Sisterson sets sights on
Cigar Mile winner could head to Saudi Arabia in February to contest world's most valuable race
British born Jack Sisterson, a rising star of the US training ranks, is strongly considering The Saudi Cup for his impressive Cigar Mile winner True Timber.
A five and a half-length victor of the Grade 1 handicap at Aqueduct on December 5, his handler was thrilled the six-year-old was able to perform to such a high level.
“We were very proud of him and it was so rewarding for all the staff that put the hard work in 24/7. He came to us from Kiaran McLaughlin in early springtime. We gave him a brief break and he was pencilled in to run at Keeneland but we couldn’t because of the pandemic. He ran in an open allowance race there in July and ran very well to be third. Any race at Keeneland is a tough one and we thought it would be a stepping stone. It shows how good a trainer Kiaran is that he came to us in such good form. His best race last year was the Cigar Mile, so it was a race we wanted to target”, said Sisterson
The son of Mineshaft is now heading for warmer climes: “He’s heading back home to Keeneland and then we’ll be shipping him down to Florida towards the end of the week. We’re going to be changing his training regime up a bit, from a sprinter to more of a miler,” said Sisterson.
“We’ll then be looking at races like the Pegasus World Cup and The Saudi Cup. These are the races you dream of and it’s important to capitalise when the moment’s right. [The Cigar Mile] gives us the confidence to go for races like that. I don’t think the trip will be an issue at all, he has the presence of a distance type of horse, not a one-dimensional sprinter.”
Originally from Durham in England, Sisterson has now been in America for 15 years: “I came over on a soccer scholarship from the University of Louisville,” said the 35-year-old. “My family had a few horses in point-to-points back in the UK and I always wanted to be involved at some level.”
He couldn’t have received a better education in US racing: “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to learn from the best and the support I’ve received has been amazing. I started off working for Todd Pletcher and then Doug O’Neill, so I’ve been around some incredible horses,” said Sisterson.
A trip to Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be a first for Sisterson either, as he travelled to Riyadh when working with Doug O’Neill: “I made it out to Saudi when we took Bailoutbobby over there for a Grade One in 2016. He had been bought by Prince Faisal and I had a great time, meeting lots of people. It would be fantastic to go over there again.”
INTERNATIONAL JOCKEYS CHALLENGE - FRIDAY FEBRUARY 19, 2021
Source: The Saudi Cup. Photos: Janet Garaguso
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