He was short in the market – and for good reason, Cheryl’s Lad proving a class above his rivals breaking his maiden in easy fashion at Pakenham on Thursday evening.
Having his first run since late spring, the lightly raced and promising four-year-old – who has only missed a placing once in six starts – travelled sweetly throughout for Beau Mertens and after hitting the lead early in the straight he just kept finding.
Challenged with 100m to go, Cheryl’s Lad gave a kick and was getting clear late – his winning margin of a length a soft one.
“He was pretty unlucky not to have broken his maiden in his first preparation,” Mertens noted.
“This was his race and he did a good job. I did think that the second horse was going to run him down but he dug deep.”
“He is still a baby in some ways but he is starting to put it all together, I think he can win a few races this time in.”
It was a particularly special win for Allison – her first at Pakenham since the track became her home base just a few weeks ago.
“We are loving Pakenham’s big, wide open spaces and the fantastic track surfaces. It is such a relaxed enviroment, I love it and so do the horses!”
“It is really nice to knock off his maiden,” she said, confident that Cheryl’s Lad will improve as he gets over a bit more ground.
“He will definitely be better over further,” she said, describing the gelding as “an honest, consistent horse who hardly put a foot wrong during his first preparation.”
Though it was not easy sailing before that – Cheryl’s Lad hard work at first but fine once he realised he quite enjoyed being a racehorse… “one he went to the races the penny dropped and he hasn’t looked back, he just loves his job!”
“It was a lot of hard work getting him to the races so I have to thank my wonderful staff and his patient owners.”
“And Beau – the horse can be a bit tricky but he knows him and gets along with him really well.”
A home-bred for the Dickson family, Cheryl’s Lad is a son of Sharkbite (sire of the stable’s terrific mare Andrassy) and the placed Archway mare Kipaway – full sister to the South Australian Derby winner Tails Of Triomphe.
Cheryl’s Lad boasts an interesting pedigree with crosses of three influential mares within seven generations – Natalma (dam of Northern Dancer and third dam of Danehill), Best In Show ( fourth dam of Redoute’s Choice and grandam of Try My Best) and Djebellica (dam of Cambremont and fourth dam of Archway).