The reigning champion sprinter in Hong Kong, Kia Ora Stud bred and sold All Too Hard gelding Wellington made his first appearance for the new season at Sha Tin on Sunday winning the Group II Premier Bowl (1200m).
Resuming with 135lb under Alexis Badel, Wellington laid waste to 11-lighter weighted rivals in a searing 1m 07.78s – a time which compares favourably to Sacred Kingdom’s course record of 1m 07.50s, set in 2007 – in a display which rightly drew superlatives from Badel and trainer Richard Gibson.
He tracked the favourite Lucky Sweynesse (124lb) before surging past to win by a length with 2021 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint victor Sky Field (131lb) powering home for third in a race-best final 800m of 43.71s.
Wellington has the overall record of 11 wins from 17 starts and his rider Alex Badel believes there are more wins in store.
“Perfect – The question mark with older horses is always to feel good, to be healthy. That’s the main key,” Badel said.
“He’s got the quality and that’s proven. He’s outstanding. The way he began from the gates today was amazing. He’s so professional, so mature in his racing manners, so he’s a dream of a horse to ride.
“He’s now more mature. He’s got the ability that he’s always had but he’s more tractable now, he’s versatile – he does whatever you want. He’s just outstanding and he’s got that turn of foot that makes such a difference.”
For Richard Gibson, Wellington’s dominant display was a bonus – and vindication of unwavering belief in the All Too Hard gelding.
“Obviously, we were the best horse in the race but could he carry the weight? To be really honest, I didn’t know but it had to be a good one to beat him today,” he said.
“Our big objective is December. We wanted to run today. It’s an added bonus that we won and we’re looking forward to the rest (of the season).
“He’s showed his class here now for two seasons and despite the big weight today, it’s a good sign for the rest of the season. I think the moment, I saw him jump I thought he was going to be hard to beat to be completely honest. He came out of the gates hungry and from that moment on, it was always a comfortable watch. I thought he was going to make it.
“I think the only thing that surprised me is the price (8/1). You’ve got the best horse in Hong Kong for two years over this trip and despite the weight, that price is extraordinary.”
Gibson plans to next start Wellington in the G2 BOCHK Private Banking Jockey Club Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on 20 November.
Wellington was a $70,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Kia Ora Stud draft for Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm and was bred by Kia Ora and partners David Paradise and Steve McCann.
He is the first winner from Group II placed More Than Ready (USA) mare Mihiri, who comes from a European female family featuring Group I winners Cerulean Sky and Moonstone, plus a raft of stakes-winning stayers such as Honoulu and Master of Reality.
Mihiri has a yearling full sister to Wellington.
Wellington is one of four G1 winners for Vinery Stud’s All Too Hard, who stands this spring at a fee of $38,500.
Story courtesy of Breednet