Nimble Nimbus (NZ) Snares Centenary Vase
5 February 2024
Super-consistent Karaka graduate Nimble Nimbus (NZ) (Sacred Falls) broke through for a deserved first feature-race victory in Sunday’s HK$4.2m Group Three Centenary Vase (1800m) at Sha Tin.
Nimble Nimbus was offered by breeders Waikato Stud in Book 1 of Karaka 2019, where trainer Ricky Yiu bought him for $100,000. His 26-race career has now produced five wins, 10 placings, eight other top-five finishes and a total of HK$8.41m in stakes – the equivalent of almost NZ$1.8m.
The six-year-old gelding headed into Sunday’s race with a series of eye-catching recent performances in major races. He finished fourth in the Group Two Jockey Club Cup (2000m), then seventh in the Group One Hong Kong Cup and fourth in last month’s Group Three January Cup (1800m).
Nimble Nimbus had settled in the first three or four in the running during all of those previous assignments, but Yiu and jockey Andrea Atzeni opted for different tactics on Sunday. They decided to take Nimble Nimbus back towards the tail of the 14-horse field and save him for one last powerful run.
Nimble Nimbus had only four horses behind him at the home turn, but Atzeni brought him down the outside with big strides and burst to the lead with just over 100 metres remaining. He hit the finish line a head in front of the fast-finishing Five G Patch (Camelot).
“I think the horse deserved it,” Atzeni said. “He’s been knocking on the door and has not had the best of luck with his draws. When I looked at the draw for this race and we had five, I thought, ‘Thank God, we’ve finally got a decent draw with him.
“Ricky was very confident and he put no pressure on. He told me to ride him quiet and challenge as late as I could.”
Yiu was similarly pleased with Sunday’s result.
“He’s an amazing horse,” he said. “He never gets beaten far and is very consistent, no matter the distance.
“I always thought that this horse would go well over 1800 metres, and Sha Tin is a better course than Happy Valley for him as it’s a longer straight. He was drawn wide last time and had a much better draw this time.”
Nimble Nimbus became the eighth individual stakes winner for the former Waikato Stud stallion Sacred Falls (NZ), who himself was sold through the Karaka sale ring for $160,000 in 2011. He won four Group One races and more than $4m before embarking on a successful stud career that was cut short by his untimely death in 2019.
Nimble Nimbus is out of the twice-winning Pins mare Marahau (NZ), who is a full-sister to the stakes winner Shandream (NZ) (Pins).
|Waikato Stud Ltd
|Mr R Yiu (Hong Kong)
|Sacred Falls – Marahau
|Lot 196, Karaka 2019 Book 1, $100,000
|Waikato Stud Ltd