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HRN Original Blog:
55,000 Furlongs to the Finish

I'll Have Another Isn't the Only One Seeking a Triple Crown

Photo credit to Fasttrack.hkWhat a weekend of racing we are in store for?  First, we have the Met Mile.  I would love to see Shackleford get his revenge on Caleb’s Posse and Jackson Bend.  Second, I get to race my daschund in the annual Wiener Nationals at Golden Gate Fields.  Hunter is ready to roll, and as long as there are no blowing leaves to distract him, the prospect of getting his orange ball is all the motivation he needs to bring a championship to the Scott household.

 

The next, and more important race is one I have been eagerly anticipating for nearly 3 months.

 

In the next couple of weeks, most of us are going to go into Triple Crown frenzy, hoping I’ll Have Another may end the 34-year draught in the USA.  One thing many of us may not know, is that half way around the world, a horse is preparing for his own run toward Triple Crown immortality.  Poised to become only the second horse in the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s history to complete the feat, Ambitious Dragon (Pins-Golden Gamble by Oregon) is ready to take center stage, and his first crack at 12 furlongs. 

 

The Hong Kong Triple Crown is spread over 4 months, unlike the grueling test of the US title with the 3 races spread over 5 weeks.  But what it lacks in race proximity, it makes up for in demanding versatility.  The first race is the 1600m (just short of 8f) Steward’s Cup – G1 raced over turf.  Ambitious Dragon scored an impressive hand ride victory with his closing running style.  His turn of foot scorched the final ¼ in 22.48 seconds, completing the race in 1:34.93.

 

4 weeks later, the second leg of the HK Triple Crown, the Hong Kong Gold Cup – G1, was contested at 2000m (just shy of 10f) on the turf of Sha Tin.  Again, sitting toward the mid-rear of the pack, his jockey, Douglas Whyte piloted him to a clear trip in the stretch and just tapped the Dragon’s shoulder to watch him catapult to victory.  He stopped the clock in 2:02.88, again showing his kick by completing the final ¼ in 23.08 seconds.

 

Then a 3-month break until the final leg, the Standard Chartered Champions and Charter Cup – G1, which is contested over 2400m (just shy of 12f) on the turf at Sha Tin.  It is to be raced this Sunday.  This race has only drawn 5 competitors to challenge Ambitious Dragon for his title, and the tension has been mounting.

 

After a lackluster 7th in the Dubai Duty Free at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, trainer Tony Millard was looking for answers.  He found it with a fever that the horse was diagnosed with after the race, and with it relief that the trip the trip to Dubai may have not taken a negative toll on the champion gelding.  Last Month, Ambitious Dragon returned to Sha Tin in the BMW Champions Mile – G1.  Despite getting a nasty bump at the start, he was not able to close the gap at the wire and finished 4th.  At this point, an outraged trainer needed to find something to blame for this result, and unfortunately it was champion jockey, Douglas Whyte.

 

Drama ensued as the two publicly argued for the reasons of the horse’s non-characteristic performance.  Ultimately, the trainer had is way and is now looking for a new rider to attempt to guide Ambitious Dragon to his Triple Crown glory.  I highly respect Mr Millard, and hope he can find someone that will give Ambitious Dragon a clean ride.  Whyte will be opposing Ambitious Dragon on Dominant, who he rode in his most recent outing, winning over the 12f distance.  In fact, of the 5 other horses in the field, all have competed at 12f, and 3 of the 5 have won. 

 

If Ambitious Dragon can overcome the adversity to become the 2nd Hong Kong Triple Crown winner, his connections will receive a HK$5 million bonus from the Jockey Club, and will likely secure the second consecutive Horse of the Year title.  I cannot wait to see if he can accomplish a feat that would allow him to be mentioned in the same breath as Orfevre, and maybe… just maybe, I’ll Have Another.

 

 

**Photo credit to Fasttrack.hk 

 

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Older Comments about I'll Have Another Isn't the Only One Seeking a Triple Crown...

Perhaps Hunter needs to "stretch out" : ) And good stretch run for AD I thought.
And for all those following, I think I showed my dog Hunter too many replays of this year's Kentucky Derby. He did his best reenactment of Union Rags. Completely botched the start, got moving late, but not enough to win. I think I know how Matz must have felt.
Well, despite a powerful effort, Ambitious Dragon joins the group of horses that win the first 2 legs and finishes second in the last race for the crown. Still a great performance, and I was especially pleased to see he can stay the distance and still close like a freight train. Congrats on another wonderful season, and I can't wait to see you next year.
Sorry for the late response here. Champion Italian jockey, Umberto Rispoli has the mount on Ambitious Dragon this Sunday. He hasn't been super successful in HK this season, but if Millard believes in him, then so do I.
Any word on who Dragon's new rider will be? Tough call on Whyte. And good luck to Hunter--it's all about the break and staying focused on the ball!
Good luck to Hunter, The Dragon, and I'll Have Another!
How do you think Hunter will handle the synthetic track? j/k good luck. Post some video win or lose.
ambitious dragon is an amazing horse. best of luck to him
I'm not sure the average fan of racing in America realizes the quality of horses in Hong Kong. This is one serious racehorse, and I wish him well. Also ... good luck to Hunter!

Meet Matt Scott 

My horseracing journey began when I was 16 years old and my mom took me to Hollywood Park. Although I did not fully appreciate it at the time, the experience stuck with me forever. 10 years later, during one of my many international business trips to Hong Kong, I visited Sha Tin racetrack to watch the races. This is where my true passion began. 

 

Holding a masters degree in mechanical engineering, the puzzle of handicapping intrigued me. I have made a career of making decisions based on trends, patterns, and formulas, which is why I think I was initially drawn to the sport. However, I have truly learned to appreciate the horses and how magnificent they are as athletes. 

 

I currently live in San Jose, CA, and when not following racing, I like to spend time with my wife, mountain bike, and design high-speed bicycles that I build and race For reference, 55,000 furlongs is the distance from Hong Kong to my home in San Jose. Also, I have 1-year-old dachshund (aka wiener dog) that I am training to race in the annual Wiener Nationals held at Golden Gate Fields.   

 

The purpose of this blog is to help give people the viewpoint of a fan that is newer to the sport and eager to learn. I like to respectfully speak my mind, and often the ideas come out of left field, which could give a fresh perspective on a sport rich with tradition and history. hope to represent the many future fans that I wish to follow my footsteps into the Sport of Kings.