Cheyne and star filly Sanette have their day in the sun
A day short of one year since he last rode Sweet Sanette, Greg Cheyne was reunited with her to score his biggest Hong Kong win yesterday in an all-South African conclusion to the Group Three Chow Tai Fook Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m).
The brilliant South African-bred mare was having her first start since a move to a South African trainer, Tony Millard, who was instrumental in getting Cheyne back on the mare with which he had struck such a good relationship early in her career.
'I have to thank Tony for convincing the owners to put me back on, because I did nothing wrong on her - my last ride on her was a win,' said Cheyne after the lightly weighted sprinter had held out Sacred Kingdom and One World to score narrowly. 'It's my first Group win here, which is very exciting and the only thing that didn't go to plan was that she missed the start a little.
'Had she jumped cleanly, I would have been right there with the leader Romantic City. But when she was not cleanly away and I had the leader out towards the centre of the track, it allowed me to get an uninterrupted run near the outside rail, rate her and bring her into it when I felt she was ready.'
There was added merit to the win as vets found Sweet Sanette had blood in her throat afterwards, but with few opportunities at this trip, the major question for her future has yet to be answered when she tackles similar company at 1,200m again.
'She was very relaxed the first quarter, so she might get it stronger now but obviously she would need to,' Cheyne said. 'Today was her day and she came through. Over 1,000m at handicaps the weights were in her favour and, if she goes back to set weights conditions, she will only get her female allowance off a horse like Sacred Kingdom and not the 16 pounds she got today.
'But with the work programme she's had, I do feel now she'll be more competitive at 1,200m.'
Once again, former world champion Sacred Kingdom was gallant in a neck margin defeat, but Brett Prebble said the gelding is just not going through with it at the finish.
'Same story as it has been when he's been beaten this season - his action is fantastic, the acceleration is the same awesome turn of foot as it ever was and the feeling he gives you is that he is just going to come and win,' Prebble said.
'But then the last bit, he just doesn't go through with it, not the way he used to. Nothing stays the same forever and he's still going to win a lot of money racing the way he is but he just isn't quite the same at the finish.'
Singapore and the KrisFlyer Sprint still beckon for the Ricky Yiu Poon-fai-trained sprinter and for third-placed One World (Weichong Marwing), although trainer John Moore has yet to find out if he has an invitation.
'I've received an invitation for Irian to run in the International Cup there but I haven't heard about One World,' Moore said. 'I think he's run very well here over a course that has never really been his best and 1,200m at Kranji would be more suitable.'