Smart Missile's aim is true

Smart Missile’s barrage of 16 winners, including two stakeswinners, in the past six weeks do more than keep him in the tight race for the Australian Second Season Sires’ title.

They also confirm his growing value as a sire of smart juveniles, like impressive Group winners Debellatio & I’ll Have A Bit,  as well as performers that relish distances beyond 1400 metres. 

The latest example is 3YO Rocketeer who made winning over 2000 metres at Sha Tin look easy when he scored by 2.5 lengths in the Class 2 Hong Kong Young Indstrialists Council Silver Jubilee Cup for the Hung family and champion trainer John Moore. 

Watch Rocketeer win over 2000 metres in Hong Kong.

“It’s a change of luck for the Hung family, and they have another Derby prospect to look forward to next season,” said Moore. “This horse was my first Derby purchase for next season, we bought him after he ran in the Victoria Derby last November. He wasn’t my first choice, I was chasing Inference who went on to win the Randwick Guineas, but like many of them he wasn’t for sale. This horse was, and he always looked like he’d be better with six months under his belt, he was on the leg.”

Rocketeer had finished near the tail in his first two runs over a mile, but the switch to Happy Valley and the step up to 1800m last start saw him show a glimmer of form when sixth to Packing Dragon.

“I’ve been bringing him along very slowly, letting him find his legs and acclimatise,” Moore said. “He started to show a bit of form last start at Happy Valley, he was getting to the line and that told me that he was not far off. I didn’t do much with him going into this as he was a fit horse after the last race. He was focused, he was ready and he just outstayed them. From my point of view, though, he’s done what we wanted this season, to win one race at least. Now he can progress on to next season as one of our Derby contenders.”

Moore family makes them Listen

If you thought Hong Kong Group winner Not Listenin’tome was named by a slightly frustrated parent, you’d be right.

George Moore, who bought him for $270,000 from Arrowfield’s draft at the 2012 Inglis Easter Sale, recalls, “My late mother actually named him. I can’t remember the exact situation, but one of us wasn’t listening to her, and she said ‘Not Listenin’tome.'”

He adds, “Not Listenin’tome was a stand out on type at the Easter Sale. In our minds he was a no-brainer, being out of a good producing mare in Flame Of Sydney, and a fluid mover with great drive behind.”

Bred by Michael Pitt & Mark Read, the son of Dylan Thomas has paid serious attention to the business of winning races since his successful debut at Bendigo three years ago. Team Hawkes initially trained Not Listenin’tome for George’s father, multiple champion Hong Kong trainer John Moore, and the result from six starts was three wins, notably the MRC Zeditave S. G3, and three placings, including a second in Zoustar’s VRC Coolmore Stud S. G1. 

After a winless Spring 4YO campaign, the bay gelding was sent in December 2014 to his owner’s Hong Kong stable and quickly made his mark, with a first-up Group placing and success in the Sha Tin Vase HK-3 at his third appearance.

Although he physically resembles his champion Derby-and-Arc-winning sire, Not Listenin’tome’s racing aptitude is obviously closer to that of  his dam who won three 1000-metre juvenile races, and  the 1400-metre VRC Desirable S. LR at three. His victory in last weekend’s Jockey Club Sprint 1200m G2 was his fourth Hong Kong Group success and took his career earnings to $2.4 million.

Not Listenin’tome goes into next month’s ~$3.2 million Longines Hong Kong Sprint G1 with an international rating of 118, one point below last year’s winner Peniaphobia, the 2014 winner Aerovelocity & Lucky Bubbles, who all finished behind him on Sunday.

However, jockey Hugh Bowman doesn’t under-estimate the task ahead of Not Listenin’tome, who was a fine third in last year’s International Sprint. He said, “I feel he will have to run a little bit better than he did today to win in three weeks, because… it will be a stronger race. But that being said, if I can have the same run as I did last year, it will be very welcome, because I think I have the better horse.”

John Moore’s long list of major victories includes the 2008 Hong Kong Sprint with Flying Spur’s son Inspiration, while Not Listenin’tome’s owner Matthew Wong also raced Horse of the Year Makarpura Star and the very good sprinter Sunny Sing.

The Moore stable will be represented in all four of this year’s Hong Kong International Races by Designs On Rome (Hong Kong Cup), 2015 Horse of the Year Able Friend, Helene Paragon & Joyful Trinity (Hong Kong Mile) and Helene Happy Star (Hong Kong Vase), as well as Not Listenin’tome in the Sprint.

George has played a key role in the family business for more than a decade and is regularly seen at Australian yearling sales where he purchased Inspiration, Able Friend, 2016 Queensland Derby G1 winner Eagle Way and Group winners Admiration, Dashing Fellow & Running Tall.

His recent buys include another Arrowfield graduate, this time a $300,000 colt by Starcraft from the Redoute’s Choice mare Salutations, sourced from the 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. Bought for Sebastian Man Shiu Wai, owner of this year’s Derby runner-up Victory Magic, he’s been named Victory Music. George reports, “He’s had two trials to date and is showing some nice ability at this stage.” 

Starcraft, currently second on the Hong Kong Sires’ list, has only two lots catalogued for the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Cast Sale, both of them offered by Arrowfield: a colt from Purring Flying and a filly out of Vortex. Arrowfield will offer Salutations’ colt by Animal Kingdom at the 2017 Inglis Easter Sale.

Group 2 goes to Arrowfield graduate

Arrowfield graduate Not Listenin’tome returned to the winner’s circle on a Sunday evening with a polished performance in the $HK4 million HKJC Jockey Club Sprint 1200m G2.

His half-length defeat of a quality field, including his champion stablemate Able Friend (4th), Lucky Bubbles (2nd) and Group 1 winner Aerovelocity (3rd), surprised punters but it’s not out of place on his excellent record. He’s now won eight and placed in seven of his 27 starts for $2.4 million prizemoney and, while this win is his best, he’s also won four Group 3 races, and placed three times at Group 1 level.

One of those Group 1 placings was in last year’s Hong Kong Sprint and Hugh Bowman, who rode him then and on Sunday, is happy tobe  on board on 11 December.

He said, “I got a lovely run, he settled the best he’s ever settled for me. All the times I’ve ridden him have been over 1200m and in that time, all his best form has been over 1000 metres.

“Twelve months ago, after the Hong Kong Sprint, I thought that the 1200m was too far for him, or at least for him to produce his best, but obviously after what he produced this afternoon, it makes me very excited going into the international meeting.”

Not Listenin’tome (Dylan Thomas-Flame of Sydney by Encosta de Lago) was a $270,000 purchase by George Moore Bloodstock from Arrowfield’s draft at the 2012 Inglis Easter Sale and is prepared for Matthew Wong Leung Pak for champion Hong Kong trainer John Moore.

The 6YO gelding was bred with Mark Read by long-time Arrowfield client Michael Pitt, who said, “It’s wonderful to see Not Listenin’tome back in form. I’ve done really well with Flame Of Sydney and I might try to do it all again, as I do want to keep an involvement.”

Flame Of Sydney has been a wonderful racing and breeding story for Michael over the past decade. A $NZ230,000 buy out of Karaka in 2005, she earned $315,000 in a career that featured a Listed win at Flemington and multiple Group placings.

Her five yearlings, her broodmare daughter Star of Sydney and finally Flame Of Sydney herself, sold for $605,000 at the 2015 Inglis Broodmare Sale, have returned a healthy seven-figure sum, undoubtedly aided by Not Listenin’tome’s racetrack success.

And the story’s not over yet. Flame Of Sydney’s current 2YO Invader (by Snitzel) was fourth on debut for the China Horse Club and partners in the ATC Breeders’ Plate LR, and she has since produced a yearling filly and colt foal by Snitzel for her new owner Yulong Investments.

Meanwhile, Michael’s only current mare Tennessee Sunrise, from the brilliant family of dual Group 1 winner Malaguerra, has an attractive Smart Missile filly in Arrowfield’s draft for the 2017 Inglis Classic Sale in February.

Horses to Follow in Hong Kong

Arrowfield graduates notched up a valuable treble, including both Hong Kong Group 3 features, at Sha Tin on Thursday evening, but there’s plenty of Arrowfield-sired talent in Hong Kong too. Australian racing journalist Michael Cox, based since 2011 at the South China Morning Post where he writes a popular blog, Happy Lucky Dragon Win, selects six Arrowfield-sired runners to follow in Hong Kong this season: 

4YO THEWIZARDOFOZ (Redoute’s Choice-Princess Coup by Encosta de Lago)
Bred by Evergreen Rich Pty Ltd, raced by Martin Siu Kim Sun & trained by John Size

From the moment this horse stepped off the plane and into the stables of John Size he hasn’t put a hoof wrong. Bombproof is perhaps the best way to describe him, and his best is almost certainly yet to come. Nominal favourite for the Hong Kong Derby next March off the back of a perfect three-from-three record in his three-year-old season. Ticks all the boxes: excellent gate speed, relaxes beautifully in the run, has a lovely flowing action and an electric turn of foot – all attributes that will stand him in good stead when he is forced to step up in trip through the four-year-old series. Silent Witness reached demigod status in Hong Kong, and Thewizardofoz’s progression through the grades is as close as any horse of recent times has got to matching the great sprinter numbers-wise. Silent Witness rose 43 ratings points to 95 in his first three victories; Thewizardofoz has jumped 37 to sit on 89, all against open age competition.

4YO TIANHUANG (All American-Miss Victoria by Viscount)
Bought by George Moore Bloodstock, $290,000, from Arrowfield Stud, 2013 Inglis Easter Sale; trained by John Moore for Paul Kan Man Lok.

Tianhuang is the name of a valuable stone, used for sculptures, and found in the mountains of Fujian Province. Tianhuang, the horse, is a lovely looking type and he has been as solid as a rock so far: it took just two starts for him to break through with a convincing victory on the dirt. John Moore is adamant his sprinter isn’t a one-track wonder, though that is where he is likely to race when he next returns.

3YO GREEN CARD (All American-Cristallo by Testa Rossa)
Sold privately after two juvenile wins in Victoria for owner-breeders Bruce & Jill Mathieson & trainers Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison; trained by John Moore for
Brian Leung Hung Tak & Sophie Leung Lau Yau Fun.
Still in quarantine at Sha Tin, but John Moore is looking forward to getting hold of this three-year-old that notched two dominant four-length victories before buyers swooped. The last of those came at Caulfield, with the filly that finished third behind him, Jalan Jalan, franking Green Card’s form with a subsequent dominant win of her own and placing behind Petits Filous in the MRC Quezette S. LR. Green Card wasn’t stretched beyond 1100 metres, but former co-trainer Craig Widdison believed the gelding would handle further and that the mild-mannered sprinter has the right temperament to thrive in Hong Kong. He may still be subject to a name change – his brand number is V126, which is searchable on the HKJC website.

4YO SUN JEWELLERY (Snitzel-Tan Tat Star by Umatilla)
Bred & raced by Tung Moon Fai and trained by John Size; raced as Tan Tat Star in Victoria where he won twice as an early 3YO from the Peter Moody stable.

Last season’s John Size-trained Griffin of the Year Thewizardofoz might be hogging the headlines, but his stablemate Sun Jewellery will resume off a higher rating and will offer plenty of competition in the four-year-old category. The former Peter Moody-trained galloper won three-from-three after arriving in Class Three and has already hit triple figures. Like his barn mate, looks like he will have no trouble getting over a mile or further and is in the right hands with his ultra-patient trainer.

5YO HARBOUR PUNK (Not A Single Doubt-Marblue by Marscay)
Bred by Swell Investments; bought by Regal Farm, $50,000 from Arrowfield, 2011 Magic Millions National Weanling Sale; trained by Derek Cruz for the Fragrant Harbour Racing Syndicate.

Doesn’t have much room to move from a ratings perspective after two wins took him into Class Two last season and a handicapper’s assessment of 91 – but he absolutely flies around Happy Valley, where his opportunities now become more scarce. Lightly raced with just 12 lifetime starts, he  should return slightly stronger at five and could transfer his best form to the bigger track. He looks to have attracted the services of superstar jockey Joao Moreira, who rode him in a recent trial for trainer Derek Cruz.

3YO FORTUNE GALORE (Not A Single Doubt-Evening Pleasures by Dehere)
Bred & sold by Kooringal Stud; bought by John Foote, $30,000, 2014 Inglis Classic Sale; trained by Caspar Fownes for Lillian Lee Lai Man

Unraced three-year-old, previously named Wan Chai Warrior in tribute to Hong Kong’s colourful red light district. Purchased by renowned bloodstock agent David Price, he trialled twice impressively at Cranbourne and has been setting the track alight in the mornings for new trainer Caspar Fownes. He is sure to be competitive when he first lines up and certain to see plenty of Happy Valley, where the speed of Not A Single Doubt’s progeny is invaluable.


Third win by Thewizardofoz in Hong Kong

Thewizardofoz continues to make magic in Hong Kong and maintained his unbeaten record with a third impressive win at Sha Tin on Sunday evening.

The 3YO son of Redoute’s Choice carried his 60.5 kg topweight with ease to score by 3.5 lengths from Healthy Joyful and Excel Oneself in 1:10.04 on the dead-rated track.

His jockey Joao Moreira missed the ride on Brazen Beau at Royal Ascot to ride at Sha Tin on Sunday, but the decision was justified by his three wins for John Size, John Moore & David Hall in races worth a total of $A2.6 million, more than twice the Diamond Jubilee Stakes prizemoney.

Thewizardofoz’s success took Size’s season tally of wins to 57, behind Moore (60 wins) and just ahead of Caspar Fownes (56 wins), in a tight contest for the 2014/15 Hong Kong Trainer’s Premiership.

Size, already a 7-time champion trainer in Hong Kong, says of Thewizardofoz, “He is a good horse, and he will be one of my better horses next season. He keeps on improving and at the time being, I will stick to 1200m for him.”

Thewizardofoz was bred by Tony Bott and the Siu family at Evergreen Stud, and is raced by Martin Siu Kim-sum who paid $3 million in 2009 for his dam, the top-class racemare Princess Coup (by Encosta de Lago), winner of four New Zealand Group 1 races from 1600 to 2400 metres.  The Redoute’s Choice/Encosta de Lago cross is so far responsible for five stakeswinners (Musir, Beneteau, Burnstone, Peeping & Essington) among 24 runners.

Princess Coup, also dam of Sydney winner Vanilla Princess, has a 2YO filly by Redoute’s Choice, a yearling colt and a weanling filly by Fastnet Rock and is in foal to Snitzel.