The classy John Size-trained & Arrowfield-connected pair Thewizardofoz and Contentment featured on the list of 2014/15 Hong Kong award winners announced at last week’s end-of-season ceremony.
Brilliant 3YO Thewizardofoz was named Hong Kong’s Champion Griffin of 2014/15 after Sunday’s season finale at Sha Tin.
The son of Redoute’s Choice and multiple Group 1 winner Princess Coup (by Encosta de Lago) burst on the scene with three dominant wins over 1200 metres in May and June for owner Martin Siu Kim Sun.
The gelding’s progress through the ratings to a figure of 89 allows a comparison with champion Silent Witness, rated 95 after his first three wins in 2002/03. The two-time Horse of the Year won a Hong Kong Group 2 event at his fifth start – a path that Thewizardofoz may well follow in the new season, which opens on 3 September.
Redoute’s Choice has had 16 winners in Hong Kong, the best of them being dual domestic Group 3 winner Packing Ok, also third to Ambitious Dragon & Glorious Days in the 2012 Hong Kong Mile G1. In addition, his Mike de Kock-trained son Musir was third in Xtension’s 2011 Champions Mile G1.
The Most Improved Horse was 4YO gelding Contentment (Hussonet-Jemison by Commands), a $65,000 John Foote purchase from Arrowfield Stud at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale and raced by Benson Lo Tak Wing.
Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment improved his rating during the season by 49 points to 101 with five wins from nine starts. He franked the award with a really brave win in Sunday’s Sha Tin Mile Trophy, taking up an early lead and defying the challenges of Beauty Only and Fantastic Kaka to win by a neck in 1:33.62. Previous winners of the race include subsequent multiple Group 1 winners Dan Excel & Designs On Rome, named Champion Middle Distance Horse of 2014/15.
Jemison has a rising 3YO half-brother to Contentment, named Alabama Charge (by Charge Forward) in the Robbie Laing stable, a rising 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a Charge Forward weanling colt. The mare, from the family of Champion 2YO Colt Align, is in foal to Animal Kingdom.
Australian-bred horses took out five awards for the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s 130th anniversary season, including the Horse of the Year trophy won by four-time Group 1 winner Able Friend.