Mem­o­rable start for Sun Met

The Star Early Edition - - RACING - DAVID THISELTON

THE Sun Met race­meet­ing, cel­e­brated with G.H.Mumm at Ke­nil­worth on Satur­day, was of such a high stan­dard in ev­ery way it prompted an English owner to call South African racing the best in the world.

Iron­i­cally, in Sun In­ter­na­tional’s first year of spon­sor­ship fol­low­ing the 39 year stint of whiskypro­duc­ing J&B, the big race win­ner was named Whisky Baron.

The Brett Craw­ford-trained four-year-old Aus­tralian-bred geld­ing is owned un­der the ban­ner of Ridge­mont Stud, which was formed by the Kieswet­ter fam­ily, Wayne and Belinda and their sons Ross and Craig.

It was de­cided Ross and Craig would race all of this part­ner­ship’s male horses in their colours, which are rem­i­nis­cent of Scot­land's na­tional flag, while the fil­lies run in the Ridge­mont colours.

Craig rep­re­sented Eng­land in one day cricket 71 times, but his ca­reer was ended by an eye in­jury.

Mother Belinda was born in Scot­land and among en­trepreneurial fa­ther Wayne’s busi­ness ven­tures is a part­ner­ship in a Scot­tish whisky dis­tillery.

The win gave Craw­ford a third Met and jockey Greg Cheyne a first.

Two years ago Craw­ford com­pleted the L’Or­marin’s Queen’s Plate and Met dou­ble with Fu­tura, only to see the horse de­part his yard a few weeks later due to a dis­pute be­tween the own­ers.

How­ever, for­tune com­pen­sated him at the end of the same year when he in­her­ited Whisky Baron af­ter a split be­tween the Kieswet­ters and their orig­i­nal trainer.

Whisky Baron ex­tended his un­beaten run as a geld­ing to five starts.

He and the favourite Le­gal Ea­gle were the stand outs in the pre­lim­i­nar­ies.

In the back straight Whisky Baron be­came trapped wide and his chances hung in the bal­ance.

How­ever, this horse has a laid back demeanour and jockey Greg Cheyne had lit­tle dif­fi­culty in eas­ing him back and slot­ting him in.

Le­gal Ea­gle

An­ton Mar­cus had to get to work ear­lier in the straight on Le­gal Ea­gle than he had last year as Cap­tain Amer­ica and Gold Stan­dard were show­ing no signs of stop­ping in front.

Whisky Baron was mean­while mak­ing in­roads af­ter turn­ing for home about eight lengths off the lead.

His white near-fore sock made it easy to see how well he was throw­ing that lead­ing leg out.

The lead­ing trio’s strides were laboured by the time he had caught them just be­fore the 100m mark and he swept past in ma­chine-like fash­ion to win by 1,5 lengths.

Run­ner up Le­gal Ea­gle was car­ry­ing a 2kg Gr 1 penalty, but Whisky Baron was be­ing eased down at the line.

The win­ner’s sta­ble­mate Cap­tain Amer­ica re­peated his third plac­ing from last year.

An ob­jec­tion against him by three-year-old Gold Stan­dard was over­ruled.

Sec­ond favourite Marinaresco turned for home on Whisky Baron’s heels, but couldn’t match his ini­tial turn of foot. He was fin­ish­ing fast for fifth. French Navy pipped the filly Bela-Bela for the all im­por­tant sixth place.

The Vo­da­com Dur­ban July looks likely to be on Whisky Baron’s radar, so the hand­i­cap­pers’ view of the race will be im­por­tant.

Ear­lier, English­man Dr John Warner had waxed lyri­cal about South African racing.

He had ev­ery rea­son to feel elated as the mare he part-owns, Carry On Alice, had just won the Gr 1 Bet­ting World Cape Fly­ing Cham­pi­onships over 1 000m un­der S’Manga Khu­malo.

Cap­tain Al

The five-year-old daugh­ter of Cap­tain Al has now won a Gr 1 in all four of her racing sea­sons.

She is yet to win an Equus award and might be hard pressed to do so in this sea­son’s Sprinter cat­e­gory, be­cause the per­for­mance of the day un­doubt­edly be­longed to the Cape Fly­ing run­ner up, Trip To Heaven.

This five-year-old Trippi geld­ing lost at least five lengths at the start, yet failed by just 0,3 lengths to catch his sta­ble­mate. The re­sult gave Sean Tarry a Gr 1 one-two. Gr 1 Mer­cury Sprint win­ner Red Ray was third and the filly Jo’s Bond proved her re­cent de­feat of Carry On Alice was no fluke by fin­ish­ing fourth. The vet­eran Tevez was a gal­lant fifth. Ear­lier Carry On Alice’s form­line had been en­hanced when the Candice Bass-Robin­son-trained filly Live Life won the US$500,000 CTS Sprint over 1 200m un­der Grant van Niek­erk.

The Gr 2 Scep­tre Stakes vic­tor pro­duced an­other pow­er­ful fin­ish to beat Gr 1 win­ner Al­ways In Charge. Trippi had one over Cap­tain Al on this oc­ca­sion. At­ten­bor­ough was third. Later, Bass-Robin­son’s heart must have sunk when she saw Sil­ver Moun­tain’s promis­ing run pe­ter­ing out in the Gr 1 Klaw­ervlei Ma­jorca Stakes.

Nightin­gale

How­ever, it didn’t mat­ter in the end as the sta­ble­mate, the Sil­vano filly Nightin­gale, pro­duced a strong fin­ish to get up, beat­ing Star Ex­press and Good­time Gal.

This was Bass-Robin­son’s of­fi­cial first Gr 1 win­ner, hav­ing taken the reins from her leg­endary fa­ther Mike at the be­gin­ning of this sea­son.

It was also a first Gr 1 win for the fa­mil­iar duo of jockey An­thony Delpech and owner-breeder Mary Slack since their of­fi­cial re­tained-sta­tus part­ner­ship be­gun.

Ear­lier, Gold Stan­dard’s Met chances had been en­hanced when his Grand Pa­rade Cape Guineas con­queror, the Cap­tain Al colt Wil­liam Longsword, stormed to vic­tory in the US$500,000 CTS Mile un­der An­ton Mar­cus, de­feat­ing 35-1 shot Cop­per Force by 1,75 lengths.

Edict Of Nantes

Din­gaans win­ner Sin­ga­pore Sling was next best. The re­sult also en­hanced the form chances of the Craw­ford-trained Count Dubois colt Edict Of Nantes in the In­vestec Cape Derby.

Edict Of Nantes duly won it to give an elated Frankie Det­tori a first Gr 1 vic­tory in South Africa, twenty years af­ter miss­ing out on the Queen’s Plate ride on Lon­don News due to ill­ness.

The Derby race time was nearly five sec­onds slower than the Met’s. How­ever, the re­sult proved form and dis­tance suit­abil­ity to be the two ul­ti­mate guides.

Craw­ford’s day had be­gun with a hair’s breadth vic­tory for Bold Sil­vano colt Bold Re­spect in the R1 mil­lion Kuda Sprint un­der Corne Orf­fer.

Craw­ford clinched a mem­o­rable four-timer when Orf­fer won the eleventh on Win­ter Prince.

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