Voyage Bubble 'Bursts' Onto Scene In Stewards' Cup

Voyage Bubble claims his first Group 1 | HKJC photo


Make no mistake. Even a sidelined Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) remains the king of the hill among Hong Kong milers, if not the entire planet.

The 8-year-old showed he still had plenty to give with a remarkable first-up performance from a terrible draw in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile Dec. 10, and the horse he beat that day, Voyage Bubble (Aus) (Deep Field {Aus}), showed that his effort was anything but a one-off, outlasting Beauty Eternal (Aus) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) in Sunday's G1 Stewards' Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Having belied rough odds to cause a surprise in last year's BMW Hong Kong Derby over 10 furlongs, Voyage Bubble has been kept to the mile thus far this season, and his effort last month ensured that he'd have the target on his back Sunday. The $1.90 favourite put himself right into the early mix, as California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) set a modest tempo in advance of Beauty Eternal. When the latter pushed away from his spot at the fence, Voyage Bubble was hung out three deep at the 600 metres, but was still going well, as the longer-winded Straight Arron (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) launched a four-wide bid at the top of the straight. Zac Purton sent Beauty Eternal past the pacesetter approaching the furlong grounds, but Voyage Bubble had his measure and finished his race off slightly the better for the victory. Beauty Joy (Aus) (Sebring {Aus}) ran on decently for third.

“I was in a nice, controlling position where I felt like if the pace slackened–which it did–that I was in a free-rolling position and I had enough room around so that I could go when I wanted to go and it worked out perfectly,” said jockey James McDonald, who recently completed a short-term contract in Hong Kong and was jetting in from Australia for Sunday's ride. “He put in a fantastic run in the International Mile and backed it up today. There's no heir apparent to Golden Sixty, but we're happy to be the next man jogging on the spot, so to speak, and we're probably lucky the champ wasn't there.”

Trainer Ricky Yiu has given Voyage Bubble an entry for the G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan Mar. 30 and is also considering the G1 Doncaster Mile H. at Randwick at The Championships a week later. For his part, McDonald believes Voyage Bubble would not be out of his depth.

“He's going to be a force to be reckoned with here and a flagbearer for the horses here and I'm just looking forward to seeing where he fits in, obviously being such a young, progressive horse,” McDonald said.




Pedigree Notes:

As previously mentioned, Deep Field is the leading sire in Hong Kong by number of winners and progeny earnings. Voyage Bubble is the stallion's second elite-level scorer in Hong Kong, joining Longines Hong Kong Sprint hero Sky Field (Aus), and fourth overall. Deep Field, who was removed from stud duties at Newgate Farm last year due to an inability to get his mares in foal, is now the sire of 16 winners overall at group level. Rahy has now been represented by 20 Group 1/Grade I winners out of his daughters.

Given the sire's popularity locally, the Hong Kong Jockey Club signed for three yearlings at the recently concluded Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale for A$1.775 million, including a son of listed-placed Merited (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) for A$800,000.

Torryburn Stud, also the breeders of Hong Kong Group 1 winner Hot King Prawn (Aus) (Denman {Aus}), raced the dam of Voyage Bubble to four wins from 26 starts and she has since produced seven winners from seven to race, including the Group 3 winner Diddums (Aus) and the 4-year-old gelding Seventies Hit (Aus) (Your Song {Aus}), a maiden winner at Beaudesert in Queensland Dec. 30.

A half-sister to Listed Rockingham S. winner multiple Group 2-placed Bannock (Ire) (Bertolini) and Australian stakes winner Moulin (Aus) (Reset {Aus}), Raheights has not produced a foal since Seventies Hit and was most recently covered by Home Affairs (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}) last Nov. 7. Voyage Bubble's third dam produced Canadian Horse of the Year Never Retreat (Smart Strike).

Sunday, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
STEWARDS' CUP-G1, HK$13,000,000, Sha Tin, 1-21, 3yo/up, 1600mT, 1:33.97, gd.
1–VOYAGE BUBBLE (AUS), 126, g, 5, by Deep Field (Aus)
1st Dam: Raheights (Aus), by Rahy
2nd Dam: Laoub, by Red Ransom
3rd Dam: Lisieux, by Steady Growth
1ST GROUP WIN, 1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (A$380,000 Ylg '20 INGFEB). O-Sunshine and Moonlight Syndicate; B-Torryburn Stud (NSW); T-Ricky Yiu; J-James McDonald; HK$7,280,000. Lifetime Record: 15-6-4-2, HK$41,052,975. *1/2 to Diddums (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), GSW-Aus, $164,688. Werk Nick Rating: C. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Beauty Eternal (Aus), 126, g, 5, Starspangledbanner (Aus)–Ithacan Queen (NZ), by Savabeel (Aus). (A$90,000 Ylg '20 INGFEB). O-Patrick Kwok Ho Chuen; B-P Raftopoulos (Vic); T-John Size; J-Zac Purton; HK$2,730,000.
3–Beauty Joy (Aus), 126, g, 7, Sebring (Aus)–Impressive Jeuney (Aus), by Jeune (GB). O-Eleanor Kwok Lai Kwan Chun & Patrick Kwok Ho Chuen; B-Impressive Racing Pty Ltd (WA); T-Tony Cruz; J-Derek Leung; HK$1,495,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 1, 1 1/4. Odds: 9-10, 23-10, 11-1.
Also Ran: California Spangle (Ire), Fantastic Treasure, Straight Arron (Aus), Russian Emperor (Ire), Healthy Happy (Aus). Click for the HKJC chart, PPs and sectional timing.

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