Count De Rupee gets The Gong

Count de Rupee takes charge of The Gong, and adds a cool $580,000 to his career earnings. (PHOTO: Sportpix/Martin King)

No-one could begrudge Arrowfield Magic Millions graduate Count De Rupee his splendid, hometown hero’s victory in Saturday’s $1 million The Gong over 1600 metres at Kembla Grange. 

The super-consistent 4YO gelding was a close third in the $500,000 Silver Eagle on 9 October, and an even closer runner-up three weeks later in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle. 

Sent out favourite for The Gong, Count De Rupee and jockey Brock Ryan made their move soon after the turn and sprinted clear to score by 1.3 lengths. 

As co-trainer Luke Price said, “I honestly believe that whatever we ask this horse to do, he is just going to do. I haven’t had a horse get so much better after each run.

“I’ve never overtaxed him, I always said he will get better over time. I really believe the world is his oyster the next 12 months to two years.”

That confidence is backed by Count De Rupee’s superb record: he’s won six and placed in six of his 15 starts for earnings of $2.4 million – almost 17 times his purchase price. The Sydney Autumn Group 1 sprints and The Everest are all likely targets for him in 2023.

Count De Rupee was the third top-priced colt sold in 2019 from Real Impact’s first Australian crop. (PHOTO: Georgie Lomax)

The son of Real Impact was bought for $145,000 from Arrowfield’s 2019 Magic Millions draft by Luke & Robert Price for owners Bruce and Ken Noble, who have also enjoyed Group success this season with 3YO filly Jamaea. 

Count De Rupee is the first foal of Timeless Choice (by Redoute’s Choice), an unraced full sister to World Champion Sprinter, Horse of the Year and five-time Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee.

Gold Coast trainer Michael Costa & agent Bevan Smith paid $180,000 at this year’s Magic Millions Sale for Count De Rupee’s now 2YO brother, named Bias. Timeless Choice has a yearling filly by Dundeel, a colt foal by Written Tycoon and has visited Maurice this Spring. 

It’s proving to be a break-through Southern Hemisphere season for Real Impact whose first crop has supplied 20 of his 23  winners since 1 August, including city winners  Dynamic Impact (also bought from Magic Millions), Solid Impact (in New Zealand), Lasting Kiss and Calgary Queen, as well as New Zealand Group-placed winner Providenceprovides and Sky Lab, twice Group-placed in New South Wales. 

Real Impact holds a comfortable lead on the Australian 3rd Season Sires’ table and, with just over $3 million prizemoney, has pushed his way into the top 20 sires on the General Premiership.

He doesn’t have yearlings for the 2022 Australian sales, but buyers looking for the progeny of another international Group 1-winning son of Deep Impact don’t have a long wait. 

The first 7 Real Steel yearlings will be offered at Magic Millions 2022, six in the Arrowfield consignment and one in the Bowness Stud draft.

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