Lucky Sweynesse takes high ranking after big Hong Kong win

By Dennis Ryan

15 Feb 2023

Lucky Sweynesse takes high ranking after big Hong Kong winLucky Sweynesse gets his Group One reward in the Centenary Sprint Cup at Sha Tin

Lucky Sweynesse went a long way towards easing the disappointment of his Gr. 1 Hong Kong Sprint experience when he scored an easy win in last week’s Gr. 1 Centenary Sprint Cup at Sha Tin and now be the highest rated New Zealand-bred horse on TRC Global Rankings.
The Novara Park-bred son of resident sire Sweynesse was the odds-on favourite to cap his whirlwind Hong Kong career in the Hong Kong Sprint, one of four features on the Longines International card at Sha Tin in December. Having already taken the 2021-22 Champion Griffin title with five wins from seven starts, then kicking off his four-year-old season with two wins and a second in the best local company, hopes were high that he would add Hong Kong’s most prestigious sprint race.
It wasn’t to be however, as Lucky Sweynesse was starved for galloping room in the final stages of the big one and he crossed the line still hard-held by rider Zac Purton in sixth place, two and a half lengths behind local star Wellington. However he has moved on by winning his two starts since, the Gr. 3 Challenge Cup and the Gr. 1 Centenary Sprint Cup, both over the same 1200m Sha Tin course.
Rather than rue Lucky Sweynesse’s misfortune in December, co-breeder Luigi Muollo takes a more pragmatic attitude. “If he had been beaten on his merits in the Hong Kong Sprint, that would have been disappointing, but he wasn’t and I knew his day would come,” the Novara Park principal told RaceForm.
“That was the horse we saw this time, and to see Lucky Sweynesse beat Wellington fair and square in a Group One was very satisfying. Where he was six months ago as Hong Kong’s best griffin and where he is now, considered equal with Wellington at the top of Hong Kong sprinting ranks, that really says something about him.
“The cincher though is for him to be rated 38th on the latest Global Rankings, with the only other New Zealand-bred in the top 50 I’m Thunderstruck rated at 43.
“The key thing is he still on the way up and it’s going to be interesting what they do next with him. There has been talk of The Everest or Dubai but it’s more likely he’ll go to a 1400-metre race at Sha Tin and come up against California Spangle, who beat Golden Sixty in the Hong Kong Mile.
“I believe he can go further (in distance), but as things stand he’s a Group One winner in Hong Kong, he was bred in New Zealand and sold through our Ready to Run Sale, and I’m very happy that his sire stands at Novara Park.”
Muollo admits surprise that Sweynesse remains the only son of champion galloper and sire Lonhro at stud in New Zealand. “At every level Lonhro has a fantastic record – as a racehorse, as a stallion and now as a sire of sires and broodmares.
“They really wanted his yearlings at Karaka – his only three Book 1 colts sold for $180,000, $160,000 and $130,000 and another in Book 2 went for $140,000.
“I’ve continued to invest in mares and with the depth in the Novara broodmare band and the quality of his foals on the ground, I really believe his best results still lie ahead of him.”
Muollo is also excited at the future prospects of the two younger stallions on the Novara Park roster, Staphanos and King of Comedy, respective Group One-performing sons of champion stallions Deep Impact and Kingman. The first Staphanos crop are now two-year-olds and already his juvenile daughter Pignan is a winner and stakes-placed in the Listed Wellesley Stakes, while King of Comedy has one crop on the ground.
“What Pignan has done to date is an exciting precursor to when she gets over more ground. She won a trial easily at Awapuni on Monday, which should set her up nicely for the Matamata Breeders Stakes next week, and I’m already looking forward to when she steps up to 1400 metres in the Manawatu Sires’ Produce. Another Staphanos filly, The Entertainer, who is rated highly by her trainer Bill Thurlow, finished second without being pushed in her first trial.
“Staphanos proved himself at the highest level in Japan and Hong Kong and he’s a great example of one of the world’s best sire-lines.”
In a local context, that has been quickly proven by the achievements of the first two local crops by fellow Deep Impact stallion Satono Aladdin, headed by Karaka Million 2YO winner Tokyo Tycoon and the year older Grand Impact and Sacred Satono, Group Three winners on either side of the Tasman.
“I like what I see with King of Comedy’s first foals too, they look the part,” Muollo added. “The Invincible Spirit line is already proven out here, they’re horses with that turn of foot. King of Comedy has a lot to offer and broodmare owners think so too with just under 100 mares in his second book last spring.”