Two-year-old gelding Kabugee showed a glimpse of his talent when winning on debut at Te Aroha on Monday over 1000m and in the process provided his Rich Hill Stud sire Satono Aladdin with his first New Zealand bred winner.
Sent out an overwhelming $1.40 favourite on the strength of two trials victories, the Jamie Richards-trained Kabugee settled three-back on the fence under Opie Bosson after not showing a lot of speed from the barriers.
Angled into the clear at the top of the straight, Kabugee powered away from his rivals to win by a soft two-lengths in one of the more impressive juvenile victories of the season.
“It wasn’t plan A to be off the pace, but he was a bit slowly away and ended up winning really well,” Richards said.
“It was probably a blessing in disguise for him to peel off and come between horses in the straight and he will take a lot of benefit from today.
“I loved the way he pinned his ears back to poke through a gap, quickened up and won nicely.
“I’m really happy for the owners because he trialled up well and it’s good to see him deliver first-up. We certainly do like him.
“I was really impressed with the way he won.”
“It was a hot day and the track became pretty firm, so we’ll get him home and check his shins before making any decisions.”
Richards indicated the Gr.3 Fairview Matamata Slipper (1200m) at Matamata on February 26 was a likely target for the debut winner who is not Karaka Million eligible.
“He’ll have a week to 10 days in the paddock now and we can go from there,” Richards said.
Bred by Graeme Hunt under his Cambridge Hunt banner, the smart youngster is raced by the Hunt brothers Barry, Graeme, and Peter and the Kabugee 2020 Syndicate.
“Graeme bred the dam Kabuki, a two-time winning half-sister to Tavistock, and Peter and I raced her with him,” said Barry Hunt, who was on-course to cheer home Kabugee among others.
“We’ve got about fifteen family and friends in this horse and my son, Stephen (Hunt, TAB Bookmaker), put the syndicate together with several schoolmates and friends involved.
“Karen Zimmerman trained Kabuki. She was lightly raced but impressed winning over 1400 metres and like Kabugee she also won on debut.
“She finished fourth in a stakes race and only had 11 starts, but had she raced for longer I’m sure she could have won stakes races.
“Graeme did the mating because he understands more about that and sorted it out. He’s right into breeding and bred Melbourne Cup winner Efficient.”
The victory was a boost to those who have supported impeccably bred young Deep Impact stallion Satono Aladdin, a winner of the Gr.1 Yasuda Kinnen (1600m).
Satono Aladdin first shuttled to Rich Hill Stud in 2018 where he covered 91 mares and Kabugee is the first winner from that crop, with five New Zealand bred runners to date which also includes the stakes-placed Sacred Satono and Pennyweka, who caught the eye when placing on debut.
There are nine Book 1 yearlings by Satono Aladdin set to go under the hammer at Karaka in March, with a further six in Book 2.
Satono Aladdin, who stood at a fee of $12,500 in 2021, has been represented by a host of promising trials performers including the Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained Karakaze who won at Matamata late last year and is yet to debut, while his first-crop yearlings sold up to $360,000 at Karaka 2021.
Curraghmore will also offer a half-brother to Kabugee by Saxon Warrior as Lot 342 during the Book 1 session at Karaka when the National Yearling Sale kicks off on March 7. – NZ Racing Desk