Kiwi duo star on Hong Kong stage

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

The Hong Kong rac­ing scene is far re­moved from what we know and ex­pe­ri­ence in New Zealand, but the two came to­gether last week when Aerov­e­loc­ity won his sec­ond Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Sprint.

The Kiwi con­nec­tion to the cham­pion sprinter is un­de­ni­able – he was sired by Waikato Stud stal­lion Pins, his breed­ers are Wind­sor Park Stud prin­ci­pals Nel­son Schick and Steve Till and he is trained by former Mata­mata con­di­tioner Paul O’Sul­li­van.

Aerov­e­loc­ity is no or­di­nary horse. Af­ter be­gin­ning his ca­reer with a de­but win as a three-yearold in New Zealand, at eight years old he is now the win­ner of 12 races across four coun­tries and his bankroll is now nudg­ing the equiv­a­lent of NZ$10 mil­lion.

De­scribed by his trainer as the tough­est horse amongst the thou­sands he has put a bri­dle on and a ‘‘war­rior in ev­ery sense of the world’’, Aerov­e­loc­ity had to be teak-tough to rise to his lat­est mo­men­tous vic­tory.

When he won his first Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Sprint in late 2014, he went on to add Group One sprints in Ja­pan and Sin­ga­pore.

A heart ir­reg­u­lar­ity scut­tled plans to de­fend his Hong Kong ti­tle at last year’s in­ter­na­tional meet­ing and once that was dealt with the fo­cus shifted to the same Ja­panese race he had won the pre­vi­ous March.

All was go­ing to plan un­til just days out from the race Aerov­e­loc­ity was struck down with colic.

Al­though he did not re­quire surgery, the tar­geted race was out of the ques­tion and he re­turned to Hong Kong to pick up the pieces.

Since then it had been a mat­ter of steady as she goes head­ing to­wards the rich­est sprint race on the Hong Kong cal­en­dar and it all came to­gether at Sha Tin on De­cem­ber 11 with the most mem­o­rable per­for­mance of the big bay’s ca­reer.

There to wit­ness the oc­ca­sion was Paul O’Sul­li­van’s father Dave, with whom he had shared so many big wins out of Wex­ford Sta­bles, tim­ing his visit around

Paul’s 57th birth­day and the big race meet­ing a few days later.

‘‘It was just fan­tas­tic for Paul and the horse,’’ said the vet­eran Hall of Fame trainer.

‘‘He’s so tough, once he gets to the front they’ve got to get past him and once again they couldn’t.’’

SUP­PLIED

The Paul O’Sul­li­van-trained Aerov­e­loc­ity fights off the favourite Lucky Bub­bles.

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