Ambitious Dragon retains Hong Kong Horse of the Year crown Mon, 16 Jul 2012
Last month’s history-making Royal Ascot winner Little Bridge earned the Most Popular Horse and Champion Sprinter titles in yesterday’s Hong Kong Champions Awards announcements, but the ultimate Horse of the Year trophy again went to fellow New Zealand-bred five-year-old Ambitious Dragon.
As a four-year-old last season, the son of Pins earned his award with a form sequence headed by wins in the Hong Kong Derby and Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes. In the 2011-12 season additional victories in the Stewards’ Cup and Citibank Hong Kong Cup were sufficient for a successful defence of his champion’s crown. Ambitious Dragon also took out the Champion Middle-distance and Champion Miler awards.
There was no surprise that Faltaat gelding Little Bridge claimed the Champion Sprinter award for his Gr. 1 King’s Stand Stakes win, the first ever at Royal Ascot by a horse trained in Hong Kong as well as by a New Zealand-bred.
The Danny Shum-trained bay also gained the recognition of Hong Kong racing fans who voted him the clear-cut winner of the Most Popular Horse award.
Two lifetime achievement awards were also handed out, one to the former champion sprinter Sacred Kingdom and the other to evergreen New Zealand-bred veteran Able One. The son of Cape Cross added yet another big win when taking out the Gr. 1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile at last December’s international meeting.
True to tradition on the final day of the season, yesterday’s Sha Tin race meeting proved a betting bonanza, with turnover on the 10 races amounting to HK$1.47 billion (NZ$238 million). That completed a season of high turnovers totalling more than HK$86 billion (NZ$14 billion), an increase of more than seven per cent up on the previous season.