Beat The Clock breaks G1 hoodoo and delivers Mitchell Bloodstock a win

5 min read
John Size-trained sprinter Beat The Clock has endured a frustrating run-of-outs at top level but was too good in the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup on what was a big day for ready to run graduates

Burgeoning bloodstock team Bill and James Mitchell celebrated a G1 win together as Mitchell Bloodstock when Beat The Clock (Hinchinbrook) finally broke through at top level in the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup at Sha Tin.

Bill Mitchell was an 11-time G1-winning trainer before retiring to take a role as racing manager at Segenhoe Stud in 2006 and then joining forces with his son to form Mitchell Bloodstock.

Beat The Clock first caught Mitchell's experienced eye as a yearling but he wasn't able to get hold of him until the 2015 Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs.

Beat The Clock as a 2YO

Merrick Chung, a long-time owner with Mitchell in his time as a trainer, paid $200,000 for the athletic bay that has now collected more than HKD$22 million.

"Hinchinbrook was really starting to hit his straps at that time and when Beat The Clock turned up at the sale I really liked the look of him." - Bill Mitchell

"I loved him as a yearling, we couldn't get him that day, but we got him at the Ready To Run," Mitchell said. "Hinchinbrook was really starting to hit his straps at that time and when Beat The Clock turned up at the sale I really liked the look of him. "

"He was 3x3 Danehill (USA), but he didn't look like it, he wasn't your classic heavy-set Danehill. He was a bit lightly boned and more athletic. I really loved Hinchinbrook as a sire," Mitchell added of the young sire that sadly died mid-way through last year.

Bill and James Mitchell at the recent Magic Millions Sale

Bridesmaid no more for Beat The Clock

Beat The Clock had been a G1 bridesmaid twice, including a heart-breaking defeat to Beauty Generation (NZ)(Road To Rock) in last year's G1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup.

"He has been knocking on the door, that is a really good group of sprinters in Hong Kong and there is nothing between those top three, so we were just hoping he could nail a G1," Mitchell said. "He went through his grades impressively and has been knocking on the door at top level. I am just so pleased. The owner has been a client of mine since I was a young trainer and he has had plenty of nice horses. He races quite a few horses here, but it is the aim to get things to Hong Kong and now we have landed a big one."

Size and Moreira break their own duck

Beat The Clock not only broke his own G1 hoodoo but also gave the celebrated combination of trainer John Size and jockey Joao Moreira their first international G1 together.

Beat The Clock, with Moreira aboard, was narrowly beaten by Beauty Generation in the 2018 G1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup, one of four G1 placings for the G2 winner. Yet snapping an even longer G1 streak was the "Dream Team 2.0" combination of Size and Moreira, who joined forces on a more formal basis this term when the Brazilian was indentured as the leading stable's retained rider.

The duo had won 218 Hong Kong races together before Sunday's win, including six G3 wins, four G2s and a HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile, but had never broken through at top level.

Joao Moreira aboard Beat The Clock returning to scale after their G1 win

Beat The Clock boasts arguably the biggest final 400m sprint in Hong Kong racing and given the chance in a suitably run race, he proved too strong in the stretch run for Mr Stunning (Exceed And Excel) and Winner's Way (Starcraft {NZ}).

Southern hemisphere-bred runners continued their dominance of Hong Kong sprint races with seven Australian or New Zealand-bred runners in the eight-horse field filling the first seven placings.

Tried and true success for ready to run graduates

Asian buyers are always front and centre at ready to run sales and Beat The Clock proved that there are top quality prospects available.

Trainer Manfred Man is a fan of ready to run sales and his early double came from horses secured at tried 2-year-old sales on both sides of the Tasman.

Man started the day when Care Free Prince (Street Sense {USA}), a $200,000 buy from the 2014 Inglis Ready2Race Sale edged out Picken (Duporth) in a photo. In the following race Man's in-form Ever Laugh (Savabeel) brought up a back-to-back wins with a tidy Class Four win that took the 5-year-old's earnings over the HKD$1million mark.

Pin-hooked and prepared by Sam Beatson at Riversley Park, Ever Laugh was a NZ$220,000 purchase from New Zealand Bloodstock's 2015 Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs sale.

A new Derby challenger emerges

New Zealand import Ho Ho Khan (Makfi {GB}) emerged from humble beginnings as a left-field HKG1 Hong Kong Derby contender with a commanding Class 2 win. Ho Ho Khan, formerly known as Mulanchi, was passed-in with a reserve of NZ$65,000 at the New Zealand Bloodstock's Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs before winning a Taupo maiden with trainer Tony Pike.

Purchased by a group led by glamorous celebrity owner Jessica Lee and placed in the capable hands of trainer David Hall, Ho Ho Khan rose from a rating of 71 at the start of this season to 82 after two straight wins.

Ho Ho Khan (Mulanchi) as a 2YO

A third straight victory over 1800m will put Ho Ho Khan's rating around 90 which should ensure a run in the HKG1 Classic Cup over the same course and distance on February 18 and ultimately the HKG1 Hong Kong Derby a month later.

Leading Australian-bred Hong Kong Derby contenders Dark Dream (All American) and Furore (Pierro), both trained by Frankie Lor, will meet some of Hong Kong's rising stars in the first leg of the 4-year-old series next weekend in the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile.