Karaka a World Leader in Hong KongFriday, Jun 22, 2012
Aashiq's HK-3 Premier Cup victory at Sha Tin on Sunday marked the end of black-type racing in Hong Kong for the 2011/12 season, a season that has seen Karaka graduates lead the way claiming an unmatched 13 stakes races.
Laying claim to some of Hong Kong's most prolific performers, New Zealand Bloodstock secured the title of the world's leading auction house for stakes wins in Hong Kong last season with nine, a total that has been smashed this season, assuring Karaka of consecutive titles in 2012.
Little Bridge's G1 King's Stand Stakes victory capped of a brilliant season for Hong Kong raced Karaka graduates
Headed by reigning Hong Kong Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon
(Pins), Karaka has had five individual Group 1/HK-1 winners in Hong Kong this season with Able One
(Cape Cross), Fay Fay
(Falkirk), Joy and Fun
(Cullen) and Liberator
(Encosta de Lago) all winning at the highest level.
The impressive list of stakes winners also includes Karaka graduate Little Bridge (NZ) who has developed into a top class sprinter in Hong Kong. The son of Faltaat has won three stakes races in Hong Kong this season including the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint and confirmed the form of Hong Kong horses when producing a career best performance to win the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot in England on Wednesday.
Among the other notable accomplishments achieved by Karaka graduates in Hong Kong this season was Karaka's success in the prestigious Triple Crown.
Karaka claimed all three legs of the Triple Crown with Ambitious Dragon winning the first two legs - the HK-1 Steward's Cup (1600m) and HK-1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) - with performances that put him in good stead for back-to-back Horse of the Year titles.
Ambitious Dragon has had another outstanding
season in Hong Kong
Liberator sealed the final leg of the elusive Triple Crown for Karaka when racing away in the HK-1 Champions & Charter Cup (2400m) with Ambitious Dragon taking a brave second place.
New Zealand bred horses have a proud record in the HK-1 Hong Kong Derby (2000m) and that record was upheld this season with Fay Fay (NZ) taking honours in 2012. Six of the last nine Hong Kong Derbies have been won by New Zealand bred horses and Fay Fay gave back-to-back titles to Karaka with Ambitious Dragon (NZ) winning the Derby last year.
The nine-year-old warhorse Able One (NZ) provided a highlight when winning the world's richest mile contest, the HK$20 million Group 1 Hong Kong Mile. His victory gave back-to-back Hong Kong Mile titles to Karaka with Beauty Flash (NZ) claiming the race last year.
Able One is the fifth horse New Zealand has bred and/or sold that has won the Hong Kong Mile since 2000 with Sunline, Lucky Owners, The Duke and Beauty Flash also claiming victory.
Other Karaka graduates to claim stakes victories this season are Entrapment (Halo Homewrecker) who won the HK-3 Sha Tin Sprint Trophy and Aashiq (Viking Ruler), winner of two stakes races including Sunday's HK-3 Premier Cup.
New Zealand has been the leading country for stakes wins in Hong Kong since the 2008/09 season and the current season has seen that trend continue with horses carrying the NZ suffix also claiming an unmatched 13 stakes victories.