Australian-Breds Group One Double In Hong Kong


Australian-breds made a clean sweep of Hong Kong’s majors in a star studded program at Sha Tin on Sunday with Contentment capturing the Group One Champions Mile, while Lucky Bubbles took flight in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

Indeed, the Chairman’s saw the first four placings filled by Australian-breds, with Lucky Bubbles leading home Mr Stunning, Not Listenin’tome and Thewizardofoz.

Contentment got the ball rolling in the mile, snaring his second Group One after the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup last year and takes his earnings to over HK$34 million (approx. A$5.9 million) from his 10 wins and six placings in 29 starts.

Not a bad return on a horse that cost just $65,000 at the 2012 Inglis Sydney Classic Yearling Sale.

Bloodstock agent, John Foote, whose purchases for Hong Kong clients include the legendary Silent Witness, Luger and Entrapment, explains that Contentment was a real eye catcher and a nice horse overall.

Buying on behalf of Price Bloodstock, Foote points out: “I really like the Hussonets but he (Contentment) had a bit more scope than most. He moved well and he’s just the type of horse you go to the Classic sale to look for. Athletes with good pedigrees, not too expensive. Although they’re starting to get a bit more expensive now!”

Contentment’s victory really was an Australian affair with trainer, John Size, and jockey Brett Prebble both Aussie expats.

Foote adds that Size could have another rising star in his stable with Nothingilikemore, also purchased from the Inglis Classic.

“He (Nothingilikemore) is by Hussonet’s sire son, Husson, and was purchased for $40,000 in 2015 and he’s now won each of his four starts in Hong Kong, since the start of 2017.”

Definitely one to watch!

Contentment, meanwhile, is the second Australian-bred in the last three years to win the Champions Mile, but Lucky Bubbles was the 19th Aussie winner in 32 runnings of the Chairman’s Sprint.

Fighting off a fast finishing Mr Stunning – who was recently elevated to top 10 status in the Longines World Rankings – Lucky Bubbles was a popular winner for trainer Francis Lui and the aptly named Lucky Syndicate.

Bred by Rick Jamieson’s Gilgai Farm – famous as the birthplace of Black Caviar and 2017 Group One winner Jameka – Lucky Bubbles was sold by Three Bridges Stud at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale for $90,000.

Lucky Bubbles would have two starts in Australia – including a maiden win at Wyong in August 2014 – before heading to Hong Kong where he has now compiled seven wins and seven placings from 17 outings for HK$27 million (approx. A$4.7 million) in stakes.

Few would deny Lucky Bubbles his moment in the sun as the Sebring galloper all but won the Chairman’s Sprint last year, only to be overhauled right on the line by Chautauqua.

There was no Chautauqua this time around, but certainly plenty of Aussies to keep him honest.

Toby Liston, from Three Bridges, remembers Lucky Bubbles well as a yearling: “He (Lucky Bubbles) wasn’t a big horse by any stretch but he sure had a lot of character. He was eventually bought by Ricky Yiu who said he really liked the (then) colt’s attitude.

“He only made $90,000, which was cheap for such a well related son of Sebring, but I’m sure there are quite a few people now who are regretting they didn’t keep bidding.”

Got that right Toby.

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