Tuesday, 17 July 2012
: For the second year running Karaka graduates have been the toast of Hong Kong Jockey Club's Champion Awards with eight of the eleven awards claimed by horses offered in the Karaka sales ring.
| Ambitious Dragon|
Photo by HKJC
The Awards have capped off a strong season for New Zealand Bloodstock with Karaka graduates claiming 13 stakes wins in Hong Kong in the 2011/12 season, making Karaka the most successful auction house for stakes wins in Hong Kong for the second year running.
Heading the esteemed list was the Karaka graduate Ambitious Dragon
(Pins x Golden Gamble) who successfully defended his Hong Kong Horse of the Year crown.
After as fierce a competition as has ever been seen for the Hong Kong racehorse premierships, the five-year-old son of Pins also claimed, for the second successive year, the title of Champion Middle-Distance Horse and added the prestigious Champion Miler title.
Trained by Tony Millard, Ambitious Dragon has been a headline performer in Hong Kong winning the first two legs of Hong Kong's Triple Crown, the HK-1 Stewards' Cup (1600m) and the HK-1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m), before running a brave second in the HK-1 Champions and Chater Cup (2400m).
Ambitious Dragon's performances have seen him ranked 19th on the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities' World Thoroughbred Rankings, making him the highest rated horse in Hong Kong.
Bred by Mr Pat Lowry, Ambitious Dragon was offered by Belvedere Farm at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2008 Karaka Select Sale. His 10 wins from 20 starts have earned him over $6 million for his owners Johnson Lam Pui Hung & Anderson Lam Hin Yue.
The Danny Shum trained Little Bridge
(Faltaat x Golden Rose) picked up two awards, the Champion Sprinter and Most Popular Horse of the Year in a landslide victory of 65,276 votes.
Little Bridge has developed into a world class horse in Hong Kong this season with three wins at stakes level before his historic win at Royal Ascot, beating some of the world's best sprinters in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes.
Bred by Des Hawkins' Llanhennock Trust, Little Bridge was purchased by Margaret Harkema from Wentwood Grange at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2007 National Weanling Sale. An astute purchase at just $9,000, he has won over $2 million for his owner Ko Kam Piu.
Hong Kong's Champion Stayer award went to the Caradale Pty bred David Ferraris-trained, Liberator
(Encosta de Lago x Miss Helga) whose breakthrough victory came in the HK-1 Champions and Chater Cup (2400m), the final leg of Hong Kong's Triple Crown beating Ambitious Dragon.
Liberator's Cup victory secured all three legs of Kong Kong's coveted Triple Crown for New Zealand Bloodstock graduates, a top achievement for Karaka.
Liberator is raced by David Ferraris Trainer Syndicate and was purchased by New Zealand Bloodstock's International Bloodstock Manager John Cameron. Consigned in Curraghmore Stud's draft, John purchased the horse on behalf of the Hong Kong Jockey Club for $360,000 at the 2009 Karaka Premier Sale.
John had a high opinion of Liberator from a young age commenting he was "an outstanding individual". The son of Encosta de Lago was offered at the 2010 Hong Kong International Sale where he was purchased by Siu Kim Sun Martin for HK$5 million.
The ageless Able One
(Cape Cross x Gardenia) was also recognised at the Champion Awards with a Life Time Achievement Award in recognition of his great contribution to Hong Kong as well as international racing.
At nine-years of age, Able One is trained by John Moore and took his Group 1 winning tally to three this year, adding the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile to his two Group 1 Hong Kong Champion's Mile victories.
His remarkable constitution has seen him race in Hong Kong for seven seasons for his owners Dr & Mrs Cornel Li Fook Kwan claiming 11 victories from his 45 starts for $6.1 million in stakes.
A star on the track, Able One was also a star in the ring. As a yearling he topped the 2004 Karaka Select Sale when purchased by Sanders Racing Stables from Phoenix Park for $190,000. He then topped New Zealand Bloodstock's 2004 Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs when purchased by Beamish Bloodstock from Phoenix Park for $270,000.
The title of Most Improved Horse went to the John Size-trained four-year-old Glorious Days
(Hussonet x San Century) who achieved the greatest rating increase of 57 points this season.
A horse that is rapidly racing his way through the grades, Glorious Days claimed four wins and three seconds in his seven starts in his first racing season in Hong Kong.
Bred by Richard Pietrykowski, Glorious Days is raced by Tom Brown's Syndicate and was offered by Lyndhurst Farm at New Zealand Bloodstock's 2009 Karaka Premier Sale and 2009 Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs.
Horse of the Year
Most Popular Horse
Lifetime Achievement Award
Most Improved Horse