The success of Australian horses racing in Hong Kong was again front and centre at Sha Tin on Sunday with Ampulla Lodge pinhook Seasons Bloom notching up a highly impressive victory in the Group 1 Stewards Cup over 1600 metres.
This was the first Group 1 victory for Seasons Bloom and follows the 5YO’s previous best win in November’s Group 2 HKJC Jockey Club Mile along with a fourth in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile in December.
Having raced initially in Australia – for Peter Moody when fifth of fifteen and then with Brendan McCarthy for his maiden victory at Pakenham – Seasons Bloom has now raced 14 times in Hong Kong for six wins, three placings and over AU$3 million in prizemoney.
Not bad for a horse that cost Ampulla Lodge just $26,000 as a weanling!
The son of Captain Sonador was bred at the Nolan family’s Raheen Stud in Queensland and is out of Pyramisa’s Lass, a half-sister to South African Group 2 winner, Sharks Bay and from a sister to Group 2 QTC Cup winner Pembleton.
Raheen Stud offered Seasons Bloom at the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions National Weanling Sale where he was snapped by Ampulla Lodge, a renowned pinhooker.
However, it soon became apparent to Ampulla’s Steve Jostlear that Seasons Bloom wasn’t about to ‘bloom’ any time soon.
“He (Seasons Bloom) had a magnificent walk on him, with a great hindquarter and a fair bit of length, but he was also small and fairly immature,” Jostlear recalls.
“So, we decided it was best not to put him through a yearling sale and race him ourselves … he certainly showed plenty of speed around the paddock with the other colts. He could be 10 metres behind them and, in the blink of any eye, be 10 metres in front.”
Jostlear points out that despite his obvious speed, stable life wasn’t to Seasons Bloom’s liking and he refused to eat – either at Moodys or McCarthys.
“Once he was back in the country though he thrived … we tried everything when he was boxed – putting him with mates, ponies, changed his feed – but nothing seemed to work,” Jostlear explains.
“Eventually my wife, Ceri, suggested we open a window and guess what … it worked. Turns out he was claustrophobic!”
Following the Pakenham Maiden victory, the Jostlears were offered big money to sell the horse into Hong Kong and the rest, as they say, is history.
“He dropped off his feed in Hong Kong and about a month later I got a call from the stable, saying he wasn’t eating. I just told them to give him a room with a view. Must be a pretty good view because he keeps on winning!”
Purchasing around 10 to 12 youngsters annually for the past decade, Seasons Bloom is one of seven horses that Ampulla Lodge has sold to Hong Kong, for seven winners.
A Blooming good result all round!