(from Hong Kong Jockey Club)
Inspiration led home a shocking Hong Kong-based exacta in the Dec. 14 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint (HK-I) at Sha Tin under a brilliant ride from Darren Beadman.
John Moore's runner, a huge outsider at 67-1, just got the better off his fellow local runner Green Birdie by a neck. Australian-based Apache Cat, the favorite, was a half-length back in third. The race was worth HK$12 million (US$1.56 million).
It was the seventh consecutive success for a Hong Kong-trained horse in this race, one of the world's richest turf events over 1,200 meters (six furlongs). Australian-bred horses have now won this dash in every edition since its inauguration in 1999.
"He jumped into the bridle and I was in the right spot, tracking the favorite, when I pulled him out he sprinted really well,” said Beadman.
Inspiration covered the distance over a “good” turf course in 1:08.68. The early splits of the race were :23.52 and :45.85.
The winner was bred in Australia by Arrowfield Pastoral. The 5-year-old gelding is a son of Flying Spur—La Bamba, by Last Tycoon. He came into the race off a seventh-place finish Nov. 23 at Sha Tin in the Cathy Pacific International Sprint Trial. His win was his seventh in 23 career starts.
This year the first five home had roots from Down Under. Europe's top sprinter, Marchand D'Or, could only manage sixth.
"It's been a long year, a break could have made a difference,” said jockey Davy Bonilla of Marchand D’Or. “I have no excuses. He blew up."
A delighted but amazed Moore said: "We put him in for the run. It's amazing. Mark Player (the Hong Kong Jockey Club's head of international races, sales, and development) rang and asked if we would like to run and I said, 'Why not'?"
"It's a surprise but it was a gem of a ride from Darren as he was able to tuck in behind them. He has always shown abundant speed and at today he had the right run."
Trainer Greg Eurell, responsible for Apache Cat, said: "No excuses, he hit a flat spot as he always does in his races, but then he ran on again, but just didn't have enough petrol in the tank today."