Loves Only You Goes Out a Winner at Tragedy-Marred HKIR


Loves Only You fights off Hishi Iguazu in the Cup | HKJC photo


by Alan Carasso

Making the final appearance of her illustrious career, Japan's Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) displayed the same refuse-to-lose attitude that carried her to a history-making success in last month's GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in Sunday's G1 Longines Hong Kong Cup, at HK$30 million the richest of the four events that make up the 'Turf World Championships'–the Longines Hong Kong International Races.

Glory Vase (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), one of three Japanese winners in 2019, took home a second G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase, defeating a game G1 Coronation Cup hero Pyledriver (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}), while Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) proved too tough for the 16th consecutive time and for the 19th time in 20 starts, successfully defending his title in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile. A horrific spill stripped much of the lustre off the running of the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint, won by 21-1 Sky Field (Aus) (Deep Field {Aus}), but the greater concern was for the two horses–Amazing Star (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}) and Naboo Attack (Aus) (Warhead {Aus})–who suffered catastrophic injuries, and three riders who were taken to nearby Prince of Wales Hospital for treatment.

Given the green light by the HKSAR government to conduct the meeting in a racing 'bubble', the Hong Kong Jockey Club welcomed 18,600 fans to the races Sunday afternoon. Total turnover for the afternoon was HK$1.728 billion, a new record.

“Today is a day which had tremendous sporting success and this is something everybody in the Club should be proud of,” said HKJC CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges. “There are people you do not see who make a big commitment to the Club and to this event.

“As wonderful as the racing was today, we also had the unfortunate and tragic circumstances in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint, where there was an accident. Our thoughts are with the injured jockeys and we wish Zac Purton, Lyle Hewitson and Yuichi Fukunaga a speedy recovery. Nobody likes to see these accidents and the owners of the horses involved are also in our thoughts.”

All You Need Is 'Loves'…

A spectacular career and truly marvelous season came to a thrilling conclusion in the Longines Hong Kong Cup, as Japan's Loves Only You jumped out of the ground in the final 100 metres and outslugged her heavily backed compatriot Hishi Iguazu (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) to score narrowly. It was a second straight Cup success for a Japanese-bred female, following on from Normcore (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}), who swan-songed in the same event last December.

Straight into a forward position from her low draw, Loves Only You settled in about fifth, as Bolshoi Ballet (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) rolled up deep to set the pace from G1 Irish 2000 Guineas hero Mac Swiney (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) and Ka Ying Star (GB) (Cityscape {GB}). Holding her spot one off the fence and racing in the slipstream of Bolshoi Ballet into the final three furlongs, Loves Only You kicked, but found herself in tight between the pacesetters at the 300-metres, as Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) got first run and shot to the lead after covering Loves Only You on the turn. Hishi Iguazu was winding up down the centre and it looked desperate for the bonny mare, but, same as she did at Del Mar, she took one more determined deep breath and sliced through dramatically for the win.

“She jumped well. The pace was a bit slow but then she relaxed and I was able to find a good position,” said winning rider Yuga Kawada, whose mount in the Sprint, Danon Smash (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) hurdled the stricken Amazing Star. “She's given me two big presents and is the best female horse I've ever ridden. I hope she will be a good mother.”

The 2019 G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) winner, Loves Only You was campaigned ambitiously in 2021, winning the G2 Kyoto Kinen in February ahead of a very game third to Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic. Victorious in the G1 FWD QE II Cup over this course and distance the following month, she was runner-up to fan-favourite Sodashi (Jpn) (Kurofune) in the G2 Sapporo Kinen at home ahead of her landmark score at the Breeders' Cup meeting.



Pedigree Notes…

The unraced Loves Only Me was acquired by Katsumi Yoshida for $900,000 in foal to Danehill Dancer (Ire) at the 2009 Keeneland November Sale and came with plenty of pedigree appeal, as her dam Monevassia was a full-sister to dual GI Breeders' Cup Mile winner Miesque (Nureyev)'s son Kingmambo and had produced champion and future Broodmare of the Year Rumplestiltskin (Ire) (Danehill)–subsequently the dam of G1SW Tapestry (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and GSW John F Kennedy (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). In addition to Kingmambo, Miesque was also responsible for G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and G1 Prix de Diane heroine East of the Moon (Private Account); GSW Mingun (A.P. Indy); GSW/MG1SP Miesque's Son (Mr. Prospector), sire of 2006 Breeders' Cup Mile hero Miesque's Approval.

Loves Only Me is the dam of seven winners from eight to race, all bar the in-utero foal by Deep Impact, and with Sunday's win, has progeny earnings of nearly $20 million. The cross of the late Shadai inmate over Storm Cat and Storm Cat-line dams has been sensationally productive, accounting for nearly 20% of the stallion's 53 worldwide Grade I/Group 1 winners, including recent G1 Yasuda Kinen hero Danon Kingly (Jpn), Hong Kong Cup-winning sire A Shin Hikari (Jpn), Satono Aladdin (Jpn) and French 1000 Guineas heroine Beauty Parlour (Jpn), among others.

Loves Only Me has also been a commercial success at the JRHA Select Sales. Loves Only You fetched ¥160 million ($1,404,800) as a yearling at the 2017 sale, while a Heart's Cry (Jpn) half-brother to Loves Only You made ¥280 million ($2,537,293) as a foal at this year's Sale. Loves Only Me is also represented by a yearling colt by Duramente (Jpn), who passed away this past September.


WATCH: Loves Only You goes out with a bang


Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
LONGINES HONG KONG CUP-G1, HK$30,000,000 (£2,913,356/€3,394,810/A$5,268,927/US$3,847,229), 3yo/up, 2000mT, 2:00.66, gd.
1–LOVES ONLY YOU (JPN), 122, m, 5, by Deep Impact (Jpn)
1st Dam: Loves Only Me, by Storm Cat
2nd Dam: Monevassia, by Mr. Prospector
3rd Dam: Miesque, by Nureyev
(¥160,000,000 Ylg '17 JRHAJUL). O-DMM Dream Club Co Ltd; B-Northern Farm; T-Yoshito Yahagi; J-Yuga Kawada; HK$17,100,000. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Jpn, GISW-US, G1SP-UAE, 16-8-2-3, HK$67,678,050. Full to Real Steel (Jpn), Hwt. Older Horse-UAE at 7-9.5f, G1SW-UAE, MGSW & MG1SP-Jpn, $7,508,769; Prodigal Son (Jpn), SW & MGSP-Jpn, $1,564,219; and Langley (Jpn), SP, $1,173,360. Werk Nick Rating: B+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Hishi Iguazu (Jpn), 126, h, 5, Heart's Cry (Jpn)–La Liz (Arg), by Bernstein. (¥97,000,000 Wlg '16 JRHAJUL). O-Masahide Abe; B-Northern Racing; T-Noriyuki Hori; J-Joao Moreira; HK$6,600,000.
3–Russian Emperor (Ire), 126, g, 4, Galileo (Ire)–Atlantic Jewel (Aus), by Fastnet Rock (Aus). O-Mike Cheung Shun Ching; B-Coolmore, Lauri Macri & Partners; T-Douglas Whyte; J-Blake Shinn; HK$3,000,000.
Margins: SHD, 3/4, NK. Odds: 8-5, 24-5, 23-1.
Also Ran: Dubai Honour (GB), Tourbillon Diamond (Aus), Lei Papale (Jpn), Berlin Tango (GB), Glorious Dragon (Ire), Bolshoi Ballet (Ire), Ka Ying Star (GB), Panfield (Chi), Mac Swiney (Ire). Click for the chart, PPs and sectional timing. Click for the free catalog-style pedigree.

Hong Kong History For Golden Sixty…

Twelve months after Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) made the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile his 11th straight victory, the reigning Horse of the Year was at his brilliant best in defending his title Sunday under a sublime ride from his constant mate Vincent Ho.

A horse that is happy to sacrifice ground loss for a unimpeded run when push comes to shove, Golden Sixty's task Sunday was a bit 'tricky' in the words of Ho, owing mostly to the fact that the 6-year-old had drawn gate two, and also because there did not appear to be an abundance of speed signed on. Golden Sixty has been known to overrace when the pace doesn't suit, but he settled kindly enough, a touch keenly in midfield in the early stages of Sunday's Mile, as Salios (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) speared through at the rail to take up the running from longshot Lucky Express (Aus) (Toronado {Ire}).

Slipped a bit of rein at the 1000-metres, Golden Sixty tip-toed into an above-average handy position for him, about five lengths from the speed, readying himself for the sprint when the cue was given.

Tracking Lucky Express into the stretch, Golden Sixty was jerked back to the inside nearing the quarter pole, came off Salios's heels with a furlong and a half to race and proved comfortably best. More Than This (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}), who nearly defeated the champ in last year's G1 Champions' Mile, rattled home for second ahead of Salios in third. Mother Earth (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) attacked the line nicely to be fourth.

With the victory, Golden Sixty surpasses two-time Mile hero Beauty Generation (NZ) and Silent Witness (Aus) as the winningest horse in Hong Kong history with 19. He is all but certain to supplant the former as the richest horse in Hong Kong history–he is now within just HK$10 million–and has Silent Witness's 17-race winning streak in the crosshairs.

“I knew he was at his best, gate two was a little bit tricky, I didn't want to be stuck on the inside, but eventually the race panned out well and the pace was genuine,” Ho said. “It was much better today because the pace was on, he actually relaxed very well and as a 6-year-old he's more mature, so it's even better.”



Pedigree Notes…

Bred in Kentucky by Manganaro LLC, Gaudeamus was purchased by Newmarket International from the Lane's End consignment for $60,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September sale. Trained by Jim Bolger for his wife Jackie, Gaudeamus posted her most important victory in the 2006 G2 Debutante S. at Leopardstown. Bred to the late Pivotal (GB) to Southern Hemisphere time in 2007, Gaudeamus produced her first foal, a colt, for Bob and Rosemary Scarborough's Wood Nook Farm in the Australian winter of 2008.

Gaudeamus was purchased for A$160,000 by Josh Hutchins Bloodstock carrying the foal that would become Golden Sixty at the 2015 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. The mare's first Australian foal of note was Igitur, who went on to be third in the 2017 Listed Tasmanian Derby, and a few months later, Gaudeamus was bought back on a bid of A$75,000 in foal to Choisir at the National Broodmare Sale. That offspring, Rainbow Connection (Aus), was runner-up in the 2021 G3 Hawkesbury Guineas, and the decision to retain the mare looks sufficiently wise in retrospect.

Gaudeamus's yearling filly by Capitalist (Aus) sold to All Winners Thoroughbreds for A$425,000 at the 2021 Magic Millions Gold Coast sale. Gaudeamus missed to Trapeze Artist (Aus) for 2020 and was bred to Wootton Bassett (GB) in October. This is also the female family of champion Bosra Sham (Woodman), her champion full-brother Hector Protector and French Classic winner Shanghai (Procida).


WATCH: Sweet Sixteen for Sixty


Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
LONGINES HONG KONG MILE-G1, HK$26,000,000 (£2,524,877/€2,942,208/A$4,653,070/US$3,334,265), 3yo/up, 1600mT, 1:33.86, gd.
1–GOLDEN SIXTY (AUS), 126, g, 6, by Medaglia d'Oro
1st Dam: Gaudeamus (GSW-Ire, $179,846), by Distorted Humor
2nd Dam: Leo's Lucky Lady, by Seattle Slew
3rd Dam: Konafa, by Damascus
(A$120,000 Ylg '17 MMGCYS; NZ$300,000 2yo '17 NZBRTR). O-Stanley Chan Ka Leung; B-Asco International Pty Ltd (Qld); T-Francis Lui K W; J-Vincent Ho C Y; HK$14,820,000. Lifetime Record: Horse of the Year, Ch. Miler & Ch. Middle Distance Horse-HK, 20-19-0-0, HK$95,453,100. *1/2 to Rainbow Connection (Aus) (Choisir {Aus}), GSP-Aus. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–More Than This (GB), 126, g, 5, Dutch Art (GB)–Striving (Ire), by Danehill Dancer (Ire). (40,000gns Ylg '17 TATOCT). O-Huang Kai Wen; B-Cheveley Park Stud Ltd; T-Danny Shum C S; J-Derek Leung K C; HK$5,720,000.
3–Salios (Jpn), 126, c, 4, Heart's Cry (Jpn)–Salomina (Ger), by Lomitas (GB). O-Silk Racing Co Ltd; B-Northern Racing; T-Noriyuki Hori; J-Damian Lane; HK$2,600,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, NK, HF. Odds: 3-10, 43-1, 13-1.
Also Ran: Mother Earth (Ire), Indy Champ (Jpn), Vin de Garde (Jpn), Waikuku (Ire), Danon Kingly (Jpn), Sky Darci (NZ), Excellent Proposal (Aus), Lucky Express (Aus). Click for the chart, PPs and sectional timing. Click for the free catalog-style pedigree.

Shinn Shines, But Heavy-Hearted Following Sprint…

A little more than two years after riding his first winner in Hong Kong in September 2019, well-traveled Australian jockey Blake Shinn partnered with the Caspar Fownes-trained Sky Field (Aus) (Deep Field {Aus})–the horse that late last season provided him with his first victory at Group level in the jurisdiction–to take out an injury-marred and ultimately sombre renewal of the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint.

Shinn, who won the 2008 G1 Melbourne Cup with Viewed (Aus) (Scenic {Ire}) for the legendary Bart Cummings, settled Sky Field last but two in the Sprint field, as Computer Patch (Aus) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) showed the way from Courier Wonder (NZ) (Sacred Falls {NZ}), with Amazing Star (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}) tracking three deep.

There was a dramatic and tragic turn of events as the field neared the final corner, as Amazing Star went wrong, casting Lyle Hewitson heavily to the turf, and favoured Lucky Patch (NZ) (El Roca {Aus}) with Zac Purton fell right in his wake. The massive Naboo Attack (Aus) (Warhead {Aus}) (Karis Teetan) was also brought down, as was Japan's Pixie Knight (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) (Yuichi Fukunaga). Sadly, the injuries to Amazing Star and Naboo Attack proved fatal, while Lucky Patch emerged apparently unscathed. Netkeiba reported that Pixie Knight has a left fore knee fracture and a sprain in the right hind. Teetan was passed fit to ride the remainder of the card, but Hewitson, Purton and Fukunaga were taken to Prince of Wales Hospital not far from Sha Tin.

“The three jockeys are all in a stable condition and they were conscious when they were transported to hospital. Zac and Lyle are in ICU, they're conscious and their vitals are all stable,” Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding told South China Morning Post.

Down inside, Sky Field avoided the pile-up, raced past a wandering Courier Wonder at the sixteenth marker and was home first, as Resistencia (Jpn) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}), bothered by the winner in upper stretch, charged at him late.

“I have mixed emotions for winning this race today,” Shinn said. “Obviously, the first emotion is that my feelings are with the fallen jockeys and horses out there. It's gut-wrenching for any rider to see a horse go down. What's happened today, it's a real bitter-sweet win and in a way it's a hard win to take in the circumstances. All credit to Caspar Fownes, he's given me the opportunity to ride this lovely animal over the previous season and this season.”

Pedigree Notes…

Sky Field is the second top-level scorer and one of 12 black-type winners overall for Deep Field, the sire of 14 Hong Kong winners overall. The chestnut is one of five winners from six to race from his dam, a winning daughter of Mer du Sud, whose son The Duke (Aus) (Danehill) won the 2006 Hong Kong Mile after placing in the event the two years prior. Mer du Sud is also the granddam of GSW/G1SP Keen Array (Aus) (Bel Esprit {Aus}) and SW & G1SP Chambord (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}). Laravissante is the dam of the 3-year-old filly Jolie Christine (Aus) (Pride of Dubai {Aus}) and a yearling filly by Pariah (Aus). Her foal of 2021, a full-sister to Sky Field, unfortunately passed away and she was given the current breeding season off.

Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
LONGINES HONG KONG SPRINT-G1, HK$24,000,000 (£2,330,656/€2,716,884/A$4,295,672/US$3,077,850), 3yo/up, 1200mT, 1:08.66, gd.
1–SKY FIELD (AUS), 126, g, 5, by Deep Field
1st Dam: Laravissante (NZ), by O'Reilly (NZ)
2nd Dam: Mer du Sud (Ire), by Bluebird
3rd Dam: Make Plans, by Go Marching
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (NZ$175,000 Ylg '18 NZBJAN). O-Kwan Shiu Man, Jessica Kwan Mun Hang & Jeffrey Kwan Chun Ming; B-M Ryan (NSW); T-Caspar Fownes; J-Blake Shinn; HK$13,680,000. Lifetime Record: 18-6-2-5, HK$25,577,700. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Resistencia (Jpn), 122, f, 4, Daiwa Major (Jpn)–Malacostumbrada (Arg), by Lizard Island. O-Carrot Farm Co Ltd; B-Northern Farm; T-Takeshi Matsushita; J-Christophe Soumillon; HK$5,280,000.
3–Courier Wonder (NZ), 126, g, 4, Sacred Falls (NZ)–Fabulist (NZ), by Savabeel (Aus). (NZ$150,000 Ylg '19 NZBJAN). O-Mr & Mrs Chadwick Mok Cham Hung; B-Waikato Stud Ltd; T-John Size; J-Joao Moreira; HK$2,400,000.
Margins: 3/4, 3/4, HF. Odds: 21-1, 13-1, 7-2.
Also Ran: Hot King Prawn (Aus), Stronger (Aus), Computer Patch (Aus), Wellington (Aus), Danon Smash (Jpn). DNF: Pixie Knight (Jpn), Lucky Patch (NZ), Naboo Attack (Aus), Amazing Star (NZ). Click for the chart, PPs and sectional timing. VIDEO. Click for the free catalog-style pedigree.

More Vase 'Glory' For Japan, Moreira…

For the third time in the last six years, jockey Joao Moreira teamed up with a shipper from Japan to scoop the first of the day's four Group 1s, the Longines Hong Kong Vase, in this case with the same horse he guided to victory two years back, Glory Vase (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). European raider Pyledriver (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}) made a bold bid in upper stretch, but couldn't quite see it out, while Aga Khan homebred Ebaiyra (Distorted Humor) turned in a cracking effort to be third.

Glory Vase stepped away neatly and eased down onto the fence while tossing his head about, as Reliable Team (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}) lobbed them along with mild pressure from Stay Foolish (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) with a circuit to travel. Settled on the back of defending champion Mogul (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) rounding the first bend at the 1600 metres, Glory Vase switched off well as the speed remained even up front. Unhurried into the final half-mile, Glory Vase was set alight by Moreira off the home corner and had Pyledriver to catch after the latter claimed the front-runners in upper stretch. Pyledriver pinched what appeared to be a commanding advantage with a bit more than a furlong to gallop, but Glory Vase had the better late kick and raced away to a popular score.

“I had a smooth run, going to the fence and saving ground,” said Moreira. “I just made sure I got into the clear and I know he's a very strong horse at the finish and there was not a fight. He has proven to be the best horse today.”

Of the valiant runner-up, Martin Dwyer said: “Really pleased, good run but I think the winner is very good.”

Only lightly raced, with now 17 starts nearing the end of his 6-year-old campaign, Glory Vase made his seasonal debut in the 2000-metre G2 Kinko Sho Mar. 14, finishing a close fourth before traveling back to Hong Kong to round out a Japanese exacta behind Loves Only You (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the FWD QE II Cup the following month. He would have taken plenty of benefit from his lone run since, a third in the G2 Sankei Sho All Comers S. Sept. 26 in which he made multiple moves and ran right through the line.



Pedigree Notes…

Glory Vase has a twice-raced 3-year-old half-sister named Ohagi (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) and his yearling half-brother by Heart's Cry (Jpn)–already named Ezo Daimon (Jpn)–sold to Susumu Fujita for ¥165 million (about $1,496,804) at this year's JRHA Select Sale. Mejiro Tsubone foaled another colt by Heart's Cry this year and was most recently bred to the late Duramente (Jpn).

Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
LONGINES HONG KONG VASE-G1, HK$20,000,000 (£1,942,213/€2,263,237/A$3,579,727/US$2,564,875), 3yo/up, 2400mT, 2:27.07, gd.
1–GLORY VASE (JPN), 126, h, 6, by Deep Impact (Jpn)
1st Dam: Mejiro Tsubone (Jpn), by Swept Overboard
2nd Dam: Mejiro Rubato (Jpn), by Mejiro Ryan (Jpn)
3rd Dam: Mejiro Ramonu (Jpn), by Mogami (Fr)
(¥52,000,000 Ylg '16 JRHAJUL). O-Silk Racing Co Ltd; B-Lake Villa Farm; T-Tomohito Ozeki; J-Joao Moreira; HK$11,400,000. Lifetime Record: MGSW & G1SP-Jpn, 17-6-4-1, HK$50,300,700. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Pyledriver (GB), 126, c, 4, Harbour Watch (Ire)–La Pyle (Fr), by Le Havre (Ire). (10,000gns RNA Wlg '17 TATDEF). O-La Pyle Partnership; B-Knox & Wells Limited & R Devlin; T-William Muir & Chris Grassick; J-Martin Dwyer; HK$4,400,000.
3–Ebaiyra, 122, f, 4, Distorted Humor–Ebiyza (Ire), by Rock of Gibraltar (Ire). O-S A Aga Khan; B-H H The Aga Khan Stud SC; T-Alain de Royer-Dupre; J-Christophe Soumillon; HK$2,000,000.
Margins: 1, 2HF, 3. Odds: 9-10, 7-2, 12-1.
Also Ran: Columbus County (NZ), Stay Foolish (Jpn), Mogul (Ire), Butterfield (Brz), Reliable Team (NZ). Click for the chart, PPs and sectional timing. Click for the free catalog-style pedigree.


WATCH: Glory Vase wins a second Vase

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