The South African star, Whisky Baron, had his first public workout since arriving in Britain at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse this morning (Monday, 18th September).
Trained by Brett Crawford, Whisky Baron has not run since landing one of South Africa’s top all-aged races, the Group 1 Sun Met [formerly known as the J&B Met] at Kenilworth in Cape Town in January. He was forced to spend three months in quarantine in Mauritius in order to be allowed to leave South Africa but has been stabled in Newmarket since June.
Whisky Baron galloped with two William Haggas-trained companions over five furlongs of the Rowley Mile turf which was officially rated ‘good to soft’ following 33 millimetres of rain over the previous 72 hours.
He was ridden by his regular jockey, the 41-year-old Pretoria-born Greg Cheyne, who has notched over 1600 winners worldwide during his career and finished second in the South African Jockeys Championship for the 2016-17 season.
Whisky Baron is entered in both the Group 2 £100,000 Shadwell Joel Stakes, which is run over the full Rowley Mile on Friday 29th September, and the Group 2 £120,000 Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes, run over seven furlongs of the same course on Friday 13th October.
His first big international target is the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on Sunday 10th December.
Greg Cheyne, rider of Whisky Baron, said:
“It was an interesting workout as we have always had a concern that Whisky Baron might not relish soft ground and, although I was not disappointed and feel quite positive about it, it did expose the fact that he doesn’t handle soft going particularly well.”
“He travelled kindly for the first couple of furlongs but once the undulations started he found it testing. He maintained his speed but couldn’t quicken.”
“He felt as good as I can ever remember him – he’s in a good place at the moment and we couldn’t be happier with him, so our only concern for now is the ground.”
“I feel that he is ready for a race, but we need the weather gods to be on our side. He has been off the track since January and is bound to be a bit rusty, but this morning’s experience will do him the world of good.”
“Newmarket is horse heaven and it has been a fantastic experience for me to get the chance to ride out on the various different training gallops here. Back home all the tracks are dead flat but riding on the Rowley Mile this morning showed how unbelievably tactical riding can be and I am super excited about being able to ride Whisky Baron in a race there. He is one of the best horses that I have ever ridden.”