Hong Kong Derby tilt for Nicola Chu-bred

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  • March 20, 2024
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Hong Kong Derby tilt for Nicola Chu-bred


When classy four-year-old Chill Chibi takes his place in Sunday’s BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m), it will mark a significant achievement for breeder Nicola Chu.


Chu, who breeds under the banner of the Hong Kong Breeders Club, is achieving exactly what she set out to do, by producing horses good enough to compete in Hong Kong’s most coveted race.


Bred and raised at Highview Stud in New Zealand, of which Chu is a part-owner, the son of Wrote was a winner at his second Hong Kong start when successful over a mile at Happy Valley in February last year.


The Danny Shum-trained four-year-old returned after a lengthy absence with an emphatic victory over the same course and distance in November.


After completing a hat-trick in his next Class Three test over 1650m a fortnight later, Chill Chibi  continued his ascendancy over 1800m by notching his fourth win on the bounce and third in the space of a month.


Tested in Class 2 company in December, Chill Chibi finished third but was subsequently found to have a hind limb lameness.


Off the scene until the Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) the four-year-old was one of the eyecatchers of the race, coming from last to finish seventh and he looks certain to relish the 2000m of the Derby.


Chu is a shareholder in Highview Stud stallion Wrote, a Grade 1 winning son of High Chaparral, who is making a good impression. He has had three runners to date in Hong Kong for three winners, while he sired his first Group One winner in New Zealand last weekend when Pulchritudinous won the New Zealand Oaks (2400m) in emphatic fashion.


Wrote was the third leading sire by average at Karaka Book 2 behind popular fellow young sires Ardrossan and Satono Aladdin.


Chill Chibi comes from a family that Chu knows well, having raced his dam My Amazing Cool, a daughter of her Group One performed son of Danehill, Danroad, who also stood at Highview Stud.


It is the second-year in succession that Chu has bred a Derby runner. Vice Chair of the Hong Kong Thoroughbred Breeders’ Alliance, Chu also bred Sweet Encounter, who was seventh in the blue riband race last year.


The winner of five of his 22 starts, Sweet Encounter is prepared by John Size and boasts a further seven placings for owner Vicky Tang.


Like Chill Chibi, Sweet Encounter was sold as a yearling by Highview Stud and went on to do further education through the New Zealand trials system. Chill Chibi had three trials for Cambridge horseman Ben Foote, while Sweet Encounter finished runner-up in his only trial for Jenna Mahoney.


“It is so exciting seeing a number of our New Zealand bred horses making a significant impact in the Hong Kong racing scene,” Chu said.


“I will be cheering loudly for Chill Chibi on Sunday and nothing would make me prouder than breeding a Derby winner.” – NZ Racing Desk

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