Horse Race Picture: ISTOCK
Horse Race Picture: ISTOCK

Whisky Baron, winner of the 2017 Sun Met at Kenilworth, has been retired and will spend the rest of his days at the Kieswetters Barnane Stud in Ireland.

Aussie-bred Whisky Baron, a son of Manhattan Rain, was trained in the Cape by Brett Crawford and the import made it a red-letter day for the Kieswetter brothers — Craig and Ross — when capturing the Cape’s most prestigious race. Craig is a former England Twenty20 cricketer.

Following his success in SA, the decision was taken to race Whisky Baron overseas, but he failed to win in six starts competing in Britain, Dubai and France.

Whisky Baron was in Crawford’s care for the first three starts of his overseas campaign, but he was then transferred to the UK stable of William Haggas who has close ties with many South African owners.

The gelding’s best performance overseas came in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood when—starting a rank outsider at 20-1 — he ran second to the favourite, Beat The Bank.

He then ran second in a handicap at Doncaster, but failed to shape in the Prix Dollar on Arc day in Paris and the Kieswetter family have drawn stumps with their star performer.

Meanwhile, top jockey Gavin Lerena faced a National Horseracing Authority hearing on Monday and received a seven-day ban for interference on Cascapedia on SA Classic day in March . He has the right of appeal.

Lerena has six booked rides on the nine-race card at the Vaal today and will be hoping to keep his 100% record on Geoff Woodruff’s unbeaten three year-old, Mr Whatson, in the fifth race.

A son of What A Winter, Mr Whatson has gained two photo-finish verdicts in his two outings but now faces his toughest test against a number of fellow three-year-olds.

These include Paul Peter’s Toreador gelding Chief Of State, the mount of Lyle Hewitson, another of What A Winter’s sons Robberg Express and Mike De Kock’s Aussie-bred Belton Road.

Four-year-old Oravar, second behind Whorly Whorly last time out, is set to shoulder 60kg but this inmate of the Azzie stable is also very much in the mix.

In the seventh race over 1,200m, Lerena is reunited with Paul Peter’s filly, Ouro, whom he ran third on in a race at Turffontein in December. The four-year-old is overdue another win and could manage it if able to beat Roy Magner’s runner Bullsade and her own stablemate, Che Bella.

Che Bella, a daughter of Sail From Seattle, is chasing a Vaal hat-trick and there was certainly plenty to like about her three lengths win at today’s track in March .

Although trainer Dorrie Sham holds a strong hand in the final event with Baahir (S’manga Khumalo) and Moon Warrior (Tejash Juglall), the runner who might spring a surprise is Jurgen van Heerden’s seven-year-old Anjaal.

Formerly with Mike De Kock where his merit-rating reached 108, Anjaal is today racing off a figure of 58 and hinted he was returning to form when three lengths behind Friend Of Time last time out.

The Aussie-bred gelding is one to consider for exotic perms along with the Sham duo, King Of The Delta and Gavin Lerena’s mount, Blenderhead.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: No Selection

2nd Race: (2) One Of Our Own (3) Western Oasis (5) Sunburst (11) Rocly Marciano

3rd Race: (9) Jash (12) Putontheredlight (15) Union Castle (13) Steak And Ale

4th Race: (1) Eskimo Kisses (15) Westwing Belter (4) Britannia Queen (3) Catch A Glimpse

5th Race: (5) Chief Of State (2) Mr Whatson (6) Belton Road (1) Oravar

6th Race: (6) Vardo (1) Winter Storm (2) Copper Jay (4) Scoop

7th Race: (2) Ouro (3) Bullsade (1) Che Bella (9) Soul Of Wit

8th Race: (2) Moshav (10) Battle Creek (11) Le Tigre (4) Green Dragon

9th Race: (6) Anjaal (4) Baahir (3) Moon Warrior (5) King Of The Delta