It was a great Sunday for Ski Darci in the BMW Hong Kong Derby at the Sha Tin Racecourse.  Sky Darci long considered among the most promising of this year’s 4-year-olds, with a perfectly timed ride by Hong Kong’s “Magic Man,” Joao Moreira, scored by a desperate head over Russian Emperor and Karis Teetan in the most important race to local owners and trainers.

Arguably he had been unlucky in finishing up the track in the first two legs of the Four-Year-Old Classic series so jockey Moreira, who won three races on the day and passed the 100-victory mark for the season, essentially took the Derby under his personal care and produced yet another magical outcome

A wire to wire winner of the second leg of the Derby series

Healthy Happy; spurted out to a big lead.  Sky Darci took a position along the rail and well back, moved up through the second turn and surged to the front with 200 meters left in the 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4-mile) test.  With 100 meters to go, it was clear that the Darci Brahma gelding was dead tired while Russian Emperor’s Classic European breeding was beginning to show.  The gap narrowed with each stride, but Sky Darci made it to the line with a head to spare over Russian Emperor.  Panfield, a Lookin At Lucky colt, was third with Excellent Proposal fourth. The final time was 2:01.32 on good-rated turf.

“It was such a smooth run; “He jumped out well and immediately I just grabbed hold of him and tried to put him to sleep. I had to angle my way out but once I got into the straight; I had taken the lead a little bit too early but I knew I was on the best horse in the race and I had a lot of confidence in the horse.”

The Third Winner of the Hong Kong Derby

Sky Darci is the third winner of the Hong Kong Derby in six years; to be raised at Highden Park in New Zealand. Sam and Libby Bleakley’s operation was also responsible for 2018 Derby hero Ping Hai Star (NZ) (Nom du Jeu {NZ}); who was unsold on a bid of NZ$40,000 when consigned by Highden Park to the 2015 NZBSEL sale. They also had their hands on 2016 Derby winner and future Horse of the Year; Werther (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}), as well as Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road to Rock {Aus}); two-time Horse of the Year who was third to Rapper Dragon in 2017; and became a two-time winner of the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile.

The third and most successful of his dam’s produce to race in Hong Kong–is the 52nd black-type winner for his sire; whose 11 Group 1 winners include D B Pin (NZ); winner in Hong Kong of the Centenary Sprint Cup and twice runner-up in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint. Despite his sire’s propensity to throw a top sprinter; there is plenty in Sky Darci’s pedigree to suggest he could stay the 2000 metres. His half-brother Chocante (NZ) was a Group 3 winner in New Zealand going an extended mile and a quarter and won the G2 Brisbane Cup over 2200 metres; while finishing third in the G1 The Metropolitan H. (2400m) in Sydney. Sky Darci’s second dam was a daughter of Red Chiffon; who annexed the G3 Canterbury Gold Cup going 2000 metres and was third in the 1988 G1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m).

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