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Racing Review
Sacred Capital Gives Joe Lau His Third Derby
2019-07-29 by Harry Troy
Sacred Capital has defied an interrupted preparation and the extreme outside barrier to run away with the 28th running of the SJM Macau Derby at the Taipa racetrack on Saturday; giving trainer Joe Lau his third victory in the coveted race.

Exploding out the gates under jockey Peter Ho, Sacred Capital easily cleared the speed inside to be sitting outside the leader Trillion King as the field rushed out of the straight the first time. Ho ended up in the box seat third the rails for the rest of the run, before easing out three deep at the top of the straight; given full rein at the two fifty the magnificent looking son of O’Reilly burst away from his rivals to win easily by two lengths from Éclair Lightning (Ruan Maia), with Big Alloy (Luis Corrales) running on well from the back for third.

The win gave master conditioner Joe Lau his third win in the Blue Riband event having won the race in 2015 with The Alfonso under Nash Rawiller, with Sacred Man and Zac Purton winning the race for him in 2017.

Sacred Capital’s run time of 1.47.0 for the 1800 metres on Saturday equaled the Derby race record of his stable mate The Alfonso. Sacred Capital like The Alfonso and Sacred Man is raced in partnership by Mr. Chen Ching Lung and Raffles Racings Supremo Dato K S Yap.

It was a much relived Joe Lau after the race; stating that Sacred Capital’s preparation for the race had not gone smoothly.

“You know for these races you map out your plan and mostly follow it through to the day, but this time we had a lot things come against us. He got a bad stone bruise and the abscess had to be drained and that set us back a few weeks. We missed the lead up races we were looking at, and I had to run him two weeks straight over 1200 and 1500 to get him fit enough for this race. That’s not something I generally do. And then as if we didn’t have enough pressure we drew the extreme outside gate in a field of 14 runners.”

“Thankfully it’s all worked out well; a great ride by Peter (Ho), it’s been a great effort all round with my assistant Wil Heffernan and the stable team; a lot of good work from all of them and our farrier so this is a win for the team.”

“He is just a real nice horse; he’s got everything you want speed from the gates, he can take a sit and relax and wonderful turn of foot and handles any track.

When pressed for his future plans Lau had this to say. “Well you know me I never rush my horses I let them tell me. Perhaps we’ll look at the Macau Gold Cup at the end of August then we’ll just see what’s coming up in the new season.”

Second placed Éclair Lightning is very good racehorse and in any other season would have been hailed as a champion four year old; but as well as a frustrating run of bad luck in races like the Derby trial the Macau Guineas, he has had to be content in chasing Sacred Capital home both times they have met.

Joe Lau now joins Alan Tam as the two most successful trainers in the history of the Derby with three wins each. Tam won his first Derby with Royal Treasure under Frankie Dettori in 2002, then again the following year with Analyst ridden by Cedric Segeon, with the grand galloper Elderly Paradise giving him his third victory in 2012 under Olivier Doleuze.

Duke Da Vega was another horse who defied the odds to pick up his first black type race in Sunday’s Group 1 Star Of The Sand Stakes over 1600 metres.

With Frenchman Stephane Ladjadj in the saddle, Duke Da Vega shrugged off a 25 pounds deficit in the ratings on the equal weights scale against the favorite and top rated Kelowna Star, to power home right over the top of Mujaan (Peter Ho) another that was badly disadvantaged at the weight scale, with Kelowna Star who enjoyed a brilliant ride under Matthew Chadwick a touch disappointing in third.

Prepared by the joint stable of Tommy Tse and Louis Ho who are enjoying a sparkling season with their small team of 20 horses, Duke Da Vega made it win number seven in Macau with six more placed efforts and now takes his prize money to close to $1.8 million for his connections The Golden Pistols racing syndicate.

But perhaps the biggest claim to fame for the son of Lope De Vega (Ire) will always be his victory in a Doomben maiden over a horse called Ted; who later went onto race in Hong Kong as Ping Hai Star and the winner of the 2018 Hong Kong Derby.

The win took Tse and Ho to 33 wins for the season and 41 placed efforts from only 194 runners the least amount of starters for the trainers in the top six. Their win strike is the highest of any this season at 17% with their place rate running at 38% and over $7.4 million won in stakes money.

For Stephane Ladjadj who only arrived in the enclave in May, the win was a big boost for his aspirations to ride here on a more permanent basis.

“It’s good to win any race but it’s so good to win a Group 1 race.” Ladjadj said.

“They went very fast in the race and I didn’t want to chase them I wanted to find some cover. I was surprised how far back I had to go to find the cover but he traveled well in the race.”

“He really started to pull me into the race from the five hundred metre and we had to go wide to get into the race but he really ran on well in the straight.”

Ladjadj made it a double for the weekend when he picked up the last of the day the Class 5 & 6 over 1510 metres on Broadus for trainer Peter Leyshan.

Japanese rider Kakeru Mizuno has formed a great rapport with the speedy sprinter Fasuba with the combination scoring another superb win in Saturday’s Class 1 & 2 over 1050 metres on the sand.

Mizuno scored a surprise win in the Group 2 Summer Trophy over 1350 metres on Fasuba on June 29 at distance that had always been beyond his reach. On Saturday back to his pet distance of 1050 metres most thought the son of Power (GB) would show his dazzling speed and lead his rivals. However away from the gates Ruan Maia on Sheng Li Superstar showed he was intent on leading, and Mizuno wisely let him go and took the sit off the leader.

Sheng Li Superstar was running like a superstar and clear leader at the two hundred, but Mizuno got to work on Fasuba and the smaller blocky built gelding found plenty to sail on by of the much bigger Sheng Li Superstar to win well.

Trainer Alan Tam has done a fine job with Fasuba since taking the five year old over from James Moore winning four races and placing on three occasions from nine starts.

Sacred Capital

Joe Lau

Duke Da Vega

Stephane Ladjadj


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