Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

Whisky Baron, winner of the 2017 Sun Met for the Kieswetter family of Highlands Stud, stormed up late to finish second in his first start for trainer William Haggas in the £125,000 group2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood, UK, on Saturday.

The six-year-old, ridden by Dane O’Neil, was having his first run after a five-month break following his Dubai campaign and was beaten by half a length.

Haggas told the media before the race that Whisky Baron would need the run in a "warm" race, which probably contributed to his generous 20-1 starting price. That he performed admirably pointed again to the good relative strength of performers who come through the ranks in SA.

Racing editor David Mollett, in search of betting opportunities to fund his extended European sabbatical, attended the Goodwood meeting and reported: "I asked Mr Haggas if he’d decided on a next race for Whisky Baron and he replied ‘not yet but he ran great’!"

Durban July winner Do It Again, an unraced two-year-old at the time Whisky Baron was exported, was named horse of the year at the KwaZulu-Natal Racing Awards last Friday. His regular jockey, Anton Marcus, secured the award for jockey of the year.

A number of first-timers have been entered in various races scheduled for the outside track at the Vaal on Tuesday, which makes the exotic bets tricky to assess.

One interesting newcomer is trainer Sean Tarry’s beautifully bred Palace Green, who will race for the often successful partnership of owners Mary Slack and Michael Javett, and may well attract betting support.