Cape Town - Phillipi trainer Brett Crawford saddled his third winner in the
Cape’s flagship race when the Australian-bred Whisky Baron continued his
meteoric rise through the ranks with a superb win in the R5 million Grade 1
Sun Met, celebrated with Mumm, at Kenilworth on Saturday.
According to the Sporting Post website, the 4-year-old Whisky Baron made it five straight wins since gelding six
months ago, when he romped to a popular victory in South Africa’s
richest group race in front of a festive crowd at the sunswept Southern
Crawford celebrated a champagne day at his home-track with wins in
the Gr1 Investec Cape Derby and the inaugural Kuda Sprint rounding off
the highlight of training first - and third - in the big one.
He won the then J&B Met with Futura in 2015 and Angus, a horse he
said was fashioned in much the same mould as Saturday’s star Whisky
Baron, in 2003.
For the 40-year-old Greg Cheyne, who is the current SA national
jockey log leader, it was a dream first Met win on a horse whose name
would have been a marketing plus for the longstanding previous sponsors!
Cheyne, who is retained by Ridgemont Stud, who recently announced
their purchase of the iconic Highlands Stud, has been aboard at five of
Whisky Baron’s six victories, and the pair have formed a formidable
Corne Orffer took Captain America out to lead The Conglomerate, with
Gold Standard and Legal Eagle in attendance, and plenty of jostling for
position early on.
Captain America brought them for home and looked to be comfortable
out front as Whisky Baron found himself some 10 lengths back, with
plenty of work to do.
All the action was on the outside as Legal Eagle and Gold Standard
challenged the leader Captain America, who was drifting out under
pressure at the 400m.
The gap between the tiring pacesetter and Legal Eagle became tight
for Gold Standard, and Richard Fourie was forced to check his mount out
as Legal Eagle chased hard.
At the 300m Legal Eagle looked to be in with a shout, but Greg Cheyne
appeared on the scene with Whisky Baron in full stride at the 250m.
The enthusiastic galloper took off to beat SA Horse Of The Year Legal
Eagle by 1.50 lengths in a time of 122.71 seconds - close on 5 seconds
faster than the Investec Cape Derby run earlier.
For Legal Eagle, who recently won his second consecutive L’Ormarins
Queen’s Plate, it was a case of history repeating itself, after the
filly Smart Call had beaten him last year.
The ever present Captain America held on gallantly for third, a
further 0.30 lengths back and survived an objection by Selangor Cup
winner Gold Standard.
The 3-year-old Gold Standard ran on well but after his late check merely
stayed on for fourth, without really looking a winner over the final
He looks a decent sort in the making and will be an exciting 4-year-old.
The challenge from USA-bound Champions Cup winner Marinaresco also
failed to materialise and the son of Silvano ran a 4.05 length fifth. He
remains a puzzle and may well have been flattered by that Champions Cup
The Paddock Stakes winner Bela-Bela ghosted down the inside rail
looking very dangerous, but had no answers, stopping to run seventh.
The rest, including July winner The Conglomerate, were well beaten.
The Avontuur-sponsored Greg Cheyne, who was registering his first Met
win and whose major previous success was on the ill-fated Big City Life
in the 2009 Vodacom Durban July, said that winning the Met in his
hometown was ‘something special’.
“I tracked a bit deep early on in the back straight and we managed to
find the fence - the pace was genuine - I saw Legal Eagle and knew he
was my lead. Whisky Baron gave me everything he had. I must say a
massive thanks to Ridgemont Stud - Wayne and Belinda (Kieswetter) are
the driving force and to Craig and Ross (their sons) who own the winner,
a big word of thanks and congratulations”.
Trainer Brett Crawford confirmed that it had been something of a ‘fairytale ride’ since his charge had been gelded in July.
“I am a firm believer that when horses get into winning ways it gives
them an edge. He had a lot of ground to make up in the straight and
looked to be labouring at one stage. But then he picked it up nicely and
went on well. A great run from Captain America too,” he said.
Bred by Arrowfield Stud, Whisky Baron was a A$50 000 Inglis Easter
purchase for C Roscoe/J Ramsden. He became the ninth stakes winner for
Redoute’s Choice half-brother Manhattan Rain.
He is the only Black Type horse among four winners out of the unraced Sinndar mare, Tazkara (France).
Whisky Baron is unbeaten as a 4-year-old and has won 6 races with 7 places from 13 starts for stakes of R3 446 375.