Time called on Kiwi champion in HK

The curtain has come down on the stellar Hong Kong racing career of the New Zealand-bred star Ambitious Dragon (NZ) (Pins).

Twice crowned Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year, he was also the dual winner of the champion miler award and a two-time champion middle distance performer, such was his talent and versatility.

Ambitious Dragon has retired with a record of 13 wins from 30 starts with stakes of HK$58,722,850 (about $NZ9.8 million) to make him the sixth-highest earner in Hong Kong history.

Trainer Tony Millard guided the brilliant son of Pins to a host of big-race successes at Sha Tin, notably Group One victories in the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the 2012 Longines Hong Kong Mile with a further five wins at the top level, including the Hong Kong Derby.

The bay with the electric burst of speed achieved a peak international rating of 124, which ranked him as the equal 11th best horse in the world in 2013.

“In my opinion, he is as good as you get and why I say that is because he was so versatile,” Millard said.

“I have yet to see a horse in my time here in Hong Kong win Group One races at 1400, 1600, 1800 and 2000 metres. I haven’t seen another horse do that in the 16 years I’ve been here.

“That type of versatility you just don’t get and that is why a champion has no distance – that horse is a champion, he can do it – and that, to me, was Ambitious Dragon.

“He was unique. We just had to look after him carefully because he was very fragile like many good horses are. He was also special because he was a quiet, laid-back horse. He was basically a gentle giant.

“I was humbled that he did come my way and that we managed to develop him, because you don’t often get the chance as a trainer to be able to do that. It is the ultimate to have a really good horse and train it the way you would like and I have got to thank Johnson Lam because he left it to me.”

Ambitious Dragon was selected and purchased from breeder Pat Lowry as a yearling for Lam by the Masterton-based bloodstock agent Bruce Perry.

-NZ Racing Desk

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