Hong Kong International Sale: European Hot Lots
The Hong Kong International Sale on the evening of Friday, 17 March will offer Hong Kong racehorse owners the chance to purchase unraced stock, selected from the world’s elite thoroughbred sales and prepared for the Hong Kong circuit at pre-training facilities in England and New Zealand.
A total of 31 youngsters will circle the ring this time, to the familiar accompaniment of the auctioneer’s enticing timbre. But despite the familiarity of those sale-room phonics, the Hong Kong International Sale is not your archetypal thoroughbred auction: the transactions take place within Sha Tin racecourse’s famous Parade Ring, floodlit beneath its enormous retractable roof; prospective owners must be Hong Kong Jockey Club members with permission to own a horse; and those doing the bidding are unlikely to be sporting rustic jackets and sensible boots, not with a pre-sale cocktail party on the evening’s itinerary.
This year’s sale features 13 horses purchased out of European auctions – Tattersalls October, Goffs Orby, Baden Baden Yearling, Arqana Deauville Yearling, and Doncaster Premier Yearling – with the remainder bought from sales in Australia and New Zealand. Mark Richards, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Manager, International Sale, sourced and purchased each of those lots before sending them to former trainer Malcolm Bastard. The latter, an experienced conditioner, has since prepared the European youngsters at his rural base near Marlborough in Wiltshire, England.
“They’re a very nice, even bunch of horses. I think we have plenty of nice racehorses among this group, even though we don’t have a horse with a page that really stands out above the rest. We’ve gone for a type that we believe is right for Hong Kong, as we always do; we look for nice racing models and I believe that’s what we’ve got. I expect a good sale and I’m hopeful that each horse will make what it deserves to make,” Richards said.
Dark Angel’s boys
Among this year’s batch of Euros – all three-year-olds – are two geldings by Dark Angel, sire of a European champion sprinter in Lethal Force and the Group 1-winning speed queen, Mecca’s Angel. This unraced pair takes the eye, and not just because each has the same grey hue as their sire.
Lot 27 is out of a Sakhee half-sister to the Listed Galtres Stakes winner and G2 Park Hill Stakes runner-up Set To Music. The family is unmistakably Aga Khan Studs, this youngster’s fifth dam being the great Petite Etoile, from a gene pool that has also produced the likes of G3 mile winner Emily Bronte and the sharper black type earners Lockwood and Zelanda.
Lot 15 is a May foal but the son of Listed-placed sprinter/miler Marseille Express has already developed into a strong type. His Cozzene half-sister Paris Return has three wins to her name in the US, including a Listed score; a half-brother, Tycoon Doby, was G3-placed and a five-time winner from 1500m to 1700m, also in the US.
Lot 24 is a seemingly ready-made Hong Kong horse. The bay is by Holy Roman Emperor, the sire that has made his mark in these parts thanks to the G1-winning exploits of former Horse of the Year Designs On Rome, and this season’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile winner Beauty Only.
The gelding is a racy type out of the unraced Linamix mare Lapland, a half-sister to four winners, notably the Listed scorer Law Of Chance, and the four-time winner Lockup, whose son Loi won the G3 Prix de Conde at Longchamp. And the family has also produced the Listed Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy hero Lucky Like, who, renamed Touch Go, won four times over 1000m at Happy Valley.
A hint of Shamardal
Shamardal needs no introduction to those familiar with Hong Kong racing given the success of former Horse of the Year Able Friend and this year’s BMW Hong Kong Derby contender Pakistan Star. The latter is a graduate of last year’s HKIS, costing owner Kerm Din HK$6 million.
But Shamardal’s successes around the world make his progeny difficult to acquire these days, so step forward Casamento, a G1-winning son of the champion. The Racing Post Trophy winner is the sire of Lot 18, a chestnut colt that Richards says was attractive, in part, because “he has a lot of Shamardal about him”.
The athletic chestnut’s dam, Three Times, is by the speedy Bahamian Bounty and is a half-sister to Listed winner and G3-placed mare Trinity Joy, the dam of two-time Listed winner and G2-placed Vaniloquio. It is also the family of G2 Sun Chariot Stakes winner Talented and her G1-placed son Carlton House.
Plenty more highlights
Lot 6, a son of Kyllachy, has plenty going for him, too. The powerful bay is from a high-class Cheveley Park Stud family, being out of the Nayef mare Capacious, a sibling to G2 winners Dimension and Spacious – the latter also placed second at G1 level on three occasions. Kyllachy has sired 15 winners of 39 races in Hong Kong, notably the dual Chairman’s Sprint Prize hero Dim Sum.
Lot 13 is a smart-looking Exceed And Excel gelding with a strong Hong Kong connection. A previous mating between his sire and dam, Saabiq, a 1200m winner and Listed placed, produced Supreme Falcon, a four-time winner in Hong Kong. His sire’s progeny to date have notched 115 wins in Hong Kong, the best being G1-winning speedster Amber Sky.
Lot 2 is a German-bred Soldier Hollow gelding whose winning dam is a daughter of G2 German Oaks winner Centaine. He, like the former Champion Griffin Bullish Smart, was bought at Baden-Baden.
Lot 4 is a bay gelding by Acclamation from a family that has produced G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Indian Haven as well as high-class winners Imperial Stride and High Pitched.
Lot 8 also has classic connections, the Fastnet Rock gelding being out of a half-sister to Irish Derby and Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Desert King, whose sire, Danehill, also sired Fastnet Rock.
Lot 11 is by the exciting young stallion Zoffany from the family of star sprinter Sheikh Albadou.
Lot 20 is an Oasis Dream gelding out of a Group 3-placed half-sister to French champion filly Sarafina and the high-class duo Sandagiyr and Sanaya.
Lot 22 is bred for speed being by Kodiac, the sire of champion juvenile filly Tiggy Wiggy. His dam has already produced six winners, notably the Listed-placed 10-time winner Singeur.
Lot 30 is by British champion miler Paco Boy, the sire of G1 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes winner Galileo Gold. His dam, Tora Bora, scored a Listed win.