Karaka Dominance Continues in Hong Kong Sprint

Beat The Clock (right) claims the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint, the fourth consecutive year for Karaka graduates. Photo: HKJC
Beat The Clock (right) claims the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint, the fourth consecutive year for Karaka graduates. Photo: HKJC

For the fourth year in a row and the fifth time in the last six years, the HK$20 million Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) has been won by a Karaka graduate.

The $200,000 Ready to Run Sale purchase Beat The Clock (Hinchinbrook) produced a superb performance to win the 2019 edition on Sunday, following in the footsteps of Aerovelocity (NZ) (Pins) and Mr Stunning (Exceed and Excel).

Aerovelocity, who cost $120,000 at the 2010 Premier Sale, won the race in 2014 and 2016, while $250,000 Premier Sale purchase Mr Stunning scored back-to-back wins in 2017 and 2018.

On Sunday it was all about Beat The Clock, who raced in midfield before champion jockey Joao Moreira angled him into the clear in the straight.

He unleashed a withering finish, getting up in the final strides to snatch a last-gasp victory in a thrilling three-way finish. The time was a quick 1:08.12.

“When the gates opened he was not where I wanted him to be, but I knew I was coming to win a furlong (200m) out,” Moreira said.

“This was really memorable for me, as some people were doubting how good he was, but he showed them today. In fact, I think there may be some more to come.

“He is such a good horse, so consistent, he tries his best always and being his rider is just unforgettable.”

Beat The Clock has now had 23 starts for nine wins, 14 placings and more than HK$46.8 million in stakes. That’s the equivalent of NZ$9.1 million, which is 45 times his purchase price.

The Hong Kong Sprint was Beat The Clock’s third Group 1 win, following on from the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) and Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m). He has also placed in another four Group 1 events.

“His will to win and fighting spirit – all the good things that good horses have, he has all those attributes,” trainer John Size said.

“He helps himself a lot with his training. He saves his energy for raceday. I think he’ll sleep for a week now. He used every ounce of energy in his body in today’s effort, and it’s humbling to see a horse do that actually.

“He’s a joy when he comes to the races, I can assure you of that. You’re going to come home with a cheque no matter what. He’s been an absolute pleasure. He was extremely brave in the run today. He didn’t look like he was going to win, but we know with him, he’s just not done until the finishing line comes up.”

Vendor Prima Park
Purchaser Mr B Mitchell
Breeding Hinchinbrook – Flion Fenena
Sale Lot 260, 2015 Ready to Run Sale, $200,000
Bred by Miss J Henderson


 Deserved Group 1 Triumph for Wyndspelle (NZ)

Wyndspelle (NZ) gets his Group 1 Glory at Trentham. Photo: Race Images
Wyndspelle (NZ) gets his Group 1 Glory at Trentham. Photo: Race Image

After six placings at the elite level, Karaka graduate Wyndspelle (NZ) (Iffraaj) broke through for a well-deserved Group 1 victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham.

Bought for $75,000 at the 2015 Select Sale, Wyndspelle earned a Group 2 victory in the Waikato Guineas (2000m) in February of 2017.

But he is best known for his Group 1 performances, having finished second or third in the Diamond Stakes (1200m), Windsor Park Plate (1600m), Thorndon Mile (1600m), Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) and Tarzino Trophy (1400m), as well as the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.

Finally, Saturday was his day. With Jason Waddell in the saddle, Wyndspelle recovered from a slow start to be well within striking distance approaching the home turn.

In a desperate battle down the straight, Wyndspelle gradually got the better of his Thorndon Mile conqueror Shadows Cast (NZ) (Per Incanto) and edged clear to win by a length and a quarter.

“He’s a horse that I’ve always been so fond of and he deserved it more than anybody else out here,” Waddell said.

“He got out a little bit stagnant, as he can do. I didn’t expect a speed like that, so I just let him get comfortable.

“I got him out at the top of the straight, and I saw Shadows Cast there, and I thought, ‘This is going to be a good little battle.’

“He’s so brave. He got there at the 200 metres, and I just had to keep his mind on the job.”

Carrying the colours of part-owner Jen Campin Bloodstock, Wyndspelle has now earned more than $657,000 in prize-money – almost nine times his purchase price.

“We’ve all had some special days on a racecourse, but this is a special horse and he deserved that,” said Johno Benner, who trains in partnership with Hollie Wynyard.

“We’ve got all of Jen’s horses in the barn now, and she is just so easy to train for. It’s a massive reward for her. People like that put a lot of money into the game, so obviously these results are very special.”

Runner-up Shadows Cast was passed in with a $10,000 reserve at the 2014 South Island Sale. He has now earned more than $514,000 in prize-money in his 41-start career.

Vendor Hallmark Stud
Purchaser Phill Cataldo Bloodstock
Breeding Iffraaj – Western Star
Sale Lot 785, 2015 Select Sale, $75,000
Bred by Mrs S D Hart


 Not An Option Stars in Wakefield

Not An Option heads to the top of the leaderboard for the $1m Karaka Million. Photo: Race Images
Not An Option heads to the top of the leaderboard for the $1m Karaka Million. Photo: Race Images

The stable of Cambridge trainer Tony Pike has heaped praise on highly talented Karaka graduate Not An Option (Chintz), and on Saturday he well and truly lived up to the hype.

A son of the Pike-trained Group 1 performer Chintz (NZ) (Savabeel), Not An Option was a $240,000 purchase from Book 1 of Karaka 2019.

He extended his unbeaten career record to two out of two with a stylish performance in Saturday’s $100,000 Group 2 Platinum Homes Taranaki Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Trentham.

Not An Option appeared to face an uphill task at the top of the straight as the leading pair, stakes winner Unition (Fastnet Rock) and last-start winner Power ‘N’ Glory (NZ) (Power) opened up a break on the rest of the field.

But Not An Option responded to the urgings of Leith Innes and changed gears, sprinting past that pair and winning by a length and a quarter.

“The leader had a good break on us, but I was always confident, just knowing the horse,” Innes said.

With two wins from two starts to date, Not An Option has earned $76,560 in stakes, with the promise of a lot more to come.

“This horse had never put a foot wrong,” said Pike’s stable representative Chris McNab. “He just ticks every box you put in front of him, and he was just too good.

“With his trial (at Cambridge on November 26), he just relaxed so beautifully, and he did the same today.

“They didn’t go that hard early, and he was running around a little bit, but he was just so good over the last 200 metres.”

Not An Option now heads the leader board for the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 25.

Vendor Curraghmore
Purchaser Pike Racing
Breeding Not A Single Doubt – Chintz
Sale Lot 640, Karaka 2019 Book 1, $240,000
Bred by Aquis Farm

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