Australian Import Set For Macau Derby
Former champion Macau trainer Kim Cheong is hopeful that Australian import Obrigado Mais can give him his third SJM Macau Derby win.
Obrigado Mais shrugged off an interrupted preparation and an injury cloud when he continued on his winning way in the Class 1 Handicap over 1510 metres at Taipa last Friday night.
The grey son of Husson (Arg) really dug in late to grab Best Of Luck (Andrew Calder) right on the line to win by a neck, with Pak Lok Angel (Horace Lam) a neck away in third.
Obrigado Mais has now win four of his five starts in Macau, his only defeat a luckless third to Derby favorite Hostwin Galaxy over 1500 metres on the turf.
The gelding then came out and turned in a huge performance to win under Andrew Calder on the International Mixed Doubles day, injuring himself in the process. Obrigado Mais over reached as he jumped away from the gates and tore the frog of his hoof very badly.
After settling at the tail of the field the four year old by virtue of a perfect rails hugging ride from Calder was still able to power home to snatch victory late.
In Friday night’s race Obrigado Mais was awkwardly drawn in the outside gate of barrier nine, however he ended up with a lovely run at the back with cover under regular rider Wayne Smith. Obrigado Mais chimed in late wide out to make a line of five at the two hundred and really lifted late to score.
“That was a big effort tonight given the prep he has had.” Wayne Smith said after the win.
“He virtually tore the whole of the frog off his hoof when he last raced and had missed plenty of work.”
Obrigado Mais will now be aimed at the 4YO Prelude and the Group 1 Macau Guineas on his way to the Derby.
The Macau Guineas is the first leg of the Triple Crown, with the Derby the second leg in May, followed the Macau Gold Cup in July.
Wayne Smith has no concerns at all about Obrigado Mais getting the 1800 metres of the Derby distance and describes him as the complete racehorse.
“I think the further he goes the better he will like it.”
“He is such a versatile horse too. He can race forward in a race or like tonight I went back from the outside gate to give him a chance.”
Obrigado Mais will once again clash with Derby favorite Hostwin Galaxy from the James Moore yard in both the lead up races to the Derby.
A two time Champion trainer in Macau, Kim Cheong won his first Derby back in 1999 with Zafet ridden by the Frenchman Claude Piccioni. Take Champs under Australian rider Danny Brereton gave him his second victory in the classic in 2001.
The name Obrigado Mais is Portuguese for thanks more, and owner Mr. Tam Vai Lam will be hoping to be saying just that come Derby day, as he also owned Kim Cheong’s 2001 Derby winner Take Champs.
Rock N Rolla Justifies Moore’s Judgment
Not many trainer’s would be too keen on importing a rising seven year old to race in Macau; however the gamble has paid off for James Moore with his seven year old Rock N Rolla, who won at his second start in the enclave on Saturday.
Rock N Rolla showed plenty of determination under Wayne Smith to lunge late and snatch victory from the favorite Feast For Eyes (Luis Corrales) in the Class 2 & 3 over 1500 metres. Turquoise Power stormed home late under Tom Queally for a close third.
Moore would have had plenty of doubters with his older purchase but Saturday’s win justified his decision, and there appears plenty more to come for Rock N Rolla according to jockey Wayne Smith.
“I had to work on him a bit but he is a good tough horse and for me only about eighty percent fit.”
“He had excellent Group 3 form in Ireland and was at one stage sold to Hong Kong before the sale fell through I believe.”
James Moore stated value for money as his reason for the purchase of the seven year old entire, who he bought on the advice of his assistant trainer Jim McCabe.
“With the prize money being so good in Australia nowadays it’s hard to get value for money.” Moore said.
“I’ve been looking a lot at the UK and Ireland and this horse had good form around Gordon Lord Byron, Baccarat and Dawn Approach.”
“Most people following their typical buyer guidelines would not have touched him at that age but I knew there was plenty in the tank.”
“With the European horses they are given a lot more time to mature, and provided they are lightly raced and have no ailments they can race on for a long while.”
Rock N Rolla put paid to a decent Class 2 & 3 lot on Saturday that included two former New Zealand Group 1 placed horses in Huka Eagle and Allez Eagle.
Tony Fung’s rising sand star King Of Realestate made it three wins from his last four runs on the all weather surface, with a dominant performance in the Class 3 Handicap over 1350 metres on Friday night.
Ridden by Peter Ho the son of Musket Man (USA) was out sped early and found himself in an awkward spot on the circle approaching the home turn. Ho found a nice run through on the rails and once in the straight popped into space to charge away for a big win.
The five year old appears as though he is crying out for a longer trip judging by Friday nights win.
Tony Fung has three all weather stars in Evergreen Star, Winbeauty Infiniti and King Of Realestate. All three are raced by the same owner Mr. Eddie Ng Kwok King.
Earlier in the night the connections had success with Forever Buddies who romped home in the 30 to 55 rated event over 1050 metres.
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