Hiflyer on an extended break
Trainer Peter Lock has resisted the temptation to bring talented galloper Hiflyer back into work.
The Group One performer is currently spelling after suffering a back injury.
"He had a pulled muscle over his back and he is right now," Lock said.
"The vets had a look at him and said he could probably come into work now but I am going to give him a good break and let him strengthen.
"He has done extremely well on his break and they have done a great job at the place where he is."
Hiflyer had six starts during the 2018-19 season with his best performance being a runner-up finish behind Melody Belle in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m).
The six-year-old son of Tavistock races in the colours of breeders and co-owners Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan and has won nine of his 29 starts, with a further 10 placings.
Record prizemoney in HK
Hong Kong racing will offer record prizemoney of HK$1.3 billion (NZ$246.5 million) for the 2019/20 season. Lucrative increases to FWD Champions Day's three Group One races and the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) feature among the Hong Kong Jockey Club's upward adjustments revealed today, Tuesday, 9 July.
The FWD Champions Day fixture has proven to be a huge success in two editions so far. In keeping with its world class status, the Gr.1 FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) has received a HK$1 million boost and will be worth HK$25 million (NZ$4.74 million) in 2020; the Gr.1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) is up HK$2 million to HK$20 million (NZ$3.79 million); and the Gr.1 Chairman's Sprint Prize (1200m) is worth HK$18 million (NZ$3.41 million), an increase of HK$2 million.
The historic BMW Hong Kong Derby is Hong Kong's most important domestic contest and will be worth HK$20 million (NZ$ 3.79 million, a HK$2 million increase on the 2019 renewal.
Total prizemoney for the 2019/20 season's 88 meetings at Sha Tin and Happy Valley is up by 6.5 percent on the 2018/19 season. The purse increases span all handicap races from Class 1 down to Class 5.
"Our owners invest heavily to bring high-quality horses to Hong Kong, which underpins our world-class racing," said Andrew Harding, Executive Director, Racing, at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
"It is important that they are rewarded for their investments and this is reflected in the rises across our five classes of handicap races and the Derby. The BMW Hong Kong Derby is the race every Hong Kong owner wants to win.
They scour the world looking to buy the right horse, their costs are rising in a competitive bloodstock market and it is vital that we offer generous incentives. Our purse increases, including the Derby's new HK$20 million prize fund, are calibrated to recognise this."
New Zealand-bred gallopers have enjoyed another fine season in Hong Kong, winning more black-type races (13) than any other nation. New Zealand-bred horses have won 25.8 percent of races in Hong Kong this season from a supply of 23.5 percent of runners.
Additionally, six of the past 10 Hong Kong Derby winners are New Zealand-bred, including this year's winner Furore.
Wellfield offers bonus opportunity
Wellfield Lodge is encouraging broodmare owners to 'breed with confidence' this year after announcing their stallion fees for the upcoming season.
The Manawatu farm will stand each of their three resident stallions Alamosa, Road to Rock and Vespa, at $5000+GST.
As an added bonus, the farm are offering any breeder that sends two mares to the same stallion an additional incentive. When two mares owned by the same entity are sent to the same stallion, the first mare in foal will be at a cost of $5,000 +GST, and the second mare in foal will be free.
"We believe this offer represents outstanding value and has been offered to encourage breeders to consider breeding their mares at an affordable level," Wellfield Lodge principal Bill Gleeson said.
Four-time Group One winner Alamosa has established himself as a proven sire, his leading performer of the season was On The Rocks who won the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) before taking out the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke (2000m) two starts later.
Road To Rock has had a standout season due to his best performer, Hong Kong champion Beauty Generation. The seven-time Group One winner is currently the world's highest rated active racehorse, and the highest earner in history to have raced in Hong Kong.
Rounding out the stallion trio is champion two-year-old of his year Vespa. His oldest crop is rising two and with positive reports coming through from trainers, Wellfield Lodge are eagerly anticipating their arrival at the racetrack in the 2019-20 season.
Phelan tip for Delacroix
The connections of North Canterbury jumper Delacroix have heeded the advice of Cambridge jumps jockey Shaun Phelan in his build-up to a couple of major missions this winter.
Delacroix won over 4280m in a restricted open steeplechase at Timaru in June by 11 and a half lengths when reunited with Phelan and purposely bypassed a trip south later in the month for a similar event at Wingatui.
"Shaun said don't go down to Dunedin as it would be too heavy for him so we've waited for Timaru again," co-trainer Karen Parsons said. "He'll run there on Friday then be aimed for the Grand National and maybe the Great Northern."
The Grand National Steeplechase (5600m) is at Riccarton on August 10, a month before the Great Northern Steeplechase (6400m) at Ellerslie.
A winner of six races on the flat and five over hurdles, Delacroix has shown much promise over country with three wins, three seconds and two thirds from 10 starts.
He finished seventh in last year's Grand National Steeplechase when still a maiden 'chaser and Phelan has been aboard in two of his steeplechase wins.
After originally being raced by Kevin Hickman, Delacroix now races in the interests of co-trainer John Parsons and former top jumps jockey Tommy Hazlett, whose feature wins included the 2006 Grand National Steeplechase on Bogeyman.