite being taken down to Durban. He spent the first part of his three-year-old career in Tarry’s satellite yard at Summerveld and after finishing second on debut over 1200m at Scottsville he won his next two starts over 1600m, including the Listed Guineas Trial at Clairwood. His first Graded win was in the Grade 3 Tony Ruffel Stakes over 1450m at Turffontein.
Tarry said, “People didn’t realise how good he was, he was unlucky not to win the Grade 1 SA Classic as he was interfered with and when he finally got a clear run he took off and only just failed (by a head) to catch Slumdogmillionaire.”
Pomodoro then won the Grade 1 SA Derby in a dead-heat and after a below par comeback in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000, he won the 2012 July.
In his reappearance he put up two devastating displays to win over 1160m and 1600m at Turffontein.
However, he was required to stay in quarantine at Kenilworth due to the African Horse Sickness protocols and his preparation for the L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate and Met were consequently “a mess”. He did well to finish third and fourth respectively in those two events.
He then went to KZN and ran a fine third in the Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge.
He was declared to race in a tongue tie in the defence of his July crown but ran well below par.
He was sent immediately to the Baker and McVeigh clinic at Summerveld to have a minor procedure performed to solve “intermittent entrapment of the epiglottis”, which is not considered a serious breathing problem.
However, on the way there he kicked out in the float and attained a deep gash from the coronet down to the hoof. A life-threatening Infection set in. After some serious scares the “superbug” was eventually killed by an expensive “super-anti-biotoc” and he pulled through.
He made a comeback in March the following year and had a few more races but was not the same horse, although he did finish third in the Grade 1 Champions Challenge.
He received rave reviews at Klawervlei’s Stallion day when being paraded for the 2015 breeding season and started at a fee of R20,000.
His first crop also includes twice Graded runner up Cirillo and multiple stakes placed Royal Italian.
Tarry said about Return Flight, “She is typical of the family as she has a deep girth and is very athletic. Physically she reminds me of Pomodoro’s half-sister Quest For Gold.”
He added, “We were pretty confident on Saturday although I was not confident Greyvile was the right track, I definitely think she will be better at Turffontein.”
Her target for the season will be the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara series of races.
Meanwhile, Pomodor’s service fee is now R12,000 which could prove to be a bargain