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 Dec 12 2014

Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin speak about their favourite horse Safari like proud parents. He was more than a horse to them … he was family.

Safari was named by Clayton’s father Peter Tonkin, who fell in love with a young boy named Safari Kimanzi when he featured in Channel 9’s RPA program.

Safari Kiamazi suffered terrible facial injuries from an accident in his Kenyan village and came to Sydney for 14 operations at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Safari’s transformation was captured by RPA and it was remarkable. Safari was such a brave boy, who inspired a nation.

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It was fitting ‘Safari’ was named after this boy. Safari had a beautiful nature for a stallion, you could do anything with him at the stables of Emma and Clayton. He was the perfect gentleman, but when he would turn up to the races he would become this fierce competitor and at stages nearly became uncontrollable for Clayton as he would prepare for battle.

In 2008 he would do what many thought was impossible … sit outside the champion Blacks A Fake and win the greatest Ballarat Cup in history. It was a race I will never forget and is the greatest battle I have ever seen on a racetrack.

Saturday night Emma and Clayton will be aiming for their third Ballarat Cup and my tip is a horse which reminds me so much of Safari in Philadelphia Man.

Philadelphia Man has had his fair share of problems and Saturday night will line up for only his third run in more than two years.

History says he can’t win, no horse should be able to win a race against the quality of opposition after such a long layoff with injury.

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But Philadelphia Man isn’t any other horse. I think he’s something special. The son of Art Major has this amazing ability to run incredible sectionals and has the toughness to go with it.

I expect him to be in front on Saturday night and at $3.80 with he’s a wonderful bet. Don’t worry about his preparation for his biggest dance, people said Safari couldn’t sit outside Blacks A Fake, but he did and I truly believe Philadelphia Man can also produce a moment we won’t forget on Saturday night.

His big dangers include his stablemate Guaranteed. He went enormous in the Miracle Mile to finish a close third and he’s a better over the longer trips. He won’t be far away in the run and this horse doesn’t know how to run a bad race … his record proves that.

The other winning chance his the almighty Kiwi champ Terror To Love. He’s won three New Zealand Cups but until this preparation hasn’t showed his New Zealand form in Australia. That quickly changed. He went enormous in the Miracle Mile and then produced a performance which stamped his greatness with a gutsy victory in last week’s Cranbourne Cup to outstay the Miracle Mile winner Christen Me.

He won’t be far away as he takes on two rising stars in their own back yard.

They are the only winning chances and that’s no disrespect to the others, but Saturday night will be a contest you don’t want to miss.

I will be on track at Ballarat on Sky Racing 1 and my tips are Philadelphia Man, Guaranteed, Terror To Love and Beauty Secret. 


Gareth Hall - Sky Racing

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