OUR MEMORIES
AMBITIOUS DRAGON (K399)


Thrusting Tiger; Unbeaten Dragon

 

AMBITIOUS DRAGON, one of the greatest champions in the history of Hong Kong horse racing.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Twice crowned Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year, the New Zealand-bred gelding was also named Champion Miler twice and was twice Champion Middle-Distance Horse, such were his talent and versatility.

AMBITIOUS DRAGON ended his career with prize-money earned in Hong Kong of HK$58,722,850.

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

Country of Origin : NZ Owner : Johnson Lam Pui Hung & Anderson Lam Hin Yue
Colour / Sex : Bay / Gelding Last Rating : 123
Import Type : PPG Sire : Pins
Total Stakes* : $58,722,850 Dam : Golden Gamble
No. of 1-2-3-Starts* : 13-5-2-30 Dam’s Sire : Oregon

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Race Date Ind Jockey Class Pl. Course Dist. R. Time
2010-02-03_3 360 C K Tong 4 8 HV Turf A 1200 1.11.14
2010-10-17_5 107 W C Marwing 4 1 ST Turf A+3 1400 1.22.72
2010-10-31_6 136 W C Marwing G1 1 HV Turf A 1650 1.41.18
2011-01-09_9 312 M Guyon 3 1 ST Turf C 1600 1.35.80
2011-01-30_6 363 M Guyon 3 1 ST Turf A+3 1600 1.35.26
2011-02-20_9 413 M Guyon HKG1 1 ST Turf A 1800 1.48.03
2011-03-20_8 484 M Guyon HKG1 1 ST Turf A 2000 2.01.50
2011-05-01_8 586 D Whyte G1 1 ST Turf A+3 2000 2.02.23
2011-10-01_8 62 D Whyte HKG3 1 ST Turf C 1400 1.21.50
2012-01-29_8 360 D Whyte HKG1 1 ST Turf A+3 1600 1.34.93
2012-02-26_7 431 D Whyte HKG1 1 ST Turf A+3 2000 2.02.88
2012-03-31_7 D Whyte G1 7 Meydan Turf 1800 unknown
2012-10-28_9 127 Z Purton HKG2 1 ST Turf B+2 1600 1.33.59
2012-12-09_7 228 Z Purton G1 1 ST Turf A 1600 1.34.12
2013-03-17_7 467 Z Purton HKG1 1 ST Turf A 1400 1.20.63
2015-03-15_7 465 Z Purton G1 5 ST Turf A 1400 1.21.87

 

2010-02-03_3, AMBITIOUS DRAGON’s career started out somewhat anonymously with an eighth of 12 finish, came in a 1200m Class 4 contest at Happy Valley.

Trained at the time by Francis Lui, the then three-year-old would end that campaign without a win from four starts but with two runner-up efforts suggesting that better would follow.

No one could have foreseen just how much better he would become.

 

“Dragon” moved to the Millard stable after that campaign and the South African started his new charge in eight races during the 2010/2011 season.

The return was seven wins and a rise to the very pinnacle thereafter.

AMBITIOUS DRAGON scored a record of 13 wins from 30 starts, among them were 10 trophy-victories:

Hong Kong Classic Cup

Hong Kong Derby

Audemars Piguet Qe Ii Cup

National Day Cup

Stewards’ Cup

Hong Kong Gold Cup

Bmw Champions Mile

Sha Tin Trophy

Longines Hong Kong Mile

Queen‘s Silver Jubilee Cup

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Trainer Tony Millard guided the brilliant son of PINS to a host of big-race successes.

“In my opinion, he is as good as you get, and why I say that is because he was so versatile,” said Millard. “I have yet to see a horse, in my time here in Hong Kong, win Group 1 races at 1400m, 1600m, 1800m and 2000m. I haven’t seen another horse do that in the 16 years I’ve been here. He also ran second in the 2400m Group 1, and, frankly speaking, in his younger days, I would have thought he could have maybe won a Group 1 over 1200m. That type of versatility you just don’t get, and that is why a champion has no distance – that horse is a champion, he can do it – and that, to me, was AMBITIOUS DRAGON.

 

“He was also special because he was a quiet, laid-back horse. He was basically a gentle giant. I was humbled that he did come my way and that we managed to develop him, because you don’t often get the chance as a trainer to be able to do that. It is the ultimate to have a really good horse and train it the way you would like, and I have got to thank Johnson Lam because he left it to me; I made the calls and we got the results. We had the team behind us and we had the right people at the right time – that is what a horse needs, it needs a good mafoo and a good work rider because they can’t do it on their own, it is a team effort.

“It is about winning the Group 1s and he won seven. And it is about being Horse of the Year and then coming back and doing it again to establish why you are a good horse. Dragon did it and then he came back again, it wasn’t a one-off season. He proved he was a champion. I hope that one day, if I train long enough and live long enough, I might get another like him. It won’t be easy because a horse like him usually comes along just once in a lifetime.”

 

 

8 jockeys rode AMBITIOUS DRAGON throughout his career.

Weichong Marwing booted the first 2 wins, Maxime Guyon was on top for his Derby win, Douglas Whyte partnered him to four wins, Zac Purton was in the plate for his last three successes and his final start.

C K Tong rode the inaugural race, Gerald Mosse, Ryan Moore and Umberto Rispoli also took the reins in Millard’s training period.

 

“He was a gentleman to ride,” said Purton. “The pony would have to drag him around at the gates, he was so quiet. You would just switch him off, and on his day, when he was right, nothing in the world at the time could go with him. He was a phenomenal racehorse and the best miler I’ve ridden. It’s a shame we’re not going to see him race again but he gave me a great thrill when he won the Hong Kong Mile and it was a pleasure to be able to ride a horse of that calibre.”

 

Whyte was up top for AMBITIOUS DRAGON’s APQEII Cup win as well as his Triple Crown bid.

“He was one of the best horses I’ve ridden here in Hong Kong,” said the 13-time Hong Kong Champion Jockey. “Still, to this day, he gave me the most unbelievable feeling of any horse I’ve ever ridden – his turn-of-foot was incredible. He was a champion, he was dour and he was as honest as the day is long.”

 

2013/2014, AMBITIOUS DRAGON subsequently suffered a tendon injury when preparing for his debut.

A long spell at the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Beas River complex resulted in a good recovery.

Yet although still capable of a high level of form, “Dragon” was unable to recapture the brilliance of his prime.

 

2015-04-26 Sunday, a retirement ceremony was held for AMBITIOUS DRAGON at Sha Tin Racecourse on APQEII Cup Day.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

Major Achievements:

2010/11& 2011/12, two-time HK Horse of the Year

2010/11, the Most Popular Horse of the Year

2010/11, the Most Improved Horse

2010-2011, 7 wins in 8 starts equaled HK record of the highest winning horse in a single racing season

2010/11 & 2011/12, twice Champion Middle-distance

2011/12 & 2012/13, twice Champion Miler

2011-01-09 — 2011-10-01 6 successive wins among 2 seasons

2012. rated 124 (equal 13th) in the world rankings

2013, rated 124, ranking equal-11th in the world rankings

2015, 6th highest earning horse in Hong Kong

 

 

RELATED LINK

 

AMBITIOUS DRAGON (K399) – 《HKJC》

 

 

Acknowledgment to HKJC Racing Registry for offering relevant records.

 

 

 


 

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