Trainer John Moore got an early birthday present with news he will train the record-breaking $11 million purchase from last night’s Hong Kong International Sale at Sha Tin Racecourse.
Moore turns 68 today and his stable’s latest acquisition is a highly is a highly sought after half-brother to Epsom Derby winner Wings Of Eagles bought by owner Cheung Kwok-keung.
“I thought he was the best mover in the sale,” Moore said, adding that the well balanced grey gelding will spend time at the new Conghua Training Centre, near Guangzhou, that is due to open later this year.
Moore has three runners in Sunday’s $18 BMW Hong Kong Derby as he chases three straight wins in the race and said next year’s Derby was an obvious target for his new prospect.
“He won’t race this season and is obviously a horse that will get over further,” he said.
The sale is for horses already purchased from yearling sales across the globe and then re-sold to Jockey Club members as three-year-olds.
When sale director Mark Richards spotted the top lot at the Arqana August Yearling Sale in France, Wings Of Eagles had not yet clinched England’s most famous flat race but the youngster stood out.
“He was a nice balanced son of Holy Roman Emperor, a proven sire here, and we knew there was some speed in his family as well,” he said. “We obviously didn’t know that the half-brother would go on to win the Derby, but we did know that he was with Aidan O’Brien, which is a great sign.”
The aggregate of $135.3 million was also a record, despite having fewer horses on offer than recent editions of the sale, creating an all-time high average of HK$5.2m per lot.
The most famous success story from the sale in recent times is Pakistan Star and his owner Kerm Din again spent big at the sale, splashing HK$7.2 on Lot 14.
“Pakistan Star was Lot 14 as well and that’s my lucky number,” Din said, confirming Tony Cruz will train the newcomer.