Kiwi duo star on Hong Kong stage
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.’’
The Paul O’Sullivan-trained Aerovelocity fights off the favourite Lucky Bubbles.