For the second year in a row, the HK$18 million BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) has been won by a Karaka graduate.
Following on from Ping Hai Star (NZ) (Nom du Jeu) 12 months earlier, the $210,000 Premier Sale purchase Furore (NZ) (Pierro) scored an outstanding win in the four-year-old classic at Sha Tin on Sunday.
It was also the third time in the last four years that a New Zealand-bred has won the prestigious race, with Werther (NZ) (Tavistock) taking the title in 2016. Seven New Zealand-breds have won it in the last 11 years.
Like Werther, Furore was ridden to Derby glory by champion Australian jockey Hugh Bowman. Furore’s trainer is the rising Hong Kong star Frankie Lor.
Bowman settled Furore in a handy position in fifth or sixth for most of the race, one off the rail. Furore showed an outstanding turn of foot in the straight, bursting to the lead and going clear to win by a length and a quarter.
“I cannot express how I feel,” Lor said. “It’s very difficult to get a horse into the Derby, let alone win, so it’s a dream come true.”
Furore was bred by GSA Bloodstock and was offered by Haunui Farm at Karaka, where he was bought by Australian Bloodstock and Lees Racing.
Furore began his career in Australia, where he won four of his six starts and was third in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
Overall, he has now had 11 starts for six wins, two placings and prizemoney the equivalent of NZ$3.495 million – more than 16 times his purchase price.
Furore won two of Hong Kong’s three major four-year-old races, having also won the HK$10 million Hong Kong Classic Mile (1600m) on January 27. He was an unlucky fourth in the HK$10 million Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) on February 17.
“I was so thrilled to win the Classic Mile on him and that suggested to me he was a serious Derby contender,” Bowman said. “The other day (the Classic Cup) I rode a negative race from a wide draw and I was dictated to by the pace and I thought he ran well. I changed tactics today. I’m just so pleased for the team.”
Vendor Haunui Farm
Purchaser Australian Bloodstock/Lees Racing (New South Wales)
Breeding Pierro – Stormy Choice
Sale Lot 92, 2016 Premier Sale, $210,000
Bred by GSA Bloodstock Pty Ltd
Furore and Hugh Bowman lead the BMW Hong Kong Derby field home, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club