Rapper Dragon Named Hong Kong Horse of the Year

Rapper Dragon Named Hong Kong Horse of the Year
Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club
Rapper Dragon

Rapper Dragon claimed the Hong Kong Horse of the Year award at a sparkling ceremony held July 14 at the Grand Hyatt. Hong Kong's standout 4-year-old made history during the season when he became the first horse to win all three legs of Hong Kong's 4-year-old classic series.

John Moore's stable star had an outstanding sophomore Hong Kong campaign with four wins from six starts before suffering a catastrophic injury in the Champions Mile (G1). The gelding, who raced in the blue and red silks of owner Albert Hung, improved sharply after a smart seasonal appearance at December's Longines Hong Kong International Race meeting, displaying superiority over his peers in the Hong Kong Classic Mile and Hong Kong Classic Cup, and then completing a sweep of Hong Kong's three-race 4-year-old classic series in the BMW Hong Kong Derby.

"This is a really classy animal," Moore said after the Derby victory. "I'll call him my champion because he's won me a Derby."

Rapper Dragon was also named the Champion middle-distance horse, based on his brilliant performances in the Hong Kong Classic Cup and the BMW Hong Kong Derby. The ascendant chestnut then impressed again when taking on a group of proven elders in the grade 2 Chairman's Trophy to land his second group race win in his career, having won the Lion Rock Trophy (G3) as a 3-year-old during his first season in Hong Kong. 

Meanwhile, Rapper Dragon also secured 57.5% of the public vote to claim the most popular horse title.

Beauty Only was named the season's champion miler. The Tony Cruz-trained 6-year-old won two of his nine starts, including the Longines Hong Kong Mile (G1) and the BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile (G2). 

The champion sprinter award went to the retired Aerovelocity, who also won this award in the 2014/15 season. The Pins gelding is rated as one of the toughest horses ever to have competed on the Hong Kong circuit. 

2015/16 Hong Kong Horse of the Year Werther claimed the champion stayer title this season. The John Moore-trained stalwart won the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (G1), one of only three mile-and-a-half races staged in Hong Kong, to seal the award. 

Premiere, a 3-year-old from the John Size stable with three eye-catching wins from 12 starts, claimed the champion Griffin Award.

Size sealed the champion trainer title for a ninth time and Joao Moreira the champion jockey title for a third consecutive season. 

The season's most popular jockey and the winner of the Tony Cruz Award will be revealed during racing at the July 16 season finale at Sha Tin. Most improved horse of the year will also be awarded on that day.

The recently retired champions Able Friend and Aerovelocity were honored with lifetime achievement awards in recognition of their great contributions to Hong Kong racing.

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