Several boxes were ticked on Saturday when Whisky Baron scored a spectacular victory in South Africa’s richest race, the ~$500,000 Kenwilworth Sun Met 2000m G1.
The 4YO gelding a is a new Group 1 winner for Arrowfield’s Inglis Easter Sale honour roll; he’s the first Group 1winner for the Aga Khan Studs/Arrowfield joint venture; and the first Group 1 winner for his sire Manhattan Rain.
Whisky Baron showed promise as a 3YO when he won and was twice second in Group 3 company, but he has progressed more rapidly as this season as a gelding, winning all four of his starts before the Met, including the Kenilworth Peninsula H. G3 on 7 January.
The big finish he unwound to over-power Horse of the Year Legal Eagle and Group 1 winner Captain America and win the Sun Met by 1.5 lengths in 2:02.71 left no doubt that Whisky Baron, trained by Brett Crawford for brothers Craig & Ross Kieswetter, is South African racing’s newest star.
A $50,000 purchase by Craig Roscoe & Joey Ramsden from Arrowfield’s 2014 Inglis Easter draft, Whisky Baron is the fourth foal of the unraced Sinndar mare Tazkara. Like this season’s debut 2YO stakeswinner Azazel, and a pair of $500,000 yearlings sold at Magic Millions three weeks ago, he is a result of the Aga Khan/Arrowfield joint venture.
He joins the excellent record of the Aga Khan foundation mare Tonnera, herself winner of the 1966 Prix St Alary G1 over 2000 metres, and ancestress of European Group 1 2YO winners Arcano, Carlotamix and Damson.
Tazkara has a 3YO filly named Pretty Snitzel (by Snitzel) in training with Kelly Doughty on the Gold Coast and, after returning to France in 2014, foaled a second filly by Snitzel. Now a southern hemisphere 2YO, that filly will be prepared by leading French trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. Tazkara also has a yearling colt by Excelebration and is foaling to the speedy young Shadwell stallion Muhaarar (by Oasis Dream).
Whisky Baron is Manhattan Rain’s third stakeswinner this season, after Group 2-winning sprinter Wild Rain and brilliant juvenile She Will Reign, an early favourite for the Golden Slipper. His Group 2-winning daughter Scarlet Rain, who returned from a long break to win stylishly at Rosehill on Saturday, must be a fine chance of adding more black type to her record in coming weeks.
The Group 1-winning son of Encosta de Lago has a small number of yearlings catalogued for upcoming sales, including NZ Select, Inglis Classic, Premier & Easter and Magic Millions Adelaide. Manhattan Rain’s top-priced lot at Magic Millions Gold Coast was the $360,000 filly out of Double Ranga, a full sister to Scarlet Rain. Offered by Arrowfield, she was purchased by Wu Jae’s Rifa Mustang Pty Ltd.
Five yearlings by Redoute’s Choice & Animal Kingdom out of Aga Khan broodmares from the families of Vadawina, Azamour, Manighar and Mandistana will be offered by Arrowfield at the Inglis Easter Sale in April.