No Nay Never Gelding Becomes Hong Kong Derby Royalty

Massive Sovereign and Zac Purton | Hong Kong Jockey Club

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Chan Kam Hung's Massive Sovereign (Ire) (No Nay Never–Sweet Charity {Fr}, by Myboycharlie {Ire}) continued his Hong Kong progression in stirring fashion with a come-from-behind victory under Zac Purton in the HK$26,000,000 BMW Hong Kong Derby at Sha Tin on Sunday. The time of 1:59.85 was a new record for the race since the distance was changed to 2000 metres in 2000, with Massive Sovereign bettering the mark of Hong Kong phenom Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro)'s 2:00.15 set in 2020.

The winner's neck defeat of the Group 1-placed Galaxy Patch (Aus) (Wandjina {Aus}) also marked a one-three finish for horses bred and formerly trained in Ireland, as G3 Gallinule S. second Ka Ying Generation (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}), ran third by three-quarters of a length.

Once the gates flew, 39-1 longshot Ka Ying Generation, with Andrea Atzeni at the controls, hustled up to anchor the vanguard, with Purton's mount second to last through the first 400 metres in :25.53. The pace quickened from there, with the first 800 metres covered in :49.45, but the 17-5 shot was keen to do more, just to the outside of favoured Helios Express (Aus) (Toronado {Ire}), who had scooped the first two legs of the 4-Year-Old Classic series. That duo soon reached the main body of the field, while Ka Ying Generation continued on by his lonesome at halfway.

Atzeni gave his mount a nudge and soon opened up four lengths on his rivals on the final bend. By the 300-metre mark, he was six lengths clear, and it was not immediately apparent that any of his foes had the requisite turn of foot to run him down. Purton, who won his first HK Derby with Luger (Aus) (Choisir {Aus}) in 2015, was undeterred and steered Massive Sovereign through traffic and he soon had the game-but-tiring frontrunner dead to rights. Unleashing a brilliant closing kick, the eventual winner hit the front four strides from the line, and fended off the rush of Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup second Galaxy Patch to his outside. Ka Ying Generation clung grimly on to complete the trifecta.

The winner covered his final 600 metres in a sharp :33.84, while the first three home all broke the two-minute mark for the 2000 metre distance. Helios Express's bid flattened in the final stages and he finished eighth.

“It's very exciting,” said former Hong Kong champion trainer Dennis Yip, who was winning his first HK Derby. “I think the Derby for me is more important than the championship [in 2012/13]…but this one for my life is the big one.

“He's a very special horse with a very good mind. The last 200m I was very nervous but I rely on Zac. He is the champion jockey in Hong Kong and everything was good with the horse.

“This horse, the first day he arrived in Hong Kong, he [Purton] sent me the video [of Massive Sovereign winning at Leopardstown] and told me he thought he was a nice horse and asked me if he could ride him.”

“I didn't really have a horse for the Derby until this bloke won so, like when I won on Luger, it was a late pick-up ride into the race,” said Purton.

“I feel extremely honoured and privileged to have found such a horse to win it. To win the race itself, it's the most prestigious race in Hong Kong and I've had a frustrating run in this race and a frustrating season, so it's nice to get another big one–and probably the biggest one among the local races overall.”

A winner of a Dundalk all-weather affair at third asking last April, Broadhurst, as he was known prior to his arrival in Hong Kong, ran second in a Naas handicap later that spring for the Coolmore partners and trainer Aidan O'Brien. Originally a €620,000 Goffs Orby yearling, he was gelded after winning a Leopardstown handicap in September, and changed hands privately before making a striking debut at Sha Tin over this course and distance under Purton on Mar. 3 (video).

The G1 FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin over this distance on Apr. 28 is next in the cards for Massive Sovereign.

“I've already entered him for [the FWD QEII Cup] at the end of April,” Yip added. “I will see how the horse pulls up. If he's good and he improves, I will go this way. I'm very happy, it's amazing for my life. What a memory.”

Pedigree Notes

Coolmore Stud's No Nay Never now has 58 stakes winners (34 group) worldwide to his name, while Massive Sovereign is his first stakes winner in Hong Kong. Need I Say More (Aus), racing as Spirited Express in Hong Kong, ran third in the G3 HKJC Premier Plate. A winner of the 2013 G1 Prix Morny, the son of Scat Daddy bred 190 mares in 2023.

From the same family as French stakes winner Aktoria (Fr) (Canford Cliffs {Ire}), herself the dam of multiple group winner Greenland (Ire) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}), Sweet Charity won the Listed Prix de Liancourt and was third in the GII Santa Ana S. in America. At stud, she has visited No Nay Never exclusively, with Massive Sovereign her first foal and first stakes winner. His 3-year-old full-sister Love Comedy (Ire), a €75,000 Goffs Orby yearling, is a winner in Japan. Juvenile filly Boxie (Ire) has yet to race, while Sweet Charity has another yearling full-sister to the HK Derby winner still to come.

 

Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
BMW HONG KONG DERBY-Listed, HK$26,000,000, Sha Tin, 3-24, NH/SH 4yo, 2000mT, 1:59.85, gd/fm.
1–MASSIVE SOVEREIGN (IRE), 126, g, 4, by No Nay Never
                1st Dam: Sweet Charity (Fr) (SW-Fr & GSP-US, $170,312),
                                by Myboycharlie (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Sapfo (Fr), by Peintre Celebre
                3rd Dam: Granadilla (GB), by Zafonic
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. (€620,000 Ylg '21 GOFSEP). O-Chan
Kam Hung. B-Lynch Bages, Ltd. & Summerhill Bloodstock.
T-Dennis Yip. J-Zac Purton. HK$14,560,000. Lifetime Record:
7-4-2-0, HK$16,570,382. Click for the
   free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Werk Nick
   Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Galaxy Patch (Aus), 126, g, 4, Wandjina (Aus)–Voltara (Aus),
by More Than Ready. (A$50,000 Ylg '21 MMLMAR). O-Yeung
King Man. B-Summerset Park Stud (SA). T-Pierre Ng.
HK$5,460,000.
3–Ka Ying Generation (Ire), 126, g, 4, Churchill (Ire)–War
Goddess (Ire), by Champs Elysees (GB). O-Happy Ka Ying
Syndicate. B-Whisperview Trading, Ltd. (Ire). T-Pierre Ng.
HK$2,990,000.
Margins: NK, 3/4, 3. Odds: 3.40, 6.20, 39.00.
Also Ran: Chill Chibi (NZ), Unbelievable, Chancheng Glory, Speed Dragon (NZ), Helios Express (Aus), Helene Feeling (Ire), Star Mac (Aus), Elliptical (Aus), Ensued, Simple Hedge (Aus), Beauty Crescent (Ire). Click for the HKJC chart, PPs and sectional timing.

 

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