Deon Visser (far right) at the recent 2019 CECF Saint Lucia race
Days after racing into the record books as the first trainer to win the 2019 DSH Caribbean Star Limited Pitons Cup, Deon Visser turned his sights to another of the Caribbean’s feature events, the USD100,000 Sandy Lane Gold Cup (1800m).
Barbados’ highest-profile racing event presents a raft of different challenges for the highly experienced mentor who has raced with success in his native South Africa, Sudan, China and Saint Lucia.
“The Sandy Lane Gold Cup is among the most important races in the Caribbean. Everyone wants to compete in it and everyone would love to win it so being a part of it is very exciting,” Visser said.
“This is the race that immediately came to mind after the Pitons Cup. I earmarked it for some of the better performed older horses and it is rewarding to be able to represent the China Horse Club with Colonel’s Pride.
“Colonel’s Pride hasn’t put a foot wrong since the Pitons Cup (in December). He has really thrived. He did most of his work in Saint Lucia before travelling to Barbados so we only need to have him ticking over leading into Saturday. It won’t be an easy race, there are some very good horses here. The local trainers are talented and target this race from a long way out. You have to respect them immensely.”
Jockey Chen Li riding Colonel Pride at the 2019 DSH Caribbean Star Limited Pitons Cup race
Colonel’s Pride drew the coveted one barrier in the official barrier draw last Friday, a gate that Visser hopes will help offset the unique challenges of the Garrison Racetrack.
“It is a very different track to what Colonel’s Pride is used to in Saint Lucia. It is anti-clockwise and turf. It is also a lot tighter. But Colonel’s Pride is adaptable and I believe he will give a good account of himself.”
Visser is well versed to competing in feature races the world over. During his trainer career, he has won feature events in China, three derbies in Sudan and a series of notable races in his native South Africa, the highlight being multiple group wins with the talented She’s A Stunner. In Barbados, he has turned to Chinese rider Chen Li who gained invaluable experience riding in Barbados in 2017.
Colonel’s Pride is one of two Saint Lucian based racehorses competing in the Sandy Lane Gold Cup. He is joined by the Robbie Hewetson trained Run Bayou who finished third in the 2019 DSH Caribbean Star Limited Pitons Cup.