Sweet Sanette, the five-year-old South African-bred mare, faces her greatest test when lining up in the Gr. 1 King’s Stand Stakes run over five furlongs at Royal Ascot tomorrow afternoon. The King’s Stand Stakes is part of the Global Sprint Challenge and as such has attracted runners from 7 countries, the mare running under the Hong Kong banner for South African trainer, Tony Millard.
Formerly trained by Roy Magner for Wally Brits, Sweet Sanette, was sold to HK-based owners, Messrs Chow and Wu, after winning the Gr.3 Sycamore Sprint over 1160m at Turffontein, her fourth win from just seven starts. Following the same quarantine regime as JJ The Jet Plane endured a year later, Sweet Sanette, eventually arrived in Hong Kong in September 2009 where she joined the stable of Gary Ng where she quickly won 3 races over the minimum trip.
Having lost her way in her second season in Hong Kong, she was transferred to the care of former South African Champion Trainer, Tony Millard, in early 2011 and immediately notched up her most important victory in Hong Kong when winning the HK Gr.3, The Chow Tai Fook Bauhinia Sprint Trophy. In that event, she clocked an impressive 55.9 seconds for the 5f dash at Sha Tin Racecourse and more importantly the scalp of Hong Kong legend, Sacred Kingdom.
Tony Millard has enjoyed a fantastic season in Hong Kong. He lies eighth on the log courtesy of 35 wins and has the fifth highest earnings, at HK$46,27 million. He gained his second career victory in Hong Kong’s biggest race, the Hong Kong Derby, with Ambitious Dragon, who went on to become the first horse since Vengeance Of Rain to do the Hong Kong Derby/QE II Cup double.
Sweet Sanette travelled to Paris on 3 June before being trucked to Newmarket where she has been stabled ever since at Abington Place, the historic training yard of Harry and Geoff Wragg, now in the ownership of Mike de Kock’s principle owner, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. The trainer’s wife, Bev, and travelling lad, Donovan Howell, managed her preparation until Tony arrived on Sunday morning. A quirky individual, Bev kept the mare interested by utilising the numerous gallops available in Newmarket and Millard was suitably impressed with her last strong workout and she looks to have a serious chance in a wide open contest. Sweet Sanette will be ridden by, Jamie Spencer, who was in grand form over the weekend at Doncaster Racecourse.
Sweet Sanette is by, Jallad, a son of Blushing Groom from the outstanding South African racemare, Petrava. Jallad suffered from problems with his wind when bought at the Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale for the late doyens of South African horseracing, Laurie and Jean Jaffee. In South Africa, he proved his ability when winning the Gr.2 Merchants Stakes run over 6 furlongs, but at stud he has been a revelation, siring multiple Graded winners, 15 of which were Gr.1’s. He was Champion Sire in 2002.
Sweet Sanette’s dam is the National Assembly mare Scented Samantha, a four-time winning sprinter who is a daughter of the Champion Two-Year-Old Royal Prerogative mare, Scented Royal. This is a famous family owned by the late Graham Beck’s Highlands Farm Stud and Sweet Sanette made R400 000 (GBP35 000) at Bloodstock South Africa’s 2007 National Yearling Sale.
Another in the race with South African links, is the former winner of Gr. 1 Mercury Sprint, War Artist, now trained in Germany for staunch South African supporter, Rupert Plersch.