A trio of New Zealand Bloodstock sale graduates dominated the finish of Sunday’s Gr.2 The Sprint Cup (1200m) at Sha Tin.
Savabeel gelding Rattan (NZ) produced a powerful late dash to spring a minor upset when he downed Beat The Clock (Hinchinbrook) and Mr Stunning (Exceed And Excel) in a thrilling three-way finish.
“If we were going to beat those two top horses, it was going to be today with the allowance,” trainer Richard Gibson said of the 16/1 success.
“The race planned out beautifully, the top two went against each other, maybe a touch early and our stamina kicked in the finish.”
Mr Stunning and Beat The Clock went toe-to-toe for the better part of the final 400m, playing into the hands of Rattan who used his best asset to finish over the top of them.
“The horse is always in great condition, he trialled like a very good horse against Beauty Generation, so we knew we had the horse in the right shape for a race like today,” Gibson said.
The five-year-old, whose previous wins had been at 1400m and a mile, trialled in blinkers and Gibson felt the addition of that gear was required on race day if the horse was to be competitive over 1200m.
“We all thought going shorter with blinkers would be a good option for the horse,” he said.
“I thought with the five-pound difference, I thought we just might have the edge on them.”
Rider Chad Schofield also felt the race was run to suit, with Hong Kong’s two top-rated sprinters getting into a tough fight a long way out.
“Both Zac (Purton, Mr Stunning) and I jumped really quickly and Zac obviously wanted to lead with no pressure so I just wanted to hunt up and make him do a bit of work, inject a bit of speed, but I eventually took a sit and got cover,” he said.
“I wanted to go nice and early because my horse was dropping back in trip and he’d tough it for longer than the other two could. He only got there late but it was a good win: very satisfying!”
Schofield has won five races on Rattan and has been aboard the gelding in all but eight of his 21 starts.
Rattan will now target the Gr.1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) on FWD Champions Day in three weeks’ time (28 April).
Bred and raised at Mapperley Park Stud, Rattan is a graduate from their draft at the 2015 National Yearling Sale where he was knocked down to the bid of local bloodstock agent Bruce Perry for $150,000 before finding his way to Hong Kong.
Mr Stunning was a $250,000 purchase for Magus Equine from the Lyndhurst Farm draft during the Premier session at Karaka 2014 while Beat The Clock was knocked down to Victoria’s B Mitchell for $200,000 out of the Prima Park Ready To Run draft in 2015.
The victory completed a remarkable weekend for Mapperley Park Stud who also had Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) winner Brutal (NZ) (O’Reilly) sell for $220,000 from their 2017 Karaka Premier session draft.