Singapore and Hong Kong Stakes Success
Monday, October 26, 2015
With Sunday racing heading to Singapore and Hong Kong, Australian-bred runners won all four stakes races run, highlighted by the Group 1 victory in Singapore of Stepitup and Able Friend’s outstanding first-up win in Hong Kong. A winner of the first leg of the Singapore Triple Crown last time out, Stepitup produced another outstanding effort to land the Sgp-Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m), securing the second leg and keeping the Triple Crown dream alive. Stuck behind a wall of horses and in need of some luck with in the home straight, jockey Michael Rodd was able to secure a passage for the son of Hussonet who charged at the leader to defeat fellow Australian-bred runner Fastnet Dragon (Fastnet Rock) by a half-length margin.
Stepitup wins the Group 1 Raffles Cup, the second leg of the Triple Crown
“He didn’t look like he could win. He sure was in a major spot of bother, he was all jammed up, but geez, he just has this amazing mindset he just has to get the win,” said Stepitup’s champion trainer Laurie Laxon.
Purchased from the Bellerive Stud draft at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale for $80,000, Stepitup was won his connections just shy of S$2.5 million from 14 wins in Singapore, 10 of which have been at stakes level.
Stepitup will next start in the final leg of the series, the Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup (2200m) on November 15.
Earlier at the meeting, Sebring’s son Sebrose gave Australian jockey Timothy Bell his first Singapore stakes success when winning the Sgp-Group 3 El Dorado Classic (2200m).
Defeating Encosta de Lago’s Australian-bred Order Of The Sun by a length, the victory by Sebrose was his fifth in Singapore.
With Hong Kong’s International meeting not that far away, two Australian-breds likely to be in contention for major races at that meeting where in winning form on Sunday.
Reigning Hong Kong Horse of the Year and world class miler Able Fried was resuming from a break, treating some of Hong Kong’s best sprinters as second rate, coming from last with 300m to go to win the HK-Group 2 Premier Bowl (1200m) with ease.
A multiple Group 1-winning son of Shamardal, the Turangga Farm bred and Inglis Easter Yearling sale graduate announced that he was well and truly on track to record back-to-back victories in the Group 1 International Mile with his barnstorming victory.
Able Friend returns from a break in scintillating form
“He just obliterated our better horses today,” said trainer John Moore after the race.
“He was very exciting to say the least. Of course there’s better to come from some of those other sprinters in the race but from Able Friend’s point of view it is first-up for the season coming back from Europe. Winning so facile like that just shows the world that he is an out and out champion. He may not be able to travel but boy, here in Hong Kong, let the people come and take us on in the Mile.”
Able Friend’s easy victory was the second leg of an Australian-bred stakes double in Hong Kong after the earlier victory of Contentment in the HK-Group 2 Sha Tin Trophy (1600m).
Set to take on Able Friend in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile, trainer John Size has always had a lofty opinion on the son of Hussonet.
“He has always shown me that he was a very good horse, from the first day that he walked into the stable. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I thought he was a good horse before he raced. He always did everything correctly – he’s always presented like a good horse.”