Testing run out for Whisky Baron on Rowley Mile turf

TESTING TIME: Whisky Baron and jockey Greg Cheyne (right) got the feel of the Rowley Mile turf with a gallop over five furlongs on Monday
TESTING TIME: Whisky Baron and jockey Greg Cheyne (right) got the feel of the Rowley Mile turf with a gallop over five furlongs on Monday

The South African star, Whisky Baron, continued his preparations for the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes, run over the Rowley Mile, with a five-furlong gallop on Monday.

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 more than 1,600 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, September 29, and the Group 2 £120,000 Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes, run over seven furlongs of the same course on Friday, October 13.

“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,” said Cheyne.

“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 experience will do him the world of good.”

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.

His first big international target is the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on Sunday, December 10.