Karaka graduates Empires Choice (Redoute's Choice x Rosie's Star) and Sands of Time (Sandtrap x Cold War) shot to favouritism for the Queensland Derby after their quinella in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2020m). Bart Cummings engaged Damien Oliver to guide Empires Choice around Doomben on Saturday where he produced a commanding performance to record a long head victory over Sands of Time.
Cummings purchased Empires Choice at the 2005 Karaka Premier Sale for NZ$210,000 from his breeders, Whakanui Stud. Racing in some elite company in his short career, he has now amassed over A$500,000 in prizemoney from his two wins and six placings (five of which were at stakes level) to date. From the Star Way mare, Rosie's Star, he is the grand-son of 1988 Melbourne Cup winner Empire Rose. Star Way is the sire of the dams of Group 1 winners La Bella Dama, Kindacross, Carnegie Express, Kilmore Quay, Black Bean and Coco Cabana as well as outstanding sire Encosta de Lago.
The fast-finishing Sands of Time is trained by Paul Duncan and was purchased by John Sargent at the 2005 Karaka Select Sale from Java Lodge for NZ$37,500.
Both horses are now headed for the A$500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm in two weeks time.
New Zealand Bloodstock graduates have dominated the Derby scene of late including Fiumicino (Zabeel x Latte) in the AJC Derby; Guyno (O'Reilly x River Century) winning the WA Derby; a quinella in the VRC Derby with Efficient (Zabeel x Refused the Dance) and Gorky Park (Montjeu x Steluta) and further afield, Karaka graduates Vital King (Almutawakel x Wauwinet) and Ka Lam Fortune (My Halo x Winkum) recently laying claim to the Hong Kong Derby and the Macau Derby respectively.
Great Guy Caps Great Week For NZB Graduates in Hong Kong
Sunday night racing in Sha Tin saw the Tony Cruz-trained Great Guy (Black Minnaloushe x Gardd) take out the feature event, the Class 2 HK$1,000,000 Hitachi Trophy (1400m) by three-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of Don Felipe with fellow Karaka graduate Kindacross (Cape Cross x Kindness), also trained by Cruz, a further half-a-length back in third.
Bred by Plowman Bloodstock, Great Guy was purchased by Dominic Li for NZ$115,000 from the draft of Windsor Park Stud at the 2005 Karaka Premier Sale. Originally trained by Murray Baker at Cambridge, Cadre Noir (as he was known as in New Zealand) showed plenty of promise last season, gaining two stakes placings as a lightly-raced juvenile, including a debut second at Listed level to eventual NZ Champion two-year-old, Jokers Wild (Black Minnaloushe x Miss Rory).
Great Guy's win capped a great week for the New Zealand Bloodstock graduates in Hong Kong, who won five races on the card at Sha Tin on Thursday night. The feature winner on that occasion was the exciting youngster, Medic Power (Bertolini x Quintessence). Trained by Paul O'Sullivan, he took out the HK$2,300,000 HSBC Premier Sha Tin Vase (1200m) HK-3, recording his sixth win in a row.
The highly acclaimed gelding will now go out for a spell and will resume for a preparation aimed at the Hong Kong International Sprint in December.
Bred by Dame Sian Elias, Hugh Fletcher and Alan Galbraith, Medic Power was originally purchased by Kirkwall Thoroughbreds at the 2004 National Weanling and Broodmare Sale from Rich Hill Stud for NZ$15,00. He was then purchased by Lance O'Sullivan at the 2005 Select Yearling Sale for NZ$45,000. He has now won over HK$3,488,400 in prize money.
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