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Able One takes Hong Kong Champions Mile 01 May 2007

If Cambridge Stud's latest Hong Kong group one producer Gardenia was human she'd probably have had a hip replacement.

Gardenia joined the premier level of the elite Waikato farm's broodmare band when her son Able One, bred by Sir Patrick and Justine Hogan, defied a top field of Hong Kong milers – along with top Irish performer Lingari and the quality Aussie three-year-old Casino Prince – to win the Champions Mile (HK1-1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Able One's all-the-way victory at huge odds in the $HK8 million event also highlighted once again that a less than perfect mare physically is capable of doing the job in the broodmare paddock.

"Gardenia's dam Cladagh was one of four mares I sent to Danehill in 1994," Sir Patrick Hogan said.

"But she didn't race because she got a bad infection as a foal which gave her some severe muscle damage.

"It affected her hip bones quite badly. She still walks with a disability and she's not that comfortable when she lies down but she's in good order for all of that.

"If she was a human being she could have had a hip replacement, but she's a horse so it's not an option."

Being a Danehill mare, Gardenia had plenty of residual value and the rest of her family was a good one as well. Her granddam A Little Love, an American mare by JO Tobin, made a quick impact at stud in New Zealand when she produced A Little Kiss, winner of the Flight Stakes (Gr 1-1600m) at Randwick and the Queensland Oaks (Gr 1-2400m) at Eagle Farm.

A Little Love's progeny also included the black type placegetters Embassy Square and Something Wicked, while A Little Kiss also produced Gaily Funky, a group winner in Japan.

Cladagh, by Sir Tristram, was a placegetter and produced two Hong Kong winners at stud. But to date Gardenia, the mare with the dodgy hip, has been the best producer.

Her first foal Bo Tempo, by Rhythm, was a winner, but it's her two visits to Cape Cross when he was at Cambridge Stud in 2000 and 2001 that have been her most profitable to date.

It's an interesting mating – his sire and dam both claim Danzig as their grandsire, and both also have Sir Ivor – Gardenia through Sir Tristram and Cape Cross through Green Desert's dam Foreign Courier.

"I'm a big believer in doubling up on Northern Dancer or Danzig. It's worked with good horses by Maroof and Zabeel. Vengeance Of Rain is one of the better ones with that double strain."

Gardenia's first Cape Cross foal, Florilegium, was knocked down to Graeme Rogerson for just $20,000 at Karaka in 2003 but won the Counties Challenge (Listed-1100m) and was twice black-type placed at two, earning more than $150,000. She made an even greater profit later, selling at a Magic Millions broodmare sale for $420,000.

With Florilegium having early form on the board, there was plenty of interest when her brother came up for sale at Karaka in 2004. Unlike the majority of Cambridge Stud's Karaka yearlings, Able One was in the select sale, but Sir Patrick remembers buyers were still very interested.

"He was a really good individual," he said. "Graeme Sanders bought him for $190,000, which I think was the top lot at the sale."

Able One was back at Karaka by the end of the year, selling at the Ready To Run Sale. He topped that sale as well – sold to bloodstock agent Paul Beamish for $240,000.

Since those two visits to Cape Cross, Gardenia has been solely to another Northern Dancer-line horse, Stravinsky. She has produced a three-year-old colt, named Big Note, a yearling colt and a weanling colt. She is not in foal at present.

It's been an outstanding season for horses connected with Cambridge Stud, with Zabeel three-year-olds winning both derbies in Australia and Vengeance Of Rain taking out the Dubai Sheema Classic, but Able One's victory gives Sir Patrick the added value of being a Cambridge Stud product himself and being by a mare still on the property.

"He jumped well from an outside barrier and I was pleased to see him in front with a world-class jockey like Mick Kinane aboard.

"At the top of the straight I thought the field would probably come over the top of him but halfway down I got out of my seat and started screaming when it looked like he was going to hold them out.

"It's not every day you have a horse you breed win an international class group one. It's a great thrill and huge for my mare."

The victory gives Sir Patrick the possibility of an even greater thrill later in the year. It gives Able One a direct entry into the Breeders' Cup Mile, the first time the winner of this race has been exempt from the ballot as part of a new attempt to internationalise the Breeders' Cup. A win in that would be right at the very top of Sir Patrick's international achievements as a breeder – and not bad for a mare with a troublesome hip.

- Alastair Bull


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