where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2024-03-24 11:40:56  
Massive Sovereign wins a Smart Hong Kong Derby

Massive Sovereign, formerly known as Broadhurst when trained by Aidan O’Brien in Ireland, stole the spotlight at Sha Tin on Sunday (24 March) with an impressive victory in the HK$26 million BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m). Under the skilled guidance of jockey Zac Purton, Massive Sovereign surged from the back of the pack to cross the finish line in record time, clocking 1m 59.85s. This remarkable performance not only secured trainer Dennis Yip his first-ever triumph in the Classic but also marked Purton’s second victory in the prestigious race.

In a thrilling climax, Massive Sovereign edged out Galaxy Patch by a neck, with Ka Ya Generation closely behind in third place. The three contenders broke the two-minute mark on the firm surface, captivating the 60,976 spectators in attendance. 

Following his sensational debut win over the same course and distance just weeks prior, Massive Sovereign entered the Derby as a favorite, eventually starting at odds of 4.4. Despite sitting towards the rear of the field initially, Massive Sovereign gradually made his move, ultimately overpowering his rivals in the final stretch.

Trainer Dennis Yip expressed his elation at the monumental victory, highlighting the significance of the Derby in his career. He praised Massive Sovereign as a special horse with an exceptional temperament and hinted at a possible bid for the G1 FWD QEII Cup next month, pending the horse's recovery and improvement.

"It's very exciting. I think the Derby for me is more important than the championship…but this one for my life is the big one," Yip said. "He's a very special horse with a very good mind. The last 200m I was very nervous but I rely on Zac. He is the champion jockey in Hong Kong and everything was good with the horse."

For jockey Zac Purton, the victory aboard Massive Sovereign was the culmination of a series of fortuitous events, describing it as a late pick-up ride into the race. He lauded the horse's adaptability and praised his winning attitude, emphasizing the significance of the Derby win in the Hong Kong racing circuit.

"I feel extremely honoured and privileged to have found such a horse to win it. To win the race itself, it’s the most prestigious race in Hong Kong and I’ve had a frustrating run in this race and a frustrating season, so it’s nice to get another big one – and probably the biggest one among the local races overall," Purton said. "He’s shown us so far that he’s the ideal horse here in Hong Kong and he’s got such a good attitude. He just takes everything in his stride since he got here. I loved him in the mornings, you love a lot of horses in the morning but they don’t turn up on race days – this guy has turned up on race day so far."

With this triumph, Purton's tally for the season soared to 83 wins, firmly establishing him as a leading figure in Hong Kong racing. Trainer Francis Lui also enjoyed success with a treble, while Tony Cruz secured a double, adding to the excitement of Derby Day at Sha Tin.

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