Arrowfield graduate treble at Sha Tin & Kranji

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. 

Watch Stepitup win the Raffles Cup Sgp-1.

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. 

Watch Contentment’s Sha Tin Trophy HK-2 win.

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. 

Watch Blizzard & Thewizardofoz quinella the Zenith Excellent H.

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.

Hong Kong Group double for Arrowfield & Inglis

Not Listenin’tome and Contentment have more in common than being highly impressive Australian-bred Group winners at Sha Tin on Thursday evening. 

Both are also Arrowfield graduates of Inglis yearling sales.

The Hong Kong International Sprint G1 is the obvious target for Not Listenin’tome after proving way too strong for his rivals in the National Day Cup HK-3.

The 5YO gelding jumped smartly and initially settled in a group behind the early leader Amber Sky, but when jockey Neil Callan pushed the button 400 metres out, the race was all over as Not Listenin’tome instantly sprinted clear to win by two lengths from Super Jockey in 55.90.

Watch Not Listenin’tome’s National Day Cup HK-3 win.

It was the second Hong Kong stakes win for Not Listenin’tome, also successful in last season’s Sha Tin Vase HK-3 after an excellent 3YO year for the Hawkes stable in Australia where he won the MRC Zeditave S. G3 and was twice Group 1-placed, behind Zoustar and Appearance.  With five wins & 5 placings from 15 starts, his earnings now exceed $A1 million.

John Moore, who prepares Not Listenin’tome for Matthew Wong Leung Pak, could not have been happier with the gelding’s performance.

“I’m absolutely gobsmacked – he’s finally done what I wanted him to do. This should take him on his way to become Hong Kong’s top sprinter.”

Not Listenin’tome (Dylan Thomas-Flame Of Sydney by Encosta de Lago) was bred by Michael Pitt & Mark Read and bought by George Moore for $270,000 from the Arrowfield consignment at the 2012 Inglis Easter Sale. Flame Of Sydney, herself a Flemington stakeswinner, has an unraced filly named She’s Got Power and a 2YO filly, both by Redoute’s Choice, a yearling colt by Snitzel and is foaling again to Snitzel this Spring.

Just over an hour later it was the turn of Contentment, Hong Kong’s Most Improved Horse last season and a $65,000 John Foote purchase from Arrowfield Stud at the 2012 Inglis Classic Sale.

He lined up in the Celebration Cup 1400m HK-3 where he settled comfortably in fourth spot for Joao Moreira while Beauty Flame and Divine Calling rolled along in front. Set alight round the turn, Contentment picked up strongly to hit the lead 200 metres out and win by a half-length from Giant Treasure in 1:21.17.

Watch Contentment’s Celebration Cup HK-3 win.

Moreira said, “He is a much more mature horse than he was last season and he showed us what we were expecting.

“I don’t think he is at his best at the moment and he still won, so we are very excited about what he will bring to his next races. Wherever he goes he will be competitive – he has heart.”

It’s the chestnut gelding’s first stakes victory among seven wins in Hong Kong, and takes his career prizemoney for owner Benson Lo Tak Wing to more than $A1.3 million.

Bred by Paul Favretto, Tony & Judy Hodgson, Paul Rowe and David & Peter Sinn, Contentment is a new stakeswinner for champion sire Hussonet, from the Commands mare Jemison, a relative of champion 2YO colt Align. Jemison is also the dam of 3YO and yearling colts by Charge Forward, a 2YO filly by Gio Ponti and a recently foaled filly by Animal Kingdom.

Completing a tremendous night at Sha Tin for Inglis & Arrowfield was Blizzard (Starcraft-Stormy Choice by Redoute’s Choice) who sustained a big run to catch Go Baby Go close to the finish of the Class 2 Beijing Handicap over 1200 metres. 

Watch Blizzard’s win at Sha Tin.

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.  Five wins from 9 starts have now returned almost $A680,000 to Blizzard’s owner, the Infinitude Syndicate.

Thewizardofoz & Contentment win Hong Kong awards

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.

Watch Thewizardofoz’s third Hong Kong win on 21 June here.

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.

Watch Contentment’s Sha Tin Mile Trophy win here.

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.