Clean sweep closer for Cherokee’s Ironman
Cherokee’s Ironman cleared the second hurdle in a quest for a clean sweep of major honours this season.
Just weeks after retaining his Boxing Day Stakes title, Arnold Manders’s gelding won the Best Three Series Aged division at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre on Sunday to stay on course for the unique feat.
With top driver Tyler Lopes at the helm, Cherokee’s Ironman won the opening heat from the rail in the day’s fastest time of 1:03/1 and then did enough from the three-hold in the second and final heat to secure honours.
“He ran well and the second heat was a good race,” Manders said.
“He had to pass one horse and he did it at the end. If he didn’t IC’s Shakedown would have won because it goes on points and not time.
“He had a lot of work to get there because he was last right up until the end and then he overtook Itsallaboutme at the wire. All three of them were going across the wire at the same time.”
Cherokee’s Ironman had things all his own way in the first heat.
“The first race he blew the field away,” Manders said. “He was about three of four lengths in front it doesn’t make sense holding them back when they want to run.”
IC’s Shakedown, Full Throttle Racing’s mare, won the second and final heat. But it was not enough to overhaul Cherokee’s Ironman for the title.
“We both ended up tied on three points each but I had the most points coming and so I won,” Manders added. “I was winning by five or six points coming in.”
Cherokee’s Ironman’s time in the opening heat was one fifth of a second slower than the season’s fastest which he holds.
With two titles already in the bag, Manders’s pony will now be keen to defend his Champion of Champions title crown next month and complete the clean sweep of honours.
“It’s going to be tough,” Manders said. “But when the going gets tough, the tough get going and we’re up for it.”
Missing from Sunday’s Best Three Series Aged finale was Inwood Stables’ 12-year-old gelding, Brona’s Mike, which was scratched through injury.
Meanwhile, claiming the Best Three Series four and five-year-olds title was Pocket De Gold with Saltus student Christian Truran at the helm.
Full Throttle Racing’s mare placed second in the opening heat in 1:05/1 and then finished with a bang after winning the second and final heat in 1:04/4.
Andrea Westerfield was the top driver with three heat victories during the regular race schedule while Kiwon Waldron, Zinho Cooper and Casey Truran had two each.