Aussies Stunning Sunday

Mr Stunning wins the Group One Hong Kong Sprint.

Australian-bred Mr Stunning fights off stablemate DB Pin to win the prestigious Gr.1 Hong Kong Sprint (HKJC)


“Stunning by name, Stunning by nature”. Although Australian bred, Mr Stunning, has been ‘on notice’ since winning three of his first four outings in Hong Kong last year and was subsequently accorded Champion Griffin status, the John Size trained flyer has galloped into the history books with an impressive victory in Sunday’s HK$18.5 million (approx. A$3.2 million) Group One Longines Hong Kong Sprint over 1200m at Sha Tin.

It was Mr Stunning’s third win on the trot after capturing the Group Two Hong Kong Bowl (despatching another Aussie expat in Lucky Bubbles) on 22 October and the Group Two BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint on 19 November.

The son of Darley based Champion Sire, Exceed And Excel, Mr Stunning has now won 10 of his 16 outings, with a further three placings, and HK$27,023,600 (approx. A$4.6 million) in stakes.

The Hong Kong Sprint sees Mr Stunning join the likes of Sacred Kingdom and Silent Witness (dual winners), Absolute Champion, Falvelon and Fairy King Prawn as Australian-bred winners of Hong Kong’s premier speed test, with Aussies having won 12 of the 19 runnings.

Although stablemate, DB Pin, made it a real contest, Mr Stunning’s jockey, Nash Rawiller, said he was confident throughout as he “was on the best horse in the race”, while others made the observation that the 5YO is the “best horse in Hong Kong from a ratings perspective”.

Mr Stunning was bred by Tony Santic’s Makybe Racing and Breeding in Victoria and sold as a weanling for $110,000 at the 2013 Inglis Great Southern. Mr Stunning is the fifth winner from Dayjur mare, With Fervour, a daughter of 3-time North American Group One winner, Fran’s Valentine, and half sister to the 5-time Group One winner, With Anticipation.

Although With Fervour was sold for just $6,000 at the 2013 Inglis Easter Broodmare Sale, she unfortunately passed away the following year, leaving just one more foal – an unraced 3YO filly by Mossman.

Hong Kong’s huge international meet also marked a fitting farewell for the much loved, Highland Reel, winner of the Group One Longines Hong Kong Vase over 2000m.

It was true grit at its best … it appeared the globetrotting Highland Reel would be overhauled after leading them into the straight, but the 7-time Group One winner held on gamely in what is to be his last race.

Winner of the Vase in 2015, Highland Reel has won Group Ones in England, the USA and Hong Kong, but has also campaigned in France, Ireland and Dubai throughout his illustrious career.

A son of the all-conquering Galileo, Highland Reel is out of the Australian-bred Danehill mare, Hveger, a Group Two placed daughter of Group One winner, Circles of Gold: in turn the dam of nine winners including Hveger’s full brother, Elvstroem and another Champion Colt in Haradasun.

Aside from Highland Reel, Hveger has also produced a multiple Group Two winning full brother in Idaho, and the Encosta de Lago filly, Valdemoro, second in both the Group One VRC Oaks and Group One STC Vinery Stud Stakes.

Group success also went our way in Malaysia on Sunday with Australian-breds, Mr Paulandre and Sea Word, going 1-2 in the Group Three Sports Supreme Challenge over 1400m at Selangor.

Bred by West Australia’s Geisel Park, Mr Paulandre (by Strategic) is a full brother to Victorian stakes winner, La Famelia, and has now had six outings, while Spinning World sprinter, Sea World, was bred in Queensland by Twin Peaks.

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