October began with notable wins in Hong Kong & Singapore by Arrowfield & Inglis sale graduates, and it’s ended the same way, with successes by Stepitup, Contentment & Blizzard on Sunday evening.
Stepitup has book-ended the month with the first two legs of the Singapore Triple Crown, adding the $500,000 Raffles Cup to his Kranji Mile win on 4 October.
Hope of a Raffles Cup victory seemed forlorn until the very end of the 1800-metre contest when Stepitup and jockey Michael Rodd found clear air and went after the leader Fastnet Dragon. They caught him in the final 20 metres, winning by a half-length with Quechua more than two lengths back in third place.
Stepitup’s trainer Laurie Laxon said, “He didn’t look like he could win. He sure was in a major spot of bother, he was all jammed up, but he just has this amazing mindset, he just has to get the win.
“He’s only a small horse and is the quietest in the stable, you wouldn’t notice him, but what a motor he has. He will now go for the Gold Cup and I guess he would get the top weight of 58 or 59kg now, but he will be a big chance.”
The son of Hussonet and Ain’t Seen Nothin’ was has now won 15 races, ten of them at domestic Group level, and well over $S$2 million for his owner the Tivic Stable.
Bred by Arrowfield and John Leaver, Stepitup was purchased by Cliff Brown for $90,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Ain’t Seen Nothin’ has a 3YO colt by Starcraft, a yearling filly by All American and a filly foal by Dundeel.
At Sha Tin another son of Hussonet, 5YO Contentment, turned in a sub-1.34 time to win the 1600 metres HK$4 million Sha Tin Trophy HK-2, showing he’s right on target for December’s Hong Kong Mile G1.
A $65,000 John Foote purchase from the Arrowfield consignment at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale, Contentment has now won eight of his 11 starts and the equivalent of $1.7 million for owner Benson Lo Tak Wing.
Contentment’s trainer John Size said, “He has always shown me that he was a very good horse, from the first day that he walked into the stable. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I thought he was a good horse before he raced. He always did everything correctly – he’s always presented like a good horse.”
Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment is from the Commands mare Jemison, also the dam of 3YO and yearling colts by Charge Forward, a 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a 2015 filly by Animal Kingdom.
Hong Kong’s reigning Horse of the Year Able Friend scored a brilliant victory in the next race, the Premier Bowl HK-2, and a quinella by Blizzard and Thewizardofoz in the last race, a Class 2 event over 1400 metres, signed off a big night for Australian-breds.
Thewizardofoz (by Redoute’s Choice) was impressive at his season debut and first try beyond 1200 metres, but Blizzard (by Starcraft) was sensational, carrying a kilogram more than his rival, sitting wide for much of the race and rocketing down the centre of the track to win in 1:21.96. He ran the last 400 metres in 22.26, faster than any other winner on the ten-race program.
A son of the Redoute’s Choice mare Stormy Choice, Blizzard was bred by Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock and offered by Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale where his trainer Ricky Yiu bought him for $75,000. He’s now won six of his 10 starts and returned HK$5.3 million (~$960,000) to his owner, the Infinitude Syndicate.