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

Maurice to join Arrowfield's roster in 2017

Arrowfield Stud is delighted to confirm that Sunday evening’s brilliant LONGINES Hong Kong Cup 2000m G1 winner Maurice will shuttle to Arrowfield from the 2017 southern hemisphere breeding season.

The five-year-old sealed his magnificent career with a dominant, three-length victory in 2:00.95, defeating Secret Weapon and Japanese-breds Staphanos & Lovely Day.

Arrowfield’s Chairman John Messara said after the race, “Everything that Maurice will bring to Australian breeding was on display tonight, an arresting physique and formidable speed, a great competitive spirit and so much class.

“We congratulate Kazumi and Katsumi Yoshida on another major international victory for Japan and look forward to adding new successes to our long-standing relationship with the Yoshida family.”

Hong Kong racecaller Brett Davis described Maurice after the race, “An absolute champion, Maurice has taken Sha Tin by storm, three starts, three wins, he’s too big, too strong, too good, what an outstanding horse.”  Maurice’s six Group 1 wins also include the 2015 Hong Kong Mile G1 and the Hong Kong Champions Mile G1 earlier this year.

Winning rider Ryan Moore, recently crowned LONGINES World’s Best Jockey for the second time, said, “There was a good pace to the race, and going down the backstretch I thought things were going well, it was just a question of finding a way through.

“When I asked him, he picked up, and really he got to the front almost too soon. He was a special horse at a mile, and at ten furlongs he’s even better. He has improved every time I have ridden him.

“Fortunately there was good pace in the race and halfway down the back I thought it was sitting up nicely for him and it was just a matter of finding the room. As soon as he got room and I put him into gear he just let down exceptionally well.”

Maurice (Screen Hero-Mejiro Frances by Carnegie) will stand at Arrowfield alongside champion sire Redoute’s Choice, his sons Snitzel & Not A Single Doubt, and another Shadai stallion, dual Group 1 winner Real Impact, bred and raced by Katsumi Yoshida.

Maurice retires after 18 starts with a record of 11 wins, six at Group 1 level  over 1600 and 2000 metres, and more than $12 million prizemoney. He currently sits inside the top 10 on the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings with a figure of 124.

Maurice was named Japan’s 2015 Horse of the Year, Champion Sprinter & Champion Miler and is surely in line for further honours after three Group 1 successes in 2016, two at Sha Tin and last month’s Tokyo Tenno Sho.

Japanese-owned horses have now won 12 Hong Kong International Races, with their versatility more evident as home-breds have begun to dominate their representation. The winners of the last two Cups (Maurice & A Shin Hikari), this year’s Vase (Satono Crown), last year’s Mile (Maurice) and the 2012 & 2013 Sprints (Lord Kanaloa) were all bred in Japan.

Sun Jewellery shines in Hong Kong Classic Cup

Sun Jewellery’s class was all too evident at Sha Tin on Sunday evening when he prevailed in a thrilling finish to the Hong Kong Classic Cup 1800m HK-1, and set himself up for a tilt at history in the Hong Kong Derby.

He is Snitzel’s third stakeswinner this month, after 3YOs Spill The Beans (ATC Eskimo Prince S. G3) and Perignon (ATC Light Fingers S. G2) who are the latest additions to their sire’s lifetime record of 35 stakeswinners.

Sun Jewellery won last month’s Classic Mile HK-1, the first leg of the Hong Kong Four-Year-Old Series, but punters believed that Werther, runner-up in that race, would be better suited by an extra 200 metres, so let Sun Jewellery go out as second favourite. Every other runner, including Arrowfield graduate Blizzard (Starcraft-Stormy Choice), a game third in the Classic Mile, was allowed to start at double-figure odds.

Watch Sun Jewellery win the Hong Kong Classic Cup HK-1.

Sun Jewellery and Werther settled behind the pace in fourth and fifth positions, while Blizzard was forced wide from gate 10 and raced near the back of the field for about 600 metres, until Gerald Mosse sent him forward to slot into third behind Green Dispatch and Eastern Express.

Blizzard launched his challenge at the top of the straight, as Hugh Bowman peeled Werther out behind him, leaving Ryan Moore on Sun Jewellery to consider his options as the field opened up, before electing to switch to the inside. Eastern Express showed plenty of fight too and the four horses lined up for a battle worthy of the race.

However, as Werther wound up for a powerful late burst, it was clear that Sun Jewellery was going well enough to win which he did by a head from Werther, with Blizzard and Eastern Express a nose away in a dead-heat for third. 

The result took Sun Jewellery’s record to eight wins and $2.9 million from 11 starts in Australia and Hong Kong.

Ryan Moore said,  “Sun Jewellery’s a class horse and class usually tells over a distance. He’s probably just better than them, he’s just got a class edge and that allows horses to go further than you’d think they would.

“He’s got an awful lot of courage, and that as well as his attitude are the two things that stand out about him most. I did always feel that I was going to get up. Werther started moving early and I wanted to keep tabs on him – he got away from me a bit but my horse dug in very well.”

Sun Jewellery is only the second horse, after Floral Pegasus in 2007, to complete the Classic Mile/Cup double, and now gets his chance to become the first horse to win all three legs of the Four-Year-Old Series. The 2000 metres of the final leg, the Hong Kong Derby HK-1 on 20 March, takes him into unknown territory, but his trainer John Size has been there before.

Size prepared Choisir’s son Luger to win last year’s Derby, and he believes Sun Jewellery can match that performance.

He says, “Like most good horses he does a lot of things right and his temperament helps him a lot. He’s manageable in a race and he’s determined in a finish, so all those attributes you’d love to have in any horse.”

It’s also worth remembering that, although it’s hard to find stakes-winning form past 1600 metres in Sun Jewellery’s female family, Snitzel has already left Cox Plate winner Shamus Award, and Aliyana Tilde, placed in both the Australian Oaks and the Sydney Cup.

Sun Jewellery is raced by Tung Moon Fai who also bred him from Tan Tat Star (by Umatilla), a city-winning sister to the marvellous Umrum, two-time Group 1 winner and eight times Group 1-placed over eight seasons in the care of Leon Macdonald.

Tan Tat Star has been a fine producer, leaving Sun Jewellery, Group 3 winner Tan Tat De Lago, city winner Tan Tat Tess and two other winners, all her foals to race.

The Tung family has Sun Jewellery’s unraced 3YO three-quarter brother Tan Tat Nova (by Not A Single Doubt) in training with Peter Moody, who also prepared Sun Jewellery for his first four starts in Australia. The mare foaled a filly by Bel Esprit last Spring and is in foal to Manhattan Rain.