Well-travelled galloper He Kin Fly continued his recent purple patch of form when he notched his fourth win on end when taking out the Listed Daphne Bannan Memorial Great Easter Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton.
The Darci Brahma six-year-olds first two wins were recorded out of the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable in New Zealand before being sold to Hong Kong interests in 2016. He Kin Fly raced five times in Hong Kong, recording a win in Class 3 company, before injury resulted in his return to New Zealand in 2018 where he made his way to South Island-based trainer, Neill Ridley. Ridley has worked the oracle with the head-strong individual who has now won five times since joining his stable, with the promise of more to come based on Saturday's showing.
Settled in a handy position by rider Lee Callaway, He Kin Fly travelled sweetly throughout as he cruised into contention approaching the home bend. Callaway drove his mount to the front at the 150m and withstood the challenges of Prosecco and Kiwi Ida to register his eighth career victory.
Part-owner Bruce Harvey watched the race with wife Maureen at home and was delighted with both the performance and the ride of Callaway. “That was a top ride as he had him in just the right place and made his run at just the right moment,” he said. “He can be a hard horse to get to grips with and Lee has really formed a terrific association with him. “He (He Kin Fly) only has 27 more to go to match Winx but you can only win and beat what they put up against you, so we are having a great time with him.”
Harvey admits he was the right man at the right time to pick up the horse when he completed his stint in Hong Kong. “We actually were underbidders on him as a weanling when Mark and Sarah Devcich bought him,” he said. “We kept an eye on him through his early starts and when he went up to Hong Kong. I don't think he was suited by the harder tracks up there so when his connections retired him and were looking for a home we asked if we could take him and try him if he was sound and they agreed. “We got him back, got him going and then sent him down to Neill.
We thought the South Island tracks might suit him and that has proven correct as he has been going super ever since he went down there.” Harvey admits his only regret was not being on-track to witness the victory, with foggy conditions and a busy work schedule halting any chance he had of making it to the meeting. “I was going to jump on a plane but there was fog at all the airports, and we have got a lot on our plates at the moment, so I gave it a miss,” he said. “I'm wishing I was there now, but we still got a huge thrill watching it on tv and I'm sure all the neighbours heard all about what was going on with the cheering coming from our place.”