The final nominees for 2016/17 The Hong Kong Jockey Club Champion Awards have been announced. Winners of the Champion Awards will be announced at The Hong Kong Jockey Club Champion Awards 2016/2017 presentation ceremony to be held on Friday, 14 July, at the Grand Ballroom, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. The Champion Awards Judging Panel has also decided to present Lifetime Achievement Awards to Able Friend and Aerovelocity, in recognition of their great contributions to Hong Kong racing. The finalists are:
At Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, Cambridge Stud's dual Gr1-winning stallion Tavistock (Montjeu-Upstage, by Quest For Fame) celebrated an elite success when 5YO New Zealand-bred gelding Werther (Tavistock-Bagalollies, by Zabeel) scored by a short head for trainer John Moore and jockey Hugh Bowman in the HK$10 million Gr1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m), over 8YO UK-bred gelding Blazing Speed (Dylan Thomas-Leukippids, by Sadler's Wells) & 6YO UK-bred gelding Secret Weapon (Choisir-Just Devine, by Montjeu). Werther boosted his record to 8 wins (including the Gr1 Hong Kong Derby & Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup) and 9 placings (including the Gr1 South Australian Derby & Gr1 Queensland Derby) from 21 starts for $6,431,626 earnings. Werther, who had missed the early part of this season due to a right hind suspensory injury, was having his first start since returning with a sixth placing in the Gr1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) on 30 January. Trainer John Moore confirmed Werther will now be aimed at the US$6 million Gr1 Dubai Turf (1800m) on 25 March. "I always thought he’d come back to his best, I was more worried about his quirkiness than his injury,” Moore said. “Winning the QEII like he did, it put him top five in the planet on turf, so we know that we’ve got a very special horse, but it took something else for him to win today." Moore added: "If he goes to Dubai he’d have to be a legitimate chance, regardless of the field." Jockey Hugh Bowman said: “I don’t get too carried away with international ratings because it’s hard to assess, but I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s in the top 10 horses in the world on turf, this horse."
At Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, 5YO entire and reigning Japanese Horse of the Year Maurice (Screen Hero-Mejiro Frances, by Carnegie) registered the sixth top-flight victory of his brilliant career when scoring by 1.5 lengths for trainer Noriyuki Hori and jockey Ryan Moore in the Gr1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m), over 7YO UK-bred gelding Secret Weapon (Choisir-Just Devine, by Montjeu) & 5YO entire Staphanos (Deep Impact-Kokoshnik, by Kurofune). Maurice, having his final race start, improved his record to 11 wins (including the Gr1 Autumn Tenno Sho, Gr1 Champions Mile, Gr1 Hong Kong Mile, Gr1 Kyoto Mile Championship & Gr1 Yasuda Kinen) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Yasuda Kinen) from 18 starts for ¥1,063,480,620 in earnings. Maurice will now retire to stud with the reputation as one of the best Japanese racehorses of the modern era. "Once we got some daylight, he just quickened and put the race to bed. He's a brilliant horse," jockey Ryan Moore said. "He's very good at a mile, but possibly he's even better at 10 furlongs. He's developed into a big, strong horse and he is a pleasure to ride."
At Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, multiple US Gr1-winning sprinter & Darley shuttler Street Boss (Street Cry-Blushing Ogygian, by Ogygian) added a Group success when 3YO Australian-bred gelding Rapper Dragon (Street Boss-Swing Dance, by Danehill Dancer) scored by 1.25-lengths for trainer John Moore in the HK$3 million Gr3 Lion Rock Trophy (1600m), over 5YO Irish-bred gelding Beauty Only (Holy Roman Emperor-Goldendale, by Ali-Royal) & 6YO UK-bred gelding Secret Weapon (Choisir-Just Devine, by Montjeu). This was the first stakes victory for Rapper Dragon who improved his record 5 wins and 3 placings (including the ATC Champagne Stakes) from 12 starts for $1,237,304 earnings. Formerly campaigned as Street Rapper in Australia, Rapper Dragon is out of the unraced mare Swing Dance (Danehill Dancer), a half-sister to Gr1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes winner Amanpour. Rapper Dragon is therefore a direct descendant of influential matriarch Natalma, dam of legendary stallion Northern Dancer and great grand-dam of the great Danehill.
Courtesy of Arion Pedigrees, below are the latest Australian and/or New Zealand-bred Singapore winners: