Superlative Maurice takes out Champions Mile

Maurice crowned a day of champions at Sha Tin on 1 May 2016 with a superlative victory in the $HK14 million (~$A2.3 million) Champions Mile 1600m G1.

 “He was brilliant!” said winning rider Joao Moreira. “A machine,” was the verdict of Brett Prebble who had the closest view of Maurice’s powerful hindquarters in the run home – he was two lengths away, on board the valiant Arrowfield graduate Contentment.

Moreira enjoyed an untroubled passage on the Mrs Kazumi Yoshida’s entire, only the second overseas winner of the race after Variety Club in 2014.

Settled a handy fourth, with Contentment inside and clear ground outide him, Maurice tracked  the pace-setting Beauty Flame and close attendant Rewarding Hero, then eased three wide on the turn for home as the front pair began to toil.

With Beauty Flame mining his last reserves at the 300-metre point, Moreira shook the reins and Maurice responded with alacrity, and within fifty metres Japan’s hero had sealed the result.  He cut out the final 400 metres in a searing 21.79 to score in a time of  1:34.08.

Watch Maurice win the Hong Kong Champions Mile G1.

Moreira said, “He was lucky to get such a good position in the race, which gave me plenty of options to put him out whenever I wanted.

“He gave me so much confidence that he was going to get there any time that I was going to press the button. When I gave him the daylight he just started to get going by himself and showed what he is capable of. He’s a lovely horse and I think he can step up to a longer distance. I’m very blessed to have been given an opportunity to ride this horse today.”

Maurice magnificent in Hong Kong Cup

Japanese superstar Maurice rolled to a dramatic victory in the $HK25 million (~$A4.2 million)Longines Hong Kong Cup G1, capping a day that saw Japan and Hong Kong sweep the honours on the Sha Tin turf.

Watch Maurice win the Hong Kong Cup G1.

Maurice, a 5YO son of Screen Hero, got off to an awkward start in the Cup under jockey Ryan Moore and was third-last as the field entered the first turn. A Shin Hikari, who won last year’s Cup from the front, was out and sprinting for jockey Yutaka Take.
 
As the field hit the sweeping final turn, A Shin Hikari was seven lengths in front of the field, while Maurice was 20 lengths behind. But as the long stretch loomed, A Shin Hikari shortened stride as Maurice powered up to his magnificent best.
 
Moore came along the inside, right behind the tiring leader, swung to his outside and quickly finalised the result, winning by three lengths in 2:00.95, with Secret Weapon second and Staphanos third.
 
“That was fun,” said Moore, “When we found room to run, he just let down.”

The race was the last in Maurice’s spectacular 11-win, $12 million career for his owner Mrs Kazumi Yoshida and, as only the second horse from Japan to win three offshore Group One races, he retires as one of his country’s greatest-ever racehorses.

Maurice joins the Arrowfield roster

Arrowfield Stud is proud to announce that international champion and six-time Group 1 winner Maurice will shuttle to Arrowfield from the 2017 southern hemisphere breeding season onwards.

Owned by Mrs Kazumi Yoshida, Maurice was named Japan’s 2015 Horse of the Year, Champion Sprinter & Champion Miler. He was also honoured with a Special JRA Award for his 2016 victories in the Tokyo Tenno Sho G1, Hong Kong Champions Mile G1 & his sensational swansong, the Longines Hong Kong Cup G1 at Sha Tin in December.

Mrs Yoshida’s husband, renowned international owner and breeder Katsumi Yoshida, has given Maurice the best possible endorsement by sending him two-time Horse of the Year and 7-time Group 1 winner Gentildonna (by Deep Impact). He says, “She is the best mare I own, she will be covered by Maurice.”

Champion jockey Joao Moreira, who rode Maurice to win the 2016 Hong Kong Champions Mile G1, says, “He is a beautiful horse. He’s got a great body, he has strength and he moves like a real champion horse. He is undoubtedly right up there with the best I have ridden.”

Two-time Longines World Champion jockey Ryan Moore, who piloted Maurice to victory twice in Hong Kong, as well as in the 2015 Kyoto Mile Championship G1 and 2016 Tokyo Tenno Sho G1, spoke about what made him exceptional during a retirement celebration held at Nakayama on 15 January.

“He was just an outstanding looking horse. He has a fantastic mind, he always wanted to win. He put everything into his races. He was really powerful, travelled wherever you wanted him to and he had a fantastic turn of foot.”

The jockeys and trainers of his defeated rivals also enthused about Maurice, who was unbeaten in three Hong Kong Group 1 appearances.

Leading Australian and Hong Kong Jockey Brett Prebble described Maurice simply, “A machine.”

Champion Hong Kong trainer John Moore told visiting Japanese media, “He’s a great specimen of a horse and a tremendous racehorse… I wouldn’t hesitate to send a mare to him. I hope you’ve got yourselves another Deep Impact.”

South China Morning Post racing journalist Michael Cox wrote, “The horse that looks indestructible and races accordingly.”

Arrowfield’s Chairman John Messara says, “Nobody could fail to be impressed by Maurice’s extraordinary performances at the highest level. We are privileged to have the opportunity to stand the Yoshidas’ charismatic superstar whose physique, 1600-metre dominance and Danehill-free status make him a wonderful addition to our roster.”

Maurice retires with a record of 11 wins, six at Group 1 level, including four at 1600 metres, and prizemoney exceeding A$12 million. On the 2016 Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings he has been awarded a figure of 127, placing him fifth overall, and third on turf in the world.

Maurice (Screen Hero-Mejiro Frances) will stand at Arrowfield this year at a fee of $A33,000 inc GST alongside dual Group 1 winner Real Impact, bred by the Yoshida family. Maurice is fully booked for his first northern hemisphere season in 2017 at Shadai Stallion Station.

For more information about Maurice please visit: www.arrowfield.com.au/horses/maurice-jpn.html

Sun Jewellery named Hong Kong's Champion Miler

A season of top-class performances has earned Snitzel’s 4YO son Sun Jewellery the Hong Kong Champion Miler Award for 2015/16.

The award was presented to Sun Jewellery’s owner-breeder Tung Moon Fai at the Hong Kong Champion Awards ceremony on Friday evening.

Sun Jewellery (ex Tan Tat Star by Umatilla) was initially trained by Peter Moody and sent to Hong Kong after two Victorian country wins as an early 3YO.

In the hands of champion trainer John Size, he immediately stamped himself one of Hong Kong’s most exciting prospects with a sequence of late-season wins at 1200 and 1400 metres.

Sun Jewellery made his 4YO debut last November and quickly progressed to domestic Group 1 success in January’s Hong Kong Classic Mile beating subsequent Derby winner and Horse of the Year Werther and Arrowfield graduate Blizzard.

A month later his competitive grit and finishing speed prevailed against the same pair in the second leg of the 4YO Series, the Hong Kong Classic Cup HK-1 over 1800 metres. That proved to be right at the end of his distance range, and he was unplaced in the Derby.

Freshened up to return in June, Sun Jewellery concluded his season with a slashing win in the 1400-metre Premier Cup HK-3, where he got the better of Dashing Fellow just before the post.

Sun Jewellery’s four wins from six starts during 2015/16 boosted his career earnings by $2.7 million. His proven talent, natural improvement and the shrewd management of his master trainer make him a strong prospect for December’s Hong Kong Mile G1.

Sun Jewellery is one of five Arrowfield-connected horses that end the Hong Kong season with a rating of 100 or better:
126 – NOT LISTENIN’TOME (bred by Michael Pitt & Mark Read; sold by Arrowfield)
125 – CONTENTMENT (by Hussonet; bred by Paul Favretto, Tony Hodgson, Paul Rowe, David & Peter Sinn; sold by Arrowfield)
116 – SUN JEWELLERY (by Snitzel)
111 – THEWIZARDOFOZ (by Redoute’s Choice)
105 – BLIZZARD (by Starcraft; bred by GSA Bloodstock & sold by Arrowfield).

Another Australian-bred trained by John Size, Mr Stunning, won the Champion Griffin award.