O’Sullivan flying high care of Aerovelocity
12 December 2014
The rapid rise of leading Longines Hong Kong Sprint chance Aerovelocity has coincided with the resurgence of Paul O’Sullivan’s stable and victory on Sunday on Hong Kong International Day would thrust the Kiwi trainer even further into the limelight.
His stable numbers dwindling, O’Sullivan took stock at the beginning of last term and a new assistant trainer arrived in the form of Pierre Ng, son of former trainer Peter Ng, before Aerovelocity rattled off five straight wins and went from Class Three to Class One.
O’Sullivan’s stable numbers have nearly doubled since Aerovelocity arrived in his yard and the son of Pins took another step with a dramatic victory in the Gr.2 Premier Bowl first-up. The come-from-behind victory took the six-year-old’s rating to 118 and assured him of a start in the Hong Kong Sprint.
Aerovelocity trailed the field home three weeks ago when 14th in the Hong Kong Sprint Trial, but was denied clear-running for much of the straight in an incident-packed race and punters have been quick to dismiss the run, backing the six-year-old gelding into $5.50 favourite.
“We’ve got 51 horses in work and two seasons ago we had 26,” said O’Sullivan, who has endured some lean returns in recent seasons. “We’ve been below mid-table for a few years now, but I would like to think we should be in the top 10.
“We looked at our horses’ diets, work routines, our method … everything, and made the necessary changes.
“Pierre has been tremendous – he has just brought everyone together. A horse like Aerovelocity certainly helps, too.
“The tide goes in and out here, but when you have horses like him running consistently throughout the season, then more people are going to come to you with horses.”
Aerovelocity has drawn barrier seven in Sunday’s sprint feature and champion jockey Zac Purton will continue his association with the talented speedster.
“I’m happy with that gate,” O’Sullivan said. “He should be able to get a nice run from there. I’d rather have drawn seven than one – Buffering will go forward and he’s a good one to follow.”
An 11-time champion trainer in New Zealand, O’Sullivan has won numerous majors around the world, including the Japan Cup with Horlicks and the Cox Plate with Surfers Paradise, when training in partnership with his father Dave.
Having arrived in Hong Kong in 2004, the 55-year-old has prepared a Hong Kong Derby winner in Vital King and a Stewards’ Cup winner in Fellowship (O’Reilly), but should Aerovelocity salute in Sunday’s International Sprint, you get a sense it will be O’Sullivan’s proudest moment to date. – NZ Racing Desk