Benzini stands up for Bulls
Benzini has flown the Kiwi flag with pride in finishing sixth on one of horse racing’s biggest days.
The New Zealand-trained stayer was taking on some of the best gallopers in the world in the Group I Longines Hong Kong Vase in front of more than 80,000 punters at Sha Tin on Sunday evening (NZT).
Benzini, a $137 outsider to win the race, is trained at Hunterville, less than an hour’s drive inland from Whanganui, by father and son team Adrian and Harry Bull.
The sixth placing exceeds the expectations of what many Kiwis expected in the race worth $2.9 million.
Benzini’s sixth placing will net the Bull family, who own the horse, around $60,000.
Sunday’s race was won by 20-1 shot Satono Crown, in the hands of champion jockey Joao Moreira, for Japanese trainer Hajime Satomi.
Last year’s winner Highland Reel, a $1.50 favourite, was half a head behind in second.
Benzini’s regular jockey Rosie Myers made the most of the opportunity as she made all the right moves to give her mount the most economical trip she could have over the 2400m journey.
Myers settled Benzini at the pack of the back from their wide draw and hugged the rail all the way.
They were held up in the run home but with 150m to run Benzini looked a massive chance of running third.
He was unable to catch the eventual third placegetter One Foot In Heaven and then was only run down by Nuovo Record and Smart Layer in the shadows of the post to be pushed back to sixth.
There was a New Zealand flavour to the 1200m Hong Kong Sprint when Aerovelocity, trained by expat Paul O’Sullivan, repeated his win in the race of two years ago.
‘‘He gives everything he’s got. I had a lovely run and he ambled up. He’s all heart,’’ said winning jockey Zac Purton.
Aerovelocity beat Lucky Bubbles by a short head with last year’s winner Peniaphobia, who led for much of the race, three-quarters of a length third.
Aerovelocity was bred by Windsor Park Stud’s Nelson Schick and Steve Till, being by Waikato Stud stallion out of a Kaapstad mare, Exodus.
Japanese horse, Satono Crown, won the Hong Kong Vase (2400m).
Benzini and Rosie Myers have done New Zealand proud at one of the world’s most prestigious race meetings.