An equine family connection stretching back 23 years created history in Japan on Sunday evening, when Windsor Park-bred Aerovelocity (Pins) beat a field of Japan’s best sprinters in the Gr.1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo racecourse.
Trained by Paul O’Sullivan, Aerovelocity became the first foreign racehorse to win the Japanese Gr.1 race, which is one of a series of races that comprise the Global Sprint Challenge.
A former champion New Zealand trainer, now training in Hong Kong, O’Sullivan produced Aerovelocity to win on the rain-affected going in the slick time of 1.08.5, eliciting high praise from the trainer.
“I’ve trained a lot of good horses in my career but he is possibly the greatest horse I have ever trained,” O’Sullivan said.
“Japan is an extremely difficult place to win a race and every trainer around the world respects the quality of horses in Japan. You don’t see many horses that can pick themselves up off the deck and do what he did”, declared O’Sullivan.
One of the many topclass racehorses O’Sullivan was formerly associated with in New Zealand when training in partnership with his father Dave, was Aerovelocity’s close relative Nimue (Star Way). She too was bred by Windsor Park and was crowned Champion New Zealand 3YO Filly of the 1992/93 racing season.
O’Sullivan is no stranger to major success in Japan having previously trained the great mare Horlicks (Three Legs) with father Dave, to win the 1989 Japan Cup in world record time.
This is the second occasion Aerovelocity has created history as he was also the first New Zealand bred racehorse to win the international Gr.1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin last December, another leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
Bred by Windsor Park’s Nelson Schick and Steve Till, Aerovelocity is the third foal of his dam Exodus, a daughter of Windsor Park’s former champion sire Kaapstad (Sir Tristram).
A winner at 1600m, Exodus was retired from racing after fracturing her pastern badly in a race. Besides Aerovelocity, Exodus has also produced the Sydney metropolitan winner Our Billy Blue. She subsequently died from an infection, resulting from her racing injuries, after producing just three living foals.
Exodus is a sister to the Gr.2 winner Kapitain Kash, and half sister to Sydney Listed winner Dante’s Paradiso while her dam Lady Genesis (Star Way) was a three quarter blood sister to the Nimue (Star Way), winner of the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas.
Aerovelocity was a Windsor Park yearling sales graduate when bought from their 2010 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling draft by Paul O’Sullivan and his brother Lance, for $120,000.
“He was a magnificent individual that I was determined to get my hands on,” O’Sullivan recalled.
Aerovelocity has now repaid his purchase price many times over as the winner of 9 races from 17 starts and more than $4.4 million in prizemoney.
O’Sullivan is now considering other races in the Global Sprint Challenge series for Aerovelocity including the S$1million Gr.1 KrisFlyer International Sprint, over 1200m in Singapore on May 17th.