A 10-length debut winner Otaki, NZ, on Friday has provided a stunning and timely endorsement of the Darley stallion Denman.
Whiskey Neat, a two-year-old by Denman out of the Darley-bred mare Ouija (Viscount), raced away with the 1,000m event in spectacular style.
The gelding sold for NZ$220,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock's Karaka Yearling Sale last year, equalling the highest price paid for a Denman yearling in 2018. He’d previously sold for A$72,5000 when offered by Newgate Farm at the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale.
The victory came only a week before Denman’s outstanding Hong Kong sprinter Hot King Prawn is due to appear as one of the top chances in the G1 HK Sprint at Sha Tin.
Whiskey Neat’s pedigree is a combination of some of the best of Darley in Australia and of Woodlands, the operation Sheikh Mohammed acquired in 2004.
His dam Ouija, who was bred and raced by Sheikh Mohammed, is out of Seances whose eight winners from 10 to race include the recent city-class winners Roosevelt and Haunted as well as the Stakes winners Sessions and Rennaissance, who have all carried Sheikh Mohammed’s colours.
Trainer Tony Pike said the win came as no surprise.
"He'd shown us plenty in his trackwork and it was really pleasing to see him go out and produce a performance like that," said trainer Tony Pike.
"He's owned in Hong Kong, but we were lucky enough to have the owner inform us after his last trial that he'd stay here for the time being with the Karaka Million in mind.”
Whiskey Neat’s win also focusses additional attention on his three-quarter brother by Exosphere to be offered as Lot 884 by Fernrigg Farm at next month’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
Meanwhile, Hot King Prawn, the winner of nine of his only 10 starts, is one of the most prominent contenders for the HK$11.4m G1 Sprint run on Sunday, 10 December.
Denman stood the past season at Kelvinside, NSW.