NZ Dominates in HK
26 April 2005
The Kiwis dominated one of the world's most international races on Sunday night, when they claimed the first four home in the HK$14m Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin.
Following from his victory in the Hong Kong Derby, Vengeance of Rain held on to a three quarter length win in the toughest of international company. In doing so, he became the first horse to win the Derby-QE II double.
Vengeance of Rain, the 31st individual group one winner for his New Zealand sire, Zabeel, was purchased from New Zealand Bloodstock's 2002 Premier Yearling Sale for NZ$300,000 by Graeme Rogerson for Crown Casino principal, Lloyd Williams. The horse was sold for a substantial sum to Hong Kong in a deal brokered by New Zealand Bloodstock's Melbourne agent, Brent Thomson and New Zealand's Highview Stud owner, Brent Gillovic.
Vengeance of Rain's full sister, Dizelle, recently notched up a Group 1 win in this year's AJC Australian Oaks.
In a QE II quinella for Zabeel, the Mike de Kock trained, Grey's Inn, finished in second spot. Grey's Inn was conceived in New Zealand, foaled in USA and has three group one victories under his belt in South Africa for owner, Mrs Bridget Oppenheimer.
In third was the New Zealand-bred Russian Pearl, a NZ$37,500 purchase from New Zealand Bloodstock's Premier Yearling Sale. Bought by NZ agent, Stuart Hale, Russian Pearl is by one time shuttle sire, Soviet Star, from the Veloso mare, Velinda. Hale also purchased Russian Pearl's maternal half-sister at this year's Select Yearling Sale, for NZ$110,000.
Fourth placegetter was the New Zealand-bred Hong Kong Champion Stayer in 2004, Super Kid (by Gaius). Trained by John Size in Hong Kong for Mr Wong Yuk Kwan, Super Kid won last year's HK$8m Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup.
Continuing New Zealand's dominance of the meeting, Sha Tin played host to five other New Zealand victories on the big night:
Race 2 saw Handbag Premier secure another win for champion sire, Zabeel, in the Class 3 Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars Handicap (1400m). Trained by Paul O'Sullivan, the four year old was bought by Dominion Bloodstock from New Zealand Bloodstock's Premier Yearling Sale for NZ$200,000.
Race 3 was won by Brave Commander (Gold Brose), a NZ$60,000 purchase by Michael Stedman from the 2001 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Sale. The horse's dam, Audrey Rose has a weanling colt by Drama Critic (Lot 110) entered in the forthcoming National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka on 8th May.
Race 5 saw New Zealand Bloodstock graduate Greenessy (Hennessey) record his first win in Hong Kong in the Class 3 Audemars Piguet Promesse Cup (1600m). Bought by Willie Leung from the 2002 Premier Sale at Karaka, for NZ$525,000, he beat fellow New Zealand bred, Noble Heart (Deputy Governor) in second, a NZ$200,000 purchase by Poon Wah & Tommy Poon at the 2002 Premier Sale.
Race 6, the Class 2 Audemars Piguet Deva Handicap (2000m), was won by Best Gift (Bahhare), a private purchase from New Zealand after being passed in at the 2002 Select Colts Sale at Karaka. Trained by John Moore, Best Gift has had three wins and three seconds from his nine starts in Hong Kong.
In the big sprint race of the night, the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) it was New Zealand Ready to Run Sale graduate, Town of Fionn (Snippets), who put on a brave performance to run second to superstar, Silent Witness. Town of Fionn, bought by Michael Stedman from that Sale for NZ$50,000, currently has a tally of six wins in Hong Kong including the Premier National Day Cup (1400m).
In Race 9, the Class 1 Audemars Piguet Dream Handicap (1800m), Green Treasure (Danehill) beat good performers such as Bowman's Crossing, Palette Natural and Saturn, to win by half a length. The four year old was purchased by Willie Leung from the New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale for NZ$300,000 from Curraghmore Stud. The horse's full sister, Lalika (Danehill x Sitella) is being sold as part of Westbury Stud's Unreserved Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka on 6th May (Lot 268).