Last updated: 12/14/14 7:26 PM
|Aerovelocity gunned out of the gate and held sophomore Peniaphobia late
(Hong Kong Jockey Club)
Daniel Yeung Ngai’s Aerovelocity, a badly hampered last of 14 in the November
23 Jockey Club Sprint, averted any such trouble in Sunday’s Group 1 Hong Kong
Sprint by breaking like a shot to the early lead.
Pressed by Australia’s Buffering in the initial stages, the second choice
shook free in the stretch, then found extra to stave off favored Peniaphobia by
a neck. Japan’s Straight Girl was another length back in third.
Aerovelocity sped about six furlongs on the good to firm turf in 1:08 2/5 to
earn his first Group 1 title. A progressive handicapper for Paul O’Sullivan over
the course of the 2013-14 season, the six-year-old son of Pins previously
captured the Sha Tin Vase and Premier Bowl.
Winning rider Zac Purton described how Aerovelocity carved out his own trip.
“It wasn’t the plan to go and lead, but when you jump that well and the
opportunity is there, you have to take it,” Purton said. “I have led on him
previously and he can be ridden like that, so I wasn’t worried about it. It took
him about a year to settle in here, and as you can see he can be a bit of a head
case. Once he started to enjoy it, his racing began to improve.
“At the furlong marker he wanted to hang in and get up on the fence, which is
a trait of his, but he wanted to do it more so today than he had done
previously, so I was a bit worried that he was going to take the fence on,
rather than go forward. I managed to keep him off it enough and keep him going
forward. It was a tough effort.”
“He got a nice run,” O’Sullivan noted. “He got left alone in front — it was
a good ride on a good horse. It has been a long time since the last big one, so
hopefully we won’t have to wait so long for the next one. You get one good horse
and it can turn it all around.”
|Zac Purton called a tactical audible
(Hong Kong Jockey Club)
Peniaphobia, victorious in the local prep in which Aerovelocity was forced to
check out of contention, performed heroically while trying to become the first
three-year-old winner in Hong Kong Sprint history.
“He ran a terrific race and we have no excuse once again,” jockey Douglas
Whyte said. “It was still a great performance from my horse.”
Straight Girl, who was unfavorably drawn in post 13, deserves special credit
for a close third. Irish shipper Gordon Lord Byron was a typically fine fourth,
while Buffering retreated to sixth, Sole Power was ninth, and 2011 winner Lucky
Nine wound up a disappointing 11th.
Bred by N.E. Schick and S.J. Till in New Zealand, Aerovelocity raced under
his original name of Naisoso Warrior in his homeland. The bay won his lone start
at Awapuni for Andrew Scott, then resurfaced in Hong Kong, where O’Sullivan
reportedly had a difficult time trying to find owners for his new recruit. His
Sprint victory advanced his record to 15-8-3-1.
Aerovelocity’s dam, the Kaapstad mare Exodus, is a full sister to New Zealand
Group 2 winner Kapitain Kash. She is also a half-sister to Group 2-placed stakes
scorer Dante’s Paradiso. This is the family of New Zealand champions Smiling
Like and Nimue as well as Group 1 star Sirstaci.
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