Win Beauty Win takes the Griffin Trophy under Zac Purton.
©Hong Kong Jockey Club
By Andrew Hawkins
Trainer Paul O’Sullivan believes that Win Beauty Win is well-placed to progress as a handy staying prospect with further maturity after the son of Makfi produced a stirring three-length win in the Griffin Trophy (1400m) for three-year-olds at Sha Tin on Saturday (23 December).
Both O’Sullivan and jockey Zac Purton credited the addition of blinkers for helping Win Beauty Win to fulfil his potential, after he idled last time out when looming as the winner. He finished a head second to Sparkling Dragon over the same course and distance as Saturday’s feature.
“He was better with the blinkers today,” Purton said. “Last time, he was looking around, he was very lazy and he didn’t commit himself. So we put the blinkers on him and it obviously made the difference today. When I gave him that squeeze, he lengthened nicely and the best part of his race was the last little bit.”
“The blinkers were the key factor, they made a big difference,” O’Sullivan added. “He got a nice run in transit and it all worked out.”
O’Sullivan’s brother Lance spent NZ$75,000 at the 2016 NZB Select Yearling Sale at Karaka to purchase Win Beauty Win, who hails from the Song Of Norway family that also features – among a number of top sprinters – champion mare Black Caviar. First impressions for the Hong Kong-based handler, however, were not impressive.
“I happened to be there the day he was broken in, they put the roller on him and he bucked like nothing I’d ever seen, he was roguish. But he trialled well at Cambridge and Simon Kwok had asked me to find a PPG for him, so he bought this bloke and the rest is history,” O’Sullivan said of the horse raced by Kwok’s daughter Kitty. “That’s my first horse for the Kwok family, they put a lot of money into Hong Kong racing and maybe they will give me a chance to find another one for them now!
“He’s still not the easiest horse,” Purton concurred. “He’s not easy to get to the gate and in there, he’s a bit difficult. He’s not straightforward, that’s for sure.”
It was O’Sullivan’s second win in the Griffin Trophy in four years. The handler produced Line Seeker to score in 2014 off a mark of 63, eventually progressing him to a triple-figure rating, and he thinks Win Beauty Win – who was rated 62 heading into this year’s Griffin Trophy – could find himself on a similar trajectory.
“The race is not open to all horses so you never know quite how good your opposition is,” the Kiwi trainer said. “These could be horses that are bound for Class 3 and no higher. I think though you saw the best three horses race clear there, I reckon if you look in two years the form will stand up.
“I’ll probably rest him now for a month or so, bring him back for the back half of the season for a couple of runs. Six runs as a three-year-old is fairly taxing in Hong Kong. Then we’ll bring him back as a four-year-old and we’ll see where he goes, maybe he could be a Derby prospect for 2019, although it’s a tough ask for a PPG. He’s got the pedigree to go beyond a mile, though, Makfi has produced some staying types.”
Win Beauty Win (122lb) raced three lengths clear of Ricky Yiu-trained Alcari (122lb), who was niggled at throughout by rider Karis Teetan, with Michael Freedman’s Sparking Dragon (125lb) a further head away in third after leading under Sam Clipperton. The winner recorded a time of 1m 22.55s, the slowest Griffin Trophy since 2012.
Racing returns at Happy Valley on Wednesday night (27 December) for the final Hong Kong meeting of 2017.