New Zealand-bred gelding Courier Wonder extended his unbeaten record at Sha Tin on Sunday when winning the Gr.3 Sha Tin Vase (1200m).
Stepping up in grade as the least experienced runner in the race, the three-year-old capped his perfect debut season with a classy victory against a collection of the circuit’s best sprinters.
Under championship-leading jockey Joao Moreira, the Sacred Falls gelding broke away cleanly from gate six to settle in the box seat, before taking over at the 200m mark for a three quarter of a length victory over Stronger.
“In the straight, I pulled him out and he dashed home as he always does - good horses like him give jockeys an amazing feeling,” Moreira said.
“I’m very excited (for next season), he’s the type of horse that everyone dreams to have.”
Courier Wonder is the full-brother to Icebath, runner-up in the Gr.1 Doncaster (1600m) at Randwick last month.
“We had a great opportunity to learn a bit more about him today (Sunday), the pace was really genuine so he had a chance to settle behind others,” Moreira said.
“When we first started turning he got a bit lost and wanted to run out today, shying away from the other horses, but as we progressed he started to relax, which is fantastic.”
With a pre-race rating of 100 and flickers of top-class ability, the New Zealand-bred now stands on the cusp of competing at Group One level after only five starts across his short career.
Trainer John Size is now plotting a path toward the Gr.1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) with the undefeated gelding after a deserved break.
“That’s where we’re heading (Hong Kong Sprint),” he said.
"There are no races I would want to run him in now and I think that he probably showed that he was looking for a break anyway - that was the feeling I got watching the race live,” Size said.
“He's got talent and we just have to manage it and try and keep him out of harm’s way and then turn him loose on a race track.”
Courier Wonder was purchased out of Waikato Stud’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $150,000 by bloodstock agent John Foote.
From the same draft, Killer Bee was also victorious at Sha Tin on Sunday, winning his 1200m Class 3 contest by 1-1/2 lengths in the hands of Moriera.
“He had everything against him today, the gate, circumstances that didn’t help him – he was exposed four wide with no cover, at least he was nice and relaxed underneath,” Moriera said of the $425,000 yearling purchase.
“When I dug him up he showed that he has quality, he has class and only good horses can win under those circumstances.” – NZ Racing Desk