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QE2 Cup – It Takes A Strong Man To Win It!

From Kenilworth to a big day at Sha Tin - Tony Millard saddles the 5yo

While there is plenty of support for Mike de Kock’s Ertijaal, the South African horseracing industry will be united behind a former Glen Puller-trained Sophomore Sprint winner in Sunday’s HK$20 million Audemars Piguet Gr1 QEII Cup at Sha Tin.

His name is Horse Of Fortune and he is trained these days by Tony Millard, who recently saddled his 500th winner in Hong Kong.

The gelding was called Strongman in his racing days in the Cape where he was unbeaten in his first three starts, culminating in his Listed Sophomore Sprint win in the hands of Karl Neisius.

Then…

Strong Man

Then – Strongman (Karl Neisius) wins the Listed Sophomore Sprint in easy fashion (Equine Edge)

That was close on three years ago and it is interesting to see two familiar names in the partnership that once raced him – a certain Messrs Robinson and Carruthers – whom we know better these days as the owners of the inaugural CTS Million Dollar winner, Illuminator.

A serious contender on Sunday in one of the world’s great Gr1 races, and even though he is programmed as representing Hong Kong, Horse Of Fortune had very African beginnings.

Now…

House Of Fortune wins Happy Valley Vase

Karis Teetan steers Horse Of Fortune to an easy Happy Valley Vase win at his last start

He was bred by Robin Bruss and Kevin Sommerville under the Northfields Stud banner, and purchased for R150 000 at the 2012 Cape Premier Yearling Sale. That’s good economics – on Sunday he races for a first cheque in the region of R10 million!

He is the first stakes winner from the second crop of former Summerhill resident Stronghold, who died after just two seasons at stud.

He is out of the talented former Riaan Van Reenen-trained Sweet Virginia (Casey Tibbs), who raced out of Phillipi and defeated her male rivals in both the Gr3 Winter Classic and Winter Derby.

This is a branch of the high-class ‘Milly’ family which in recent times has also produced champion Dancewiththedevil and graded stakes winners Bushra and Mighty Doll.

Interestingly Horse Of Fortune has a half-brother on next week’s National Yearling Sale. He is a handsome colt by Twice Over and is catalogued as Lot 367.

And what of his chances on Sunday?

Supreme Flight makes it 500 Hong Kong wins for trainer Tony Millard (photo: HKJC)

Supreme Flight makes it 500 Hong Kong wins for trainer Tony Millard (photo: HKJC)

The Fantastic Five Syndicate owned Horse Of Fortune has won his last two starts, both Class 1 races, and taken his season earnings to $4,536,475.

A Happy Valley specialist, he was ridden by regular pilot, Mauritian rider Karis Teetan, who completed his training and early career in South Africa, to win the Happy Valley Vase at his last start.

At the time Tony Millard labelled Horse Of Fortune a typical South African-bred horse that needed more time to acclimatise and that would mature as the term progressed.

With Strongman’s/ Horse Of Fortune’s three opening wins achieved on soft ground at Kenilworth, and the Sha Tin track likely to come up similarly on Sunday, we can expect a big run from the 5yo.

The runners:

Horse (Brand No)

Representing

Trainer

Wt.

Int’l Rating

Rtg.+/-

BLAZING SPEED (P192)

HONG KONG

A S Cruz

126

121

125 (-1)

HIGHLAND REEL (V623)

IRELAND

A P O’Brien

126

121

LOVELY DAY (V631)

JAPAN

Y Ikee

126

121

DESIGNS ON ROME (P270)

HONG KONG

J Moore

126

119

127 (+0)

MILITARY ATTACK (N175)

HONG KONG

C Fownes

126

119

126 (-1)

HELENE HAPPY STAR (T104)

HONG KONG

J Moore

126

117

120 (+0)

SATONO CROWN (V632)

JAPAN

N Hori

126

117

HELENE SUPER STAR (S152)

HONG KONG

A S Cruz

126

115

110 (-2)

ERTIJAAL (V633)

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

M F de Kock

126

114

WERTHER (V083)

HONG KONG

J Moore

126

113

108 (+2)

HORSE OF FORTUNE (T118)

HONG KONG

A T Millard

126

111

111 (+11)

NUOVO RECORD (V617)

JAPAN

M Saito

122

115

RISING ROMANCE (V634)

AUSTRALIA

D A Hayes

122

111

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