Cerise Cherry, the only South African bred represented at this year’s Longines Hong Kong International Races this weekend, drew favourably in the Gr.1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint when part owner, Mr James Lau, pulled the number 5 barrier from the hat at Sha Tin Racecourse on Thursday morning. By all accounts outclassed on the official ratings, Cerise Cherry (109), has been in superb form this season winning the Gr.2 (HK) Premier Bowl Handicap in late October and then putting in an outstanding performance when drawn widest of all in the Gr.2 Jockey Club Sprint trial, finishing a close up fourth.
Trainer, Derek Cruz, has previously won the Sprint and is reputedly more than happy with the condition of the seven year old Goldkeeper gelding. He will be hoping that another South African jockey, Richard Fourie, will emulate his compatriot, Glynn Schofield, who piloted Natural Blitz to victory for Cruz back in 2005.
Cerise Cherry, one of 4 sons of Goldkeeper (Mr Prospector) to have performed with distinction in HK, was bred by Geoff and James Armitage’s Sandown Stud and is one of six winners out of Cherry Girl (Pochard). The R220 000 (US$29 000) graduate of Bloodstock South Africa’s 2007 National Yearling Sale proved his class at two and three when trained by Paul Matchett. A multiple Gr.1-placed juvenile, he landed the Gr.3 Graham Beck at three, in addition to which he finished second in the Gr.1 SA Classic over a distance further than his best.
With the lifting of the temporary embargo on horse imports from South Africa imminent (May 2013), a high profile win for Cerise Cherry will provide a welcome tonic for the South African bloodstock industry whose Yearling Sales Season kicks off next January in Cape Town with 234 Lots being offered for sale at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale.
Bloodstock South Africa’s National Yearling Sales follows in late April when over 500 horses are expected to be catalogued.