Karaka Graduates Tackle Royal Ascot FeaturesTuesday, Jun 19, 2012
Karaka graduates So You Think (NZ), Joy and Fun (NZ) and Little Bridge (NZ) are set to take on some of the world's best as they take their place in the five day Royal Ascot meeting in England starting early tomorrow morning (NZ time).
Held at the famous Ascot Racecourse, the Royal Ascot meeting offers £4.5 million over 30 races, seven of which are at Group 1 level. Staged over five days from Wednesday 20 June to Sunday 24 June (NZ dates), the meeting showcases some of the finest racing in the world.
Royal Ascot's opening day includes three Group 1 races; the Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) featuring Frankel (Galileo), the stallion-making St James' Palace Stakes for three-year-old colts and the King's Stand Stakes (1000m), the fourth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
Joy and Fun (NZ) wins the HK-1 Chairman's Sprint Prize two starts ago. Photo courtesy of the HKJC.
The £350,000 Group 1 King's Stand Stakes
will see a number of top sprinters take to the undulating Ascot straight including the Hong Kong raced Karaka graduates Little Bridge and Joy and Fun.
A $15,000 purchase from Java Lodge at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2004 Weanling and Broodmare Sale, the Derek Cruz trained Joy and Fun (Cullen x Gin Player) comes into the King's Stand Stakes in what is arguably his career best form. The eight-year-old won his first HK-1 race in Hong Kong two starts ago, the Chairman's Sprint Prize (1200m), beating top performer Lucky Nine (Dubawi).
Joy and Fun's last start was in Dubai where he contested the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m). Missing the jump, he raced brilliantly hitting the lead in the straight before being run down by fellow King's Stand rival Ortensia (Testa Rossa), to take third place.
The son of Cullen won Dubai's Al Quoz Sprint in 2010 before traveling to England to contest the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes (1200m). His owners Mr & Mrs Johnny Wong Chun Nam will be hoping for better luck in England this year as he was unplaced in his 2010 Golden Jubilee tilt, suffering a serious injury which saw him side lined for six months.
The Danny Shum trained Little Bridge (Faltaat x Golden Rose) has developed into a first class sprinter in Hong Kong and will also contest the King's Stand Stakes. Winning his first stakes race last season in the HK-3 Challenge Cup, the five-year-old has won three stakes races this season and comes into the race off consecutive victories in the HK-3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1000m) and the HK-2 Sprint Cup (1200m).
Little Bridge (NZ) comes into the King's Stand
Stakes after two consecutive stakes wins.
Photo courtesy of the HKJC.
Little Bridge was purchased by Margaret Harkema from Wentwood Grange for just $9,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2007 National Weanling Sale and he has already won over $1.8 million in stakes.
Looking for his 10th Group 1 win, New Zealand bred Karaka graduate So You Think (High Chaparral x Triassic) heads a good field in the market for the 150th anniversary of the £500,000 Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes (2000m) in the early hours of Thursday morning (NZ time).
The dual Cox Plate winner has a point to prove at Royal Ascot 2012. The 2011 running of the Prince of Wales's Stakes saw the Aidan O'Brien trained son of High Chaparral enter the race a well-backed favourite only to be undone by the ill-fated Rewilding (Tiger Hill) and jockey Frankie Dettori.
So You Think comes into the race after a scintillating performance in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup (2100m) at the Curragh in Ireland where he destroyed the field by six lengths under an arm chair ride from jockey Joseph O'Brien.
Purchased by Duncan Ramage's DGR Thoroughbred Services from Windsor Park Stud at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2008 Karaka Premier Sale for $110,000, So You Think's 13 career wins have netted just shy of $10 million in stakes. The handsome entire will face some tough competition in his search for Royal Ascot glory including Carlton House (Street Cry) who is raced by Her Majesty The Queen.
Carlton House was an early favourite for the Group 1 The Derby (2400m) last season, subsequently running third, after producing a brilliant lead-up performance to win the Group 2 Dante Stakes (2100m).
So You Think (NZ) will be racing for his
10th Group 1 title at Royal Ascot.
The Sir Michael Stoute trained four-year-old entire made a winning return to the track this season when taking the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes fresh up over the Prince of Wales's Stakes distance of 2000 metres on May 31.
Also in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and one of only four runners currently showing single figure odds across most British bookmakers is Planteur (Danehill Dancer). The Group 1 winner beat So You Think into third place behind Monterosso (Dubawi) in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) two starts ago in March.
Planteur ran third at his last start in the Group 1 Prix D'ispahan (1900m) in France in late May to two very good horses in Golden Lilac (Galileo) and Cirrus Des Aigles (Even Top).
A form race, the Group 1 Prix D'ispahan winner Golden Lilac has won six of her seven career starts including three at Group 1 level. The second placed Cirrus Des Aigles is also a top performer. He won the Group 1 Dubai Shema Classic (2400m) in March beating St Nicolas Abbey (Montjeu) who at his next start won the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup (2400m) at Epsom by five lengths earlier this month.
The Group 1 King's Stand Stakes will be held at 2.05am on Wednesday 20 June (NZ time) and the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at 2.45am on Thursday 21 June (NZ time). Both races will be shown live in New Zealand on Trackside TV.
Click here for more information regarding viewing the Royal Ascot races live on TAB TV in New Zealand.