Kiwis to Uphold Proud Record in Hong Kong International Race
Kiwis to Uphold Proud Record in Hong Kong International Races
Friday, Dec 9, 2016
A strong contingent of Karaka graduates and New Zealand-breds will take on the world in Sunday’s Longines Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin, and the Kiwis have a proud record in the four prestigious races.
New Zealanders have often starred on Hong Kong racing’s biggest day, excelling in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) with wins by the legendary Sunline (NZ) (Desert Sun) in 2000, Lucky Owners (NZ) (Danehill) in 2003 and Karaka graduates Beauty Flash (NZ) (Golan) in 2010, Able One (NZ) (Cape Cross) in 2011, Ambitious Dragon (NZ) (Pins) in 2012 and Glorious Days (Hussonet) in 2013.
The Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) was won by champion Karaka graduate Vengeance Of Rain (NZ) (Zabeel) in 2005. The Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) was won in 2014 by Aerovelocity (NZ) (Pins).
The HK$16.5 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m), which is the first of the four championship races to be run on Sunday, is the only race that has so far eluded the Kiwis. Hopes this year lie with Flame Hero (NZ) (Savabeel), who was sold for $28,000 at the 2011 Select Sale and for $240,000 at the Ready to Run Sale later that year, purchased by his trainer Peter Ho. Flame Hero has won seven of his 38 starts and HK$10 million (NZ$1.8 million) in stakes. Flame Hero has drawn barrier five and will be ridden by Zac Purton.
Benzini (Tale of the Cat) is New Zealand-owned, trained and ridden. The seven-year-old, who won the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) earlier in the year, is owned and trained by Adrian Bull in partnership with his son Harry. Rosie Myers has the ride and Benzini will break from gate 11.
The second of the International Races is the HK$18.5 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), in which Aerovelocity will try to repeat his victory of two years ago. He is a graduate of the 2010 Premier Sale, where expat Kiwi trainer Paul O’Sullivan purchased him for $120,000. The winner of 11 races and more than HK$34 million (NZ$6.1 million), Aerovelocity has drawn barrier two and will be ridden by Zac Purton.
There are two other New Zealand-bred runners in the Sprint field. The first of those is Amazing Kids (NZ) (Falkirk), who was a winner in his homeland under the name Cousin Colin. Amazing Kids has won five of his 15 starts in Hong Kong and prize-money of HK$9.7 million (NZ$1.7 million). He is trained by John Size and will be ridden by Joao Moreira from gate seven.
The other Kiwi-bred runner is Super Jockey (NZ) (Sandtrap), who was a winner in New Zealand under the name Okie Dokie. He has won five races and HK$12 million (NZ$2.2 million), performing with distinction on the world stage with a second placing in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m). He is trained by Tony Millard and will be ridden by Karis Teetan. He has drawn gate nine.
The third of the championship races is the HK$23 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m), where New Zealand interest lies with Packing Pins(NZ) (Pins). Secured by Ricky Yui for $160,000 at the 2012 Premier Sale, Packing Pins has won six races and earned in excess of HK$8.5 million (NZ$1.5 million). He is trained by Ricky Yiu and will be ridden by French jockey Maxime Guyon. They have drawn the inside gate.
Last but not least is the HK$25 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000m), which features Gun Pit (Dubawi), who was knocked down to Michael Stedman for $250,000 at the 2012 Ready to Run Sale. He has won eight of his 27 starts for prize-money in excess of HK$8 million (NZ$1.4 million). He is trained by Caspar Fownes and will be ridden on Sunday by Karis Teetan. He has drawn gate five.
Coverage of the Longines Hong Kong International Races will be broadcast live on TAB Trackside Channel 1 from 6pm on Sunday 11 December.