IN Racing
News In Brief
NZ Racing Desk | November 07, 2022

Group Three spoils for Money Catcher

Former Kiwi galloper Money Catcher will be considered for the Gr.1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin next month after the import ended a frustrating string of near-misses with victory in the Gr.3 Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Handicap (1800m) victory at Sha Tin on Sunday.

The son of Ferlax, who previously raced as Jason Belltree in New Zealand, prevailed under a masterful Silvestre de Sousa ride and fought off favourite Beauty Joy to land a breakthrough win for Frankie Lor.

Money Catcher earned his first Hong Kong victory with a bold front-running performance, leading all the way and defying all challenges down the straight. He won by half a length, stopping the clock at 1:46.34 for the 1800-metre journey.

“Money Catcher was the best handicapped on the day,” winning rider Silvestre de Sousa said. “The horse likes to be there (leading), and with the weight he was carrying, I knew from the 800-metre mark that something good would happen. I hope this win can build his confidence for next time.”

Trainer Frankie Lor may set his sights on the HK$34m Group One Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at next month’s world-famous Hong Kong International Races.

“Maybe, maybe, but I’ll still have a look over the next few days,” Lor said. “This horse is always very unlucky – second, third, fourth. This time, he won the race for the owners. Really happy. We waited for the win for a long time.

Money Catcher was a $60,000 purchase from the Regal Farm draft at the 2019 Ready to Run Sale at Karaka, having previously cost only $13,000 at the Karaka May Sale a year earlier. Sunday’s win took his earnings past HK$9m.

Prepared in New Zealand by Bruce Wallace and Grant Cooksley, Money Catcher was purchased privately as a one-win horse that was placed in the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m), Gr.2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) and Gr.3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m).


Verry Elleegant aiming for the stars

Star New Zealand bred mare Verry Elleegant is likely to be bred to Irish-based stallion Sea The Stars.

Part-owner Brae Sokolski said although the date was yet to be confirmed, the ownership group had a keen interest in sending their 11-time Group One winner to the world’s best thoroughbred of 2009, who has since sired the likes of European stars Baaeed and Stradivarius among his 19 Group One winners.

Sea The Stars, a six-time Group One winner and half-brother to the great Galileo, stands at the Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud in Ireland for a fee of €150,000.

“She’ll be served to northern hemisphere time and while no final decision has been made on the stallion, Sea The Stars is probably the most likely suitor,” Sokolski said of the daughter of Zed.

“Then we will decide whether to keep her there (Europe) and do it again or bring her back. It’s unresolved at the moment.”


Jungle Magnate makes instant Hong Kong impact

Tarzino four-year-old Jungle Magnate made an instant impact when winning on debut from his new quarters in Hong Kong.

Purchased privately after winning the Gr.1 South Australian Derby (2500m) for Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, the gelding has been re-named Beautyverse and emerged as a contender for next year’s Hong Kong Derby (2000m).

Now in the care of Tony Cruz, Beautyverse produced a stunning debut victory in the Class 2 Neogence Handicap (1600m) under Zac Purton to deliver a HK$2 million PP Bonus, plus prize money of HK$1.653 million for an overall windfall HK$3.653 million.

Rated 82 pre-race, Beautyverse earned the HK$2 million bonus for winning his first Hong Kong race at Class 2 or above before reaching five years of age while rated 80 or higher.

Beautyverse rolled forward from barrier 14 to lead – against his typical Australian racing pattern – to defy the opposition.

“It was very impressive. He's got class and I was expecting to win this race. We still ran him a bit short of his best distance, next time we're going to run him at 1800m or 2000m,” Cruz said.

“This horse has a bright future - he's got a lot of ability and quality. The Derby is the main goal, he is a Derby contender but I haven't planned how he will get there yet.”

The son of Tarzino was originally purchased by Mick Price out of Westbury Stud’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $75,000.

Money Catcher Hong Kong Cup Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse Ferlax Jason Belltree Silvestre de Sousa Beauty Joy Frankie Lor Longines Hong Kong Cup New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale Bruce Wallace Bruce Wallace and Grant Cooksley AJC Avondale Guineas Verry Elleegant Sea The Stars Brae Sokolski Baaeed Stradivarius Galileo Aga Khan Gilltown Stud Jungle Magnate Tarzino Gr.1 South Australian Derby Mick Price Michael Kent Jnr Beautyverse Tony Cruz Zac Purton Westbury Stud New Zealand Bloodstock