A stunning victory in Saturday’s Macau Derby (1800m) by kiwi-bred galloper Sacred Capital continued a run of success in the race for well-known Raffles Farm owner Dato Yap Kin San. Dato Yap, who purchased the Cambridge-based breeding and racing operation in 2008, has dominated the Macau feature in recent times having won the race in conjunction with his Macau racing partner Chen Ching Lung three times in the past five years.
The Alfonso in 2015 and Sacred Man in 2017 provided victories for the partnership but neither were more impressive than Sacred Capital, who overcame an outside barrier to dominate his rivals in the closing stages of this year’s contest, winning under a hold by a length and three-quarters from fellow New Zealand bred runner Éclair Lightning.
Bred by Waikato Stud, Sacred Capital was a $580,000 purchase from their 2016 Ready To Run Sale draft by a triumvirate comprising Ciaron Maher Bloodstock, Bruce Perry Bloodstock and Michael Wallace’s Waterford Bloodstock. Raffles Farm manager Bruce Sherwin was one of the underbidders on the showy colt and was keen to be involved with the horse if the opportunity arose. “He was one that we had earmarked in that sale but the final price was too rich for our blood,” Sherwin said. “The opportunity arose to take a shareholding in him and we jumped at the chance.
“He did his initial racing in Australia under the name Rellson, where he won once from six starts, without really setting the world alight. “We had identified him as the ideal type for Macau so Dato’s son Kyan made an offer to buy out the other partners in the horse, which was accepted and he was sent to Joe Lau’s stable where he has absolutely thrived.” Sherwin was quick to acknowledge the work of Lau in preparing Sacred Capital, who has now won five of his seven starts under his care. “Joe has done a wonderful job with our horses over a number of years and has come up trumps once again,” he said. “The horse looked a picture and raced accordingly.”
The victory capped off a successful end to the current season for the Raffles Racing team who have horses competing internationally in Australia, Singapore, Macau and Malaysia as well as at home here in New Zealand. “We’ve had a great couple of weeks with this win putting the icing on the cake,” Sherwin said. “Sacred Day took out the Grafton Cup (Listed, 2350m) in Australia earlier in the month while Sacred Croix went a great race in the Singapore Derby last weekend on a wet track that didn’t suit him, so all in all we have finished off pretty strongly this year. “We’ve got some very nice young horses coming through for the new season so we are excited about seeing them on the track in the coming months as well.”
One of those youngsters is impressive two-year-old winner Kali who is being set for the three-year- old spring classics by trainer Tony Pike. “Kali was very impressive when she won on debut, in a race that has been won by horses of the calibre of Bonneval and Madison County,” he said. “She is coming along nicely and getting ready to trial so if she can keep improving then we will be in for some fireworks during the spring.”