The big week for the Melwani family continued at Sha Tin yesterday as import Washington Heights made an impressive debut and connections confirmed that a Group One start in Dubai was likely for midweek winner Domineer.
Paul O’Sullivan-trained and Ravin Melwani-owned Washington Heights looked superb carrying top weight in a Class Three sprint and gave the clan a second win in four days after Domineer, with whom Ravin and brother Giresh also share an interest, notched a second straight Happy Valley Trophy success.
Caspar Fownes-trained Domineer is now almost certain to run in the US$2 million Group One Golden Shaheen for the Fashion Syndicate on March 26 and Washington Heights – purchased as a yearling and raced in Australia by the Melwani brothers – gave a glimpse that he could also be headed to bigger things now he has hit the ground running in his new base.
“We always knew he was pretty good,” explained Giresh Melwani. “His form in Australia was excellent and he has obviously put his best foot forward today. We knew he was a horse that comes to hand quickly so we suggested to Paul he might not need many trials – he runs well fresh.”
The Melwani family had purchased the son of Commands for A$300,000 (HK$1.66 million) as part of their Stallion Racing syndicate, of which former Hong Kong racecaller David Raphael is also a member.
At the same Magic Millions sale in 2013, the syndicate also purchased flying machine Rubick , a Group Two-winning colt that now stands at Coolmore Stud.
Washington Heights flagged his potential at his very first start by finishing second in the Group Three Kindergarten Stakes to Hallowed Crown, a horse that would go on to win two Group Ones the following season.
“He was always a bit unlucky in his races in Australia,” Ravin said. “We’ve got about 30 horses now, but with this one, Washington Heights, we always knew he was coming to Hong Kong so that’s why we had him gelded.”
Not to be outdone, and continuing the Indian flavour, close friend Sanjeev Mahtani won the penultimate race with Sergeant Titanium, a horse that has exceeded all expectations for the ecstatic owner.
“When we started out we would have been happy with just a single Class Three this season, but now he has won three races,” Mahtani said after Brett Prebble again got the best out of the John Size-trained five-year-old. “Now he has won two straight in Class Two it will be harder for him and his rating is creeping up to close to 100. Maybe he will end up in the Queen Mother Memorial Cup later this season with a light weight.”