Hong Kong Derby Hero Strikes Again

31 May 2021

Derby hero Sky Darci (NZ) strikes in the G3 Lion Rock Trophy (1600m). Photo: HKJC

High-class Karaka graduate Sky Darci (NZ) (Darci Brahma) has followed up his Hong Kong Derby (2000m) heroics with a second slice of black-type success in Sunday’s HK$3.5m Group Three Lion Rock Trophy (1600m) at Sha Tin.

Bought for $160,000 from Highden Park’s draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2018, Sky Darci has now had 13 starts for seven wins, three placings and more than HK$23 million in stakes. That is the equivalent of NZ$4 million, which is 25 times his purchase price.

Sunday’s Lion Rock Trophy was Sky Darci’s first appearance since his Derby triumph on March 21. After settling in midfield for jockey Joao Moreira, he quickened strongly in the straight to cruise into contention.

Front-running Healthy Happy (Zoustar) fought back powerfully on the inside, but Sky Darci gradually got the better of their duel to the finish and prevailed by a short head.

“He won on his heart,” Moreira said. “He knows what his job is out there.

“The other horse gave him a challenge and wouldn’t give up. Healthy Happy was coming back at him and I could feel he was giving everything he has got. He is a good horse.

“It was just what we wanted, and it’s no surprise to me that he didn’t win by a bigger margin, because we have a high opinion of the other horse.”

Sky Darci is owned by Jessica Kwan Mun Hang and trained by Caspar Fownes, who already has his eye on the prestigious Hong Kong International Races later in the year.

“At the end of the day, we’re very happy to bring him back from the Derby – there’s always pressure on you to get these horses to come back and perform,” Fownes said.

“Obviously the second horse (Healthy Happy) is a horse we respected coming into the race, and he gave us quite a scare the last 100 metres. He’s a nice horse, the second horse. He’s probably one that’s going to go on with it.

“But it looks like we’ve got something to work with going forward to December (with Sky Darci). He’s a good horse and he’s probably still got another length and a half to two lengths in him over the next 12 months. If he can do that, all of sudden he’s a serious and proper horse.”

The third placegetter in Sunday’s Lion Rock Trophy was Not Usual Talent (NZ) (Zacinto), who was bought for $22,000 at the 2016 South Island Sale and $34,000 at the Ready to Run Sale later that year.

He has had 30 starts for six wins, eight placings and earnings just under HK$9 million, which is more than NZ$1.6 million.

Vendor Highden Park
Purchaser Mr B Kwan (Hong Kong)
Breeding Darci Brahma – Strictly Maternal
Sale Lot 629, Karaka 2018 Book 1, $160,000
Bred by M W Freeman & D G Price