Counties Bowl Brilliance from Sacred Satono (NZ)

26 November 2023

The super-talented Sacred Satono (NZ) (Satono Aladdin) lifted his career earnings to more than 10 times his purchase price with a scintillating performance in the $150,000 Group Three Haunui Farm Counties Bowl (1100m) at Pukekohe on Saturday.

Sacred Satono (NZ) 

Sacred Satono was offered by Rich Hill Stud in Book 2 of Karaka 2021, where Wallace Thoroughbreds bought him for just $34,000. The classy four-year-old entire has now had 18 starts for five wins, five placings and $346,803 in prize-money.

Trained by Bruce Wallace and Grant Cooksley, Sacred Satono has held his own in elite company at the ages of two, three and four.

He was a runner-up at Listed level as a two-year-old before finishing fourth in the Group Two Eclipse Stakes (1200m), seventh in the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) and fifth in the Group One Sistema Stakes (1200m).

As a three-year-old, Sacred Satono finished second against older sprinters in the 2022 edition of the Counties Bowl. He then won the Group Three Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m), finished second in the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m) and a close fifth against a star-studded field in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO (1600m).

Sacred Satono had a win and a second from his first two starts of the current season, then crossed the Tasman for a tilt at last month’s A$1m Silver Eagle (1300m) in Sydney. He had to jump from the extreme outside gate in a 14-horse field in that race, but did his connections proud with a close seventh.

Back on home soil for Saturday’s Counties Bowl, Sacred Satono settled in fourth place among a field of six. Jockey Michael McNab unleashed him in the home straight and he raced up alongside the high-class mare Babylon Berlin (All Too Hard). Aided by a six-kilogram difference in the weights, Sacred Satono went stride for stride with Babylon Berlin before gradually gaining the upper hand inside the final 100 metres and beating her by three-quarters of a length. The 1100 metres were run in a sizzling 1:02.33.

“It was a very good win, he tries very hard and stuck his head out at the right time,” Cooksley said. “I thought he would be very hard to beat off his work, he’s been working well.

“He’s grown up a lot. He had a very hard run in that race in Sydney, but went very well in it. We’ve brought him back here now to see what he does. We were happy coming into today, and he will improve with that run as well.”

McNab is one of Sacred Satono’s biggest fans, following the horse to Sydney last month even though it meant sacrificing what proved to be a Group One-winning ride on Ladies Man (NZ) (Zed) in the Livamol Classic (2040m).

“I’m rapt with that,” McNab said. “I’ve been asking for a long time for the blinkers to go on him and we got them on today. When I needed him, he was there for me.

“I’ve obviously stuck with this horse. I had the choice of riding him or Ladies Man and I went to Australia to ride him, so for him to come back and win today gives me a really good thrill.

“Obviously missing out on a Group One isn’t great, but the experience and exposure I got in Sydney that day was unbelievable. To go and ride him, who I think will win a Group One eventually, I don’t regret it.

“I think he can be hard to beat in the Railway (Group One, 1200m) on New Year’s Day. I think he’s one of the better horses going around in New Zealand, so I don’t see why he couldn’t.”

Vendor Rich Hill Stud
Purchaser Wallace Thoroughbreds (Auckland)
Breeding Satono Aladdin – Belle Joie
Sale Lot 733, Karaka 2021 Book 2, $34,000
Bred by Archer Equine Investments Ltd