Sacred Magnate gave Macau's Derby King Joe Lau his fourth Derby victory, when he scored a last stride win over Star of Yiu Cheung in the 29th running of the coveted race last July. In typical Lau fashion the son of Foxwedge (Aus) was immediately sent for a spell. The gelding did not return to the racetrack until five months later when from gate 13 he ran a first rate fifth, only beaten three and a half lengths to Gon Sai Baau over 1200 metres on February 2.
The run was to be the perfect pipe opener for his next assignment on February 27, until he was forced to withdraw with some lameness issues.
"It wasn't anything major, just a little soreness that he pulled up with after his final gallop before that race." Lau said. "We were in no rush so you don't even take risk, I just rested him."
In a pre-race interview before Saturday, Lau mentioned the gelding had missed some work leading up to Saturday's race, but added that he was a clean winded horse and he fully expected him to go well before saying, "Whatever he does Saturday he will improve on."
Sent out a $40.00 favorite, Sacred Magnate was bounced out of gate six by his Derby winning jockey Stephane Ladjadj to share the speed with Electroplate Alloy and Onerofthegreats. At the first corner he let the leaders go and slotted back with the run of the race in fourth spot.
In the home straight Electroplate Alloy (Roger Yu) darted away and momentary was looking home, before Sacred Magnate unleashed a dazzling turn of to foot to race straight on by of him and run way for an easy four and quarter lengths win.
"That was impressive, Stephane (Ladjadj) gave him a beautiful ride, put him in a great spot and the horse done the rest."
"Its bad luck that the Covid Virus has hit us; in a normal year he would be the perfect horse for the Hong Kong Macau Trophy, and like Sacred Capital, he would be worthy of a tilt at Group 3 in Hong Kong." The normally reserved Lau commented.
"In the meantime, we will just look at our local races and go from there. He still has a lot of upside to him this horse."
Sacred Magnate was originally a A$155,000 purchase at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Million Yearling Sales and was placed with Leon and Troy Corstens at Flemington. From his six runs in Victoria the gelding was only out of the money twice, with a win in a Yarra Valley and a close fifth beaten 2.4 lengths in the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington.
The gelding was then purchased by Macau owner Mr. Eric Chen Ching Lung with the Derby in mind. In his seven runs in the enclave the gelding has won two races, and is already nudging the $1.5 million HKD mark in prize money.
Draft Camp was another horse on Saturday that overcame an injury scare to score a brilliant win in the 2nd Division of the Class 3 over 1200 metres under top jockey Luis Corrales.
Prepared by Geoff Allendorf, Draft Camp succumbed to stone bruise on his near fore foot early in the week and a start on Saturday was looking grim, right up until race evening.
"It was a bit of bad luck that happened, but full marks to my farrier and the vet staff for their help in getting him to the races. He was always going to take plenty of beating and Luis gave him a lovely ride." Allendorf said.
In a race run at hot speed with Roaring Fans and Lucky Gold setting the tempo. Draft Camp was spotting the leaders 10 lengths at the six hundred metre point. Once in the straight the black gelding produced a dynamic burst to fly down the outside and win running away by nearly two lengths over Pursuing Eagle (Fausto Henrique), with Heartgoodallwell (Charlie Chan) in third.
The five-year-olds run time of 1.08.9 was .03 faster than the 1st Division later won by Gorgeous Bomb.
Draft Camp has now had 14 runs in Macau for four wins and five placings and has amassed owner Mr. Melvyn Ford close to $750,000 in prize money.
Luis Corrales made it a double for the afternoon with Danny Wong's New Zealand import Gorgeous Bomb , who led throughout from his outside gate in a good strong win in the 1st Division of the Class 3 over 1200 metres.
Gorgeous Bomb had originally raced in New Zealand as Copper Mine, where he won two races and placed second twice from his ten runs for trainer Catherine Cameron. The son of All To Hard (Aus) has now won three races in Macau for new owner Mr. John Ma Hung Ming.
Ricky Choi and Peter Ho combined for a double on Saturday's card with Fortune Lady in the Class 6 over 1500 metres, and Sport General in the 4 & 5 over 1200 metres.
Fortune Lady is one of very few mares racing in the enclave and only goes to scale at 970 pounds; but that did not stop the diminutive galloper from powering home through the pack to win well over Wing Wo (Eric Cheung), with General Fu Hao (Fausto Henrique) in third.
Choi and Ho combined again with Sport General to take out the last of the day, when the son of Toronado (Ire) burst through late along the inside to snatch victory right on the line over Kelvin's Choice (Fausto Henrique), with Yings Fans (Breinell Yamzon) in third.
Sport General took 13 starts to break his maiden status a fortnight back with Ho on top, and has now won two on the hop. After a frustrating run of six placings last season the chestnut has come back a much stronger four-year-old, and will continue to pay his way in the low to mid-grade races.