The success of Hong Kong superstar Good Ba Ba will have an impact that goes way beyond the horse’s racing lifetime, with owner John Yuen Se-kit announcing this week the creation of the Good Ba Ba Foundation.
Yuen said that 70% of all prize money won by Good Ba Ba would go to the foundation, which will be invested with a view to supporting special charities and projects on a long-term basis.
Yuen said he has already given HK$1.6 million to accredited agencies working for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake disaster in China, and HK$1.3 million to support the Equestrian Games of the Beijing Olympics, all in the name of Good Ba Ba.
Good Ba Ba, whose Cantonese name Ho Ba Ba means “good father”, has been touched by the way the public has adopted the racehorse who was deliberately named as a statement about the importance that good fathers represent to families and the greater community.
"The people of Hong Kong have really embraced Good Ba Ba as their horse, they have given him great support,” Yuen said. “This foundation gives my family the chance to return that support, and to allow the achievements of Good Ba Ba to flow back to the people of Hong Kong, and China, for many years to come.”
Good Ba Ba has rewritten the record books this season, becoming the first horse to make a cleansweep of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s four major mile races, and throwing in a defeat of Sacred Kingdom in the group I Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup for good measure.
The gelding continues to be a running advertisement for the Hong Kong International Sale, where he was purchased originally by trainer Alex Wong Yu-on, who took him to the title of champion griffin in his first season and right through to Class One as a 4-year-old.
Since being transferred to Andreas Schutz 18 months ago, Good Ba Ba has become a revelation, winning eight of his next 11 starts including two international group Is this season --- the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile and the Champions Mile.
As the winner of four group I races this term, as well as being the conqueror of Sacred Kingdom (albeit controversially), he is an odds-on favorite to be Horse of the Year.
Good Ba Ba has already won HK$32,466,500 in prize money but at his next start, in the Group One Yasuda Kinen (1,600m) in Tokyo, he will compete for one of the richest prizes in world horse racing --- slightly over HK$15 million.
First prize in the Yasuda is Yen 100 million (HK$7.42) and, as the winner of the Champions Mile, he is also eligible for an Asian Mile Challenge bonus of US$1 million (HK$7.8 million). The double is certainly achievable, having been won by Bullish Luck just two years ago.
Yuen has not been keen to travel Good Ba Ba away from Hong Kong before, and earlier in the year turned his back on the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free to stay at home. But the creation of the Good Ba Ba Foundation and the big prize available in Japan has changed the businessman’s perspective. Good Ba Ba is now racing for a lot more than the pleasure of John Yuen.
Good Ba Ba is already in Japan, and trainer Schutz said last night the gelding arrived “fit and well” after traveling safely and uneventfully.