Leung delight at Unicorn's exalted status
Former top griffin Lucky Unicorn has been syndicated among a group of top New Zealand thoroughbred farms to become the new resident stallion at the famous Cambridge Stud. The world-renowned farm is the home of champion sire Zabeel and the birthplace of 2005 World Racing Champion Vengeance Of Rain.
Lucky Unicorn is a well-bred son of reigning Australian champion sire Redoute's Choice, who has taken over from where his late, great sire Danehill left off as the most dominant stallion in the southern hemisphere.
Lucky Unicorn was raced from the Tony Cruz yard by Leung Kai-fai, who previously had 2004 Hong Kong Derby hero Lucky Owners syndicated as a shuttle stallion.
'We are absolutely delighted that Lucky Unicorn will be going to Cambridge Stud, especially with Sir Patrick Hogan having taken a majority interest in his syndication,' Leung said.
'So many leading sires, particularly Sir Tristram, Zabeel and more recently Stravinsky have made it to the top under Sir Patrick's guidance. It would have been impossible for us to find a better home for Lucky Unicorn, and being at Cambridge Stud he will get every possible chance to succeed in his new vocation.'
Leung aborted Lucky Unicorn's Hong Kong career to race him in Melbourne, in the hope of gaining some success in stakes races that would make him into an attractive stallion prospect.
The handsome bay horse won the Chester Manifold Stakes at Sandown and was placed at Group Three level before Sir Patrick swooped, through the agency of former Hong Kong jockey Brent Thomson (of New Zealand Bloodstock).
'Sir Patrick likes Lucky Unicorn, chiefly because he has such an outstanding pedigree and top-class conformation, even though he had not contested a Group One race,' Leung said.
'Sir Patrick told me he sees strong parallels between Lucky Unicorn and his former champion stallion Sir Tristram, who was only Group placed but had a magnificent pedigree and ultimately became the southern hemisphere's champion sire.'
Redoute's Choice is the sire of 34 individual stakes winners, including this season's crack Australian filly, Miss Finland, and New Zealand Derby hero Redoute's Dancer.
Redoute's Choice, a four-time Group One winner during his racing career, is the leading sire in Australia for the 2006-07 season as he relentlessly chases down back-to-back champion sire titles.
One of the most appealing aspects of Lucky Unicorn's breeding, to pedigree connoisseur Sir Patrick, is the duplication of one of the world's most successful families through 'blue-hen' broodmare Best In Show. Redoute's Choice is one of her descendants, but so too is Try My Best, the sire of Lucky Unicorn's paternal grandsire Last Tycoon.
Such duplications, also known as inbreeding patterns, are seen by breeding experts as one of the keys to the success of such prepotent stallions as Danehill, whose sire Danzig and dam Razyana have a common grandmother in Natalma, who just happens to be the dam of the legendary Northern Dancer.