Nandowra Back in Style at Kranji
24 March 2011
Ambitious Dragon Proving a Dream Come True Horse
Hong Kong-based businessman Johnson Lam enjoyed a dream come true result when his Pins galloper Ambitious Dragon (NZ) stormed home to claim last Sunday’s HK-1 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby (2000m).
Lam, who has been racing horses since 1965, was in part able to realise this lifelong dream thanks to the early assistance received from Kiwi Bloodstock Agent, Bruce Perry.
In April of 2008, Perry purchased Ambitious Dragon out of breeder Pat Lowry’s paddock as a yearling.
“Guy Lowry said his dad (Pat) had a horse for sale and as soon as I saw him, I said ‘I’ll take him’ ,” said Perry.
“I’m not sure exactly what it was about him. He was a big, leggy, weak horse who needed time, but he just grabbed you. He had this lovely presence and he just said ‘take me home’”.
Having previously sold Lam the Gr.1 winner Ambitious Owner, Perry had the striking Pins yearling successfully sold within five minutes of viewing.
“When we got home, he continued to impress us. He just had such an amazing temperament – everyone loved him. As a result, we said to his owners before we even knew if he could gallop, that we’d be happy for him to come back to us when he retired.”
Sent out the $2.20 hot favourite owing to his last start win in the HK-1 Hong Kong Classic Cup , the said Anthony Millard-prepared galloper made light of his extreme outside draw, crossing sweetly under jockey Maxime Guyon to settle 11th.
With 200m to run, however, Ambitious Dragon had the Derby well and truly at his mercy, powering to the line for a ¾ length win and into strong international reckoning.
According to Hong Kong’s proprietary speed ratings, this was the highest-rating edition of the Derby since it was extended to 2,000 metres and, even without further improvement, his 122 rating puts Ambitious Dragon squarely into international Group One company.
“You get a horse like this just once or twice in a lifetime and I just feel lucky to have him,” confirmed Millard of the horse’s star Hong Kong status after the race.
Guyon echoed such praise.
“I only had to whip him once. I think he is sure to be an international Group 1 horse of the future,” he said.
To this end, the superstar Hong Kong galloper will look to add a 5th consecutive win to his resume this term in the HK 14 million Gr.1 Audemars Piguet QE II Cup (2000m) on May 1st.