2017 Hong Kong Derby – The Year Of The Dragon?

Australian-bred, Rapper Dragon, appears to be right on target for next year’s Hong Kong Derby following an emphatic victory in Sunday’s Group Three Lion Rock Trophy at Sha Tin.

It’s been quite the journey for the John Moore trained 3YO who has now won four from seven in Hong Kong after a brief career in Australia that saw the Street Boss gelding finish a close second to Pasadena Girl in the 2015 Group One ATC Champagne Stakes at Randwick.

Previously racing as Street Rapper, the flashy chestnut joins a long list of Group winners produced by Gooree Park Stud who, in April, went one better in the Champagne with the James Cummings trained, Prized Icon.

But whereas a large number of Gooree’s Group performed home-breds are the work of founder, Eduardo Cojuangco, Rapper Dragon belongs to Eduardo’s little brother, Henry.

“Sadly, Henry passed away suddenly last year,” Gooree’s Monica Cummings revealed. “It wasn’t long after Rapper Dragon had finished second in the Champagne and only two weeks after he had sold the horse to Hong Kong interests.

“Rapper Dragon was showing a lot of promise, but he is a gelding after all and the money was just too good to pass up.

“Henry was similar to his older brother in regards to his ideas about breeding and racing and Rapper Dragon, as a gelding, would have been sold eventually. So, it’s lovely to see the horse doing so well over there. We love dealing with Hong Kong and it will be great if he continues on to the Derby.

“Henry had remarkable success with what was only a small band of racehorses and broodmares – 10 at the most at any given time. And from those broodmares we’ve guesstimated he had something like 85% black type performers to runners … amazing.

“When the estate was being sold we were very pleased at the prices the mares were fetching: over $300,000 for city performers. It’s testimony to just how good those families are.”

That is certainly the case with both Rapper Dragon’s dam, Swing Dance, and granddam, Newcaster, who were keenly sought at last year’s Gold Coast Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. Swing Dance was knocked down to Michael Wallace Bloodstock for $360,000, while the then rising 15 year old, Newscaster, made some news of her own when purchased by China Horse Club for $525,000.

Newgate Farm has benefited from both sales with Swing Dance currently in foal to Deep Field, while Newscaster is ready to produce a Dissident foal this spring.

“That was great news about Rapper Dragon,” Newgate’s Bruce Field enthused. “Swing Dance produced an absolutely ripping Congrats colt last year and she’s back in foal to Deep Field, although there are no plans at this stage as to whom she’s heading to this time around.

“It’s certainly a great family …”

It is indeed: Swing Dance has produced three winners from as many runners including the juvenile stakes placed, Swing Vote, while Newcaster’s only three runners all earned black type – Group One winner, Amanpour, Flemington stakes winner, Turf Express, and Northern Meteor stakes winner, Sports Edition.

Interestingly, much of the recent black type success in the family relates to Henry Cojuangco’s two mares – Swing Dance and Newscaster – although it’s interesting to note that  Rapper Dragon’s fifth dam, Born a Lady, is a half sister to breeding immortal, Northern Dancer.

And what are the chances of Rapper Dragon giving Henry Cojuangco a posthumous Group One?

Brazilian superstar jockey, Joao Moreira, was quick to praise the Rapper Dragon following the Lion Rock Trophy, saying: “He’s a horse I have a lot of faith in – I think he’s going to be a Group One winner. I say that to the trainer and I’m not scared of saying that to the press. He gives me that feeling.”

Now, that’s a Rap!

The Power of Passion