A pair of class Victorian bred racehorses were the first two home in the Group 2 Premier Bowl over 1200 metres at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.
The Makybe bred, John Size trained Mr Stunning beat home the Gilgai Farm bred Lucky Bubbles.
Aboard Mr Stunning for the first time on race day, Nash Rawiller was confident going into the race but was mindful of lugging the top weight.
“He put me in a beautiful spot and travelled sweetly … it was an amazing turn of foot and he’s an exceptional horse,” Rawiller said.
Mr Stunning, courtesy of a first up sixth in a Group 3 race over 1000 metres on 1 October, along with an impressive trial nine days previously, had match fitness over Lucky Bubbles, who was having his first run since taking home the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize in May (a race in which Mr Stunning finished second).
Size was similarly impressed with the Mr Stunning’s win, suggesting “it looked like the best performance” of a career which now reads eight wins and three placings from 14 outings for HK$14,198,600 (approx. A$2.3 million).
The Longines World Rankings committee identified the Makybe bred Mr Stunning’s potential early in the piece, elevating the son of Exceed And Excel to top 10 status after his blistering Group 2 Sprint Cup victory in April.
While Group 1 success has eluded the 5YO thus far, he might not have to wait much longer. Both Mr Stunning and Lucky Bubbles are likely to be among the favourites in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint over 1200 metres on 10 December.
Mr Stunning was bred in Victoria by Mr Makybe Diva himself, Tony Santic, and is out of the well related Dayjur mare, With Fervour, a daughter of Group One Hollywood Oaks winner, Fran’s Valentine, and a half sister to 5-time Group One winner, With Anticipation.
Although Mr Stunning was subsequently pinhooked as a yearling, Santic’s Makybe Diva Racing & Breeding originally sold the Hong Kong flyer for $110,000 at the 2013 Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale where he was knocked down to Lyndhurst Farm.
By that time, Makybe had sold Mr Stunning’s dam, With Fervour, to Lisa Oldcastle for $6,000 at the 2013 Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale, but unfortunately the mare died the following year, leaving just one more foal: the unraced 3YO Mossman filly, With Faith.