TRAINER Dennis Yip is considering a tilt at the Group 1 FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup next month after the former Irish-bred and trained Massive Sovereign (No Nay Never) completed an extraordinary rise to glory with a spectacular win in the HK$26 million BMW Hong Kong Derby under Zac Purton at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Providing Yip with his first win in the classic and Purton with his second, Massive Sovereign clocked the fastest time in Derby history, 1m 59.85sec, since the race distance was changed to 10 furlongs in 2000, bettering champion Golden Sixty’s time of 2m 00.15sec set four years ago. The first three home all broke two minutes.

Formerly known as Broadhurst when trained by Aidan O’Brien in Ireland, Massive Sovereign was having only his second Hong Kong start, having secured a place in the Derby field with a stunning debut win over the course and distance at the start of the month.

Hong Kong champion trainer in 2012/13, this was the most important success of Yip’s career. Afterwards he said of the winner: “He’s a very special horse with a very good mind. The last furlong I was very nervous but I rely on Zac. He is the champion jockey in Hong Kong and everything was good with the horse.

“This horse, the first day he arrived in Hong Kong, he (Purton) sent me the video (of Broadhurst’s win at Leopardstown) and told me he thought he was a nice horse and asked me if he could ride him. I’ve already entered him for the FWD QEII Cup at the end of April. I will see how the horse pulls up. If he’s good and he improves, I will go this way.”

Late pick-up

The four-year-old Massive Sovereign won two of five starts for O’Brien, both over seven furlongs, and they included a premier handicap on Irish Champions’ Weekend. Winning rider Purton said: “I didn’t really have a horse for the Derby until this bloke won so it was a late pick-up ride into the race.

“I feel extremely honoured and privileged to have found such a horse 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.

“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. I’m not sure how good he’s going to be, only time will tell but he’s done a good job so far.”

Exciting future

The future certainly looks exciting for Massive Sovereign, and of Sunday’s race carried a massive prize fund of €1.7 million for the winner. This places the gelding second to Alcohol Free on the list of leading money winners for Coolmore’s No Nay Never (Scat Daddy). The sire is reviewed elsewhere in this week’s paper.

Bred by Lynch Bages and Summerhill Bloodstock, Broadhurst first came to notice when he sold for €620,000 at the Goffs Orby Sale from Camas Park Stud. He was the fourth highest-priced colt at the sale. His dam Sweet Charity (Myboycharlie) was sold to BBA Ireland at the Keeneland January Sale in 2019 for $250,000 and shipped to Ireland to be covered by No Nay Never, Massive Sovereign is her first offspring, and he paid for the whole operation when selling as a yearling.

Sweet Charity was a listed winner in France, after which she sold at the Arqana Arc Sale for €450,000 to Lane’s End. She won afterwards in the USA and placed in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes, before being resold at a loss. She visited No Nay Never for her first four years at stud, and after Massive Sovereign she had three fillies, two of which were offered for sale but retained.

Her three-year-old Love Comedy (No Nat Never) was retained for €95,000 but then found her way to Japan. She won first time out last December, but has disappointed on both of her subsequent starts. Sweet Charity’s two-year-old is named Boxie (No Nay Never).

Prior connection

This is a solid family, and one that Camas Park Stud has had a prior connection with. Sweet Charity is the best of five winners from Sapfo (Peintre Celebre), and that winning mare’s half-sister Aktoria (Canford Cliffs) was bought in December by Mags O’Toole at Arqana for €210,000 from the estate of the late Lady O’Reilly. Her appeal was obvious, being a listed winner and dam of last year’s Group 3 Prix Greffulhe winner Greenland (Saxon Warrior). For good measure, Aktoria was in foal again to Saxon Warrior (Deep Impact).

Greenland provides the previous connection to Camas Park. He was purchased by the Tipperary farm for 160,000gns as a foal before being resold for 300,000gns as a yearling, Greenland’s dam Aktoria, the group-placed Galaktea (Statue Of Liberty) and the stakes-placed Now You’re Talking (Zoffany) are among nine winners out of the lightly-raced winner Granadilla (Zafonic). Her dam was the stakes winner Epagris (Zalazl).