First Group 1 winner for Manhattan Rain

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.

Watch Whisky Baron win the Sun Met G1.

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.

19th Group double for Redoute's Choice

Arrowfield graduate Rock Magic in Perth and the Raffles Dancers-bred Table Bay in South Africa gave champion sire Redoute’s Choice his 19th same-day Group race double on Saturday.

Jockey Anton Marcus said, “He is a smashing horse to ride and Joey wanted me to rev him up a bit today and give him a good hard race. As it turned out, it would have not been the end of the world if we had led.

Trainer Joey Ramsden Table Bay was a ‘lovely laid back horse’ to train.

“My thanks to Drakenstein for the sponsorship and also to Markus (Jooste) for putting up the investment and to Derek (Brugman) for always waking me up. It is lovely to be able to go out and buy these smashing horses,” he said modestly.

Table Bay heads Group 3 trifecta for Australia

Redoute’s Choice colt Table Bay headed an Australian-bred Group 3 trifecta in South Africa that offered some – though not quite sufficient! – consolation for the Wallabies’ Third Rugby Test and series loss to England a few hours earlier.

The 2YO colt unleashed a big late run in Saturday’s Kenilworth Langerman H. 1500m G3 to defeat the favourite Our Mate Art (by Artie Schiller) by a head, with Newlands (by High Chaparral) 1.25 lengths back in third place.

It was Table Bay’s third consecutive win and the ninth Langerman Handicap success for Joey Ramsden who paid $120,000 on behalf of Markus & Ingrid Jooste for the Raffles Dancers-bred colt at the 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Ramsden describes Table Bay as, “really smart…a lovely horse for the future”, an assessment supported by the colt’s distaff pedigree. He is the fifth foal, fifth winner and first stakeswinner out of the unraced Cape Cross mare Gabriella, a half-sister to the international sprinter Cape Of Good Hope, who became the inaugural Global Sprint Challenge champion in 2005, at the age of seven.

Now owned by well-known Queensland breeders Peter & Wendy Moran, Gabriella has a rising 2YO filly Beechal (by Lonhro) and a weanling colt by Snitzel. 

Table Bay is the 33rd 2YO stakeswinner by Redoute’s Choice, and his fourth this season after Honesty Prevails, Thyme For Roses and Zamzam. He brings the champion sire’s lifetime tally of stakeswinners to 134 – sixteen of them responsible for 23 Group & Listed victories in 2015/16.

Redoute’s Choice and his sons Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt are poised to end the season with the remarkable father-and-sons achievement of top 10 positions on the Australian General, 3YO and 2YO Sires’ premierships.

Manhattan Rain's new Group performer

3YO colt Whisky Baron joined Manhattan Rain’s steadily growing list of stakes performers when he was runner-up, beaten less than a half-length, in Saturday’s Kenilworth Winter Guineas 1600m G3 in South Africa.

The race is the first leg of the Cape Winter Series that has unveiled several outstanding horses over the past decade, notably champion Pocket Power who won all three legs in 2006, the great miler Variety Club, and Power King, who progressed to win last year’s Durban July Handicap G1.

In this year’s Guineas, Whisky Baron launched what looked like a late winning challenge, but he was caught by the favourite Marinaresco, whose previous third in the 2000-metre Kenilworth Cape Derby G1 suggests he’ll relish the remaining two legs of the R1 million Series. Those races are the Winter Classic 1800m G3 on 21 May and the Winter Derby 2400m G3 on 25 June.

Whisky Baron, a $50,000 Craig Roscoe & Joey Ramsden purchase from Arrowfield’s 2014 Inglis Easter draft, broke his maiden in January and has been placed in his other five starts (all at Kenilworth) this season. He hasn’t raced beyond 1600 metres yet, but his pedigree offers good evidence that he’ll also be effective at longer distances.

His unraced dam Tazkara, by the dual Derby and Arc winner Sinndar, is a grand-daughter of Tashtiya (by Shergar), winner of the 1983 Ascot Princess Royal S. G3 over the equivalent of 2400 metres. All four of Tazkara’s Australian-bred foals to race have won, with Flying Force (by Flying Spur) already successful at 2200 metres.

Manhattan Rain’s own versatility as a racehorse is showing up in his stud record too. This season alone he has been represented by smart juveniles Scarlet Rain (3 wins inc. the ATC Sweet Embrace S. G2) & Speeding Comet (a stakes-placed winner in Perth), stakes-winning 4YO sprinter Wild Rain, Brisbane miler Right Or Wrong and 3YOs Man Of Choice & Promise To Reign, placed in Group 1 & Group 2 company over 2000 metres.

The son of Encosta De Lago now claims six stakeswinners and 10 other stakes performers from his first three crops, with nine of them successful or competitive at Group level.