Royal Ascot Winner To Ship To Hong Kong, Waipiro Back In England

The Siu family is hoping the future is bright for its two Royal Ascot heroes as they head in opposite directions

Royal Ascot Winner To Ship To Hong Kong, Waipiro Back In England

The Siu family is hoping the future is bright for its two Royal Ascot heroes as they head in opposite directions

Siu Pak-kwan’s recent Royal Ascot hero Mickley will ship to Hong Kong to continue his career and will not race again in Britain this season, but the same owner’s Waipiro has moved back to England as he continues to recover from a tendon tear.

Mickley displayed good speed and fine resolution to win the Britannia Handicap over a mile at Ascot last week for trainer Ed Bethell and that race has long been a source of potential Hong Kong Derby candidates. Needless to say a Hong Kong relocation was expected, given that Siu is one of the city’s most prominent racehorse owners.

But connections are not banking on the son of the speedy Soldier’s Call being the one to give the Siu family its first Derby victory at Sha Tin next March. After all, his sire was best at six furlongs, and this gelding is out of a sprinting daughter of the Wertheimer family’s top class Pas De Reponse whose best came at the same distance when winning the G1 Cheveley Park Stakes.

“He has a lot of speed so we’ll have to see about the Derby,” Alastair Donald, the Siu family’s racing manager and bloodstock agent told Idol Horse. “He was bought as just a really nice horse for Hong Kong with a lot of potential and quality.”

Martin Siu, one of Siu’s three children, all of whom own horses in Hong Kong racing in variations of the well-known red and black silks, confirmed that view.

“He could be a Derby horse but that’s not the target, as such,” he said. “He’s proven at a mile now, so we want him to come here and race in Hong Kong and get good results. The Derby, if he can, of course we would like to run him, but if he’s not ready or he’s not suitable for that, we’ll wait and see if he can make it to the Hong Kong International Races next year.”

The Siu family came closest to winning the Hong Kong Derby in recent times when Waikuku, wearing the silks of Martin Siu’s wife Jocelyn, was second in 2019. That horse proved to be a top-class miler, and the race, over 2000 metres at Sha Tin, has long been seen as one that the right type of classy miler can stretch out to win or go close.

Waikuku wins the G1 Stewards' Cup
WAIKUKU, JOAO MOREIRA / G1 Stewards’ Cup // Sha Tin /// 2020 //// Photo by Lo Chun Kit

Jockey Callum Rodriguez has ridden Mickley in each of his five starts to date, for three wins, and is well-placed to offer some insight.

“Early in his two-year-old career he was so laid back and wouldn’t really show his hand, so because there was so much speed in the pedigree, there was some discussion about possibly coming back to six furlongs as he matured and got sharper with racing, but he’s still a very laid back horse and stepping up to the mile definitely suited him,” Rodriguez said.

“He really does get the mile well, so there’d be no rush to go back to six furlongs based on that. I can’t be sure he’d stay further than the mile but he hit the line well at Ascot, and because he’s a very laid back horse you’d think he’d give himself every chance of staying further.”

The rider, whose biggest win came last September in the G1 Sprint Cup at Haydock, also believes there could be plenty of upside to Mickley.

“You just wouldn’t know where his limit is because of that laid back character; he never really shows himself too much in his work or even in his races; I would say he’s very classy, he’s always worked to a good level and it’ll be very exciting to see what he can go on to achieve.”

Which Hong Kong trainer’s stable will be bolstered by Mickley has not yet been confirmed, but Siu did reveal that last year’s high-profile import, Waipiro, a half-brother to Waikuku, is back in England with a view to returning to full training with his former handler.

“He will stay with Ed Walker,” Siu said.

Waipiro wins the G3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot
WAIPIRO / G3 Hampton Court Stakes // Ascot /// 2023 //// Photo by Alan Crowhurst

Waipiro won the 2023 G3 Hampton Court Stakes at the Royal meeting for Walker in Siu Pak-kwan’s silks before moving to John Size’s Sha Tin base. But the exciting one-time Derby prospect suffered a tendon injury before he was able to race in the city.

“It’s a tendon, so on the one hand it’s a serious injury, but on the other hand, it’s a tear and that tear can heal with time, so it needs patience. His recovery so far has been brilliant, better than we expected, so we hope he can return to racing next year,” Siu said.

The Siu family’s great hope is that both horses might be in action at the December 2025 Hong Kong International Races.

David Morgan is Chief Journalist at Idol Horse. As a sports mad young lad in County Durham, England, horse racing hooked him at age 10. He has a keen knowledge of Hong Kong and Japanese racing after nine years as senior racing writer and racing editor at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. David has also worked in Dubai and spent several years at the Racenews agency in London. His credits include among others Racing Post, ANZ Bloodstock News, International Thoroughbred, TDN, and Asian Racing Report.

View all articles by David Morgan.

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