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Clarken Racing | Clarken Racing News 58761 Galaxy Patch Hong Kongs Rising Star

Galaxy Patch - Hong Kong's rising star

Galaxy Patch - Hong Kong's rising star
It's a story that has its beginnings in a tragedy etched in the mind of so many Australians and one that leads to a horse capturing the imagination of the Hong Kong racing public with his devastating finishes... the story of Galaxy Patch (Wandjina).

Christmas Day 1974 is an unlikely place to start the story of a horse who in 2024 is proving himself to be one of the best in Hong Kong. But indulge me as I go back in history a bit!

Two people working for the government, based in Darwin. Living in different houses but not too far apart, going through the same terrifying experience as Cyclone Tracy tore through the city.

Both hiding downstairs behind walls they thought might withstand the punishment being inflicted on Darwin by the weather gods, both worried that they might not live to tell the tale.

But live they did, Rob and Maureen ending up sharing accommodation with a dozen other people with 80 per cent of Darwin's buildings gone - including both of their homes.

“They just started to fall apart around us,” they recalled.

“It was pitch black," Maureen said - “the only time you could see was when there was a flash of lightning and you'd get glimpses of complete devastation.”

“You couldn't stick your head out to see what was happening,” Rob recalled, “due to the flying debris.”

Becoming friends - and eventually more - Rob and Maureen McBryde married a few years later. Maureen was already a horse person, Rob "thinking that I better get a horse and learn how to ride!"

Summerset Park Stud is born

Whilst still in Darwin, the couple participated in horse shows where a horse who'd retired from the track off seven wins caught the eye.

As it turns out the owner was considering selling and before too long the handsome thoroughbred Bossie, a son of the imported Safety Match, was theirs and they set about breeding riding horses by him.

By this stage they were living in Adelaide where a trip to the ABCOS Sales to buy a nice mare for Bossie proved fateful for not long after they bought one, the sales company called to ask if they'd like to make a quick 50 per cent profit on her as someone wanted her.

Another early mare was Leisure Dollar (Millionaire {Ire}), dam of four winners including the dual city winner Summer Gambit (Bestebreuje {Ire}) whose five winners included the star jumpers Some Are Bent (Distorted Humor {USA}) and Black And Bent (Black Hawk {GB}).

“We thought we were breeding sprinters!” Rob laughed, noting that Some Are Bent was sharp enough early days to earn black-type as a 3-year-old.

How Womantic a smart one for Summerset

Summerset also bred out of Summer Gambit the three times city winner Banderilla (Delzao) who sadly did not have much luck at stud with only one named foal - the McBrydes proud breeders of the classy filly How Womantic (The Wow Signal {Ire}) who won five of her 16 starts including the G3 Kevin Hayes S.

Instead of selling the mare, they decided she was worthy of going to a more commercial stallion and before they knew it they'd accumulated more mares and they were suddenly racehorse breeders, trading as Summerset Park Stud.

And so, since 1984 Summerset have been taking horses to the sales, all the time enjoying the challenges presented by the endeavour - learning along the way and doing ‘plenty of homework.’

Including interstate trips to sales and studs, talking to other breeders and taking it all in. One of the first mares acquired was the well related Lightning Flash (Fr) (Lightning {Fr}) from whom the McBrydes bred their first winner Summer Magic (Eagling {GB}) who was successful on two occasions at Morphettville, going on to a good career a stud - nicely represented by nine winners including the stakes placed Surmato (Bellotto {USA}).

She was sold by the stud to Spicer Thoroughbreds for $50,000 at the 2018 William Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, later sold through an Inglis digital sale for $300,000 to Group 1 Bloodstock.

It was three years later that Summerset took to the sales - to the Adelaide Magic Millions - a colt by Wandjina out of the unraced Voltara (More Than Ready {USA}) who they had also bred - and who had her own tale to tell.

“It was early days for More Than Ready and we were able to get him for $15,000 which was at the very top end of our budget at the time,” Rob recalled.

An instant broodmare

A lovely filly eventuated, hopes high for a nice profit as she gained a position in the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. Only to be found to have a cataract in her eye, a subsequent operation seeing her losing her eyesight - ‘and so we had an instant broodmare!’

Sadly Voltara and her foal (by Dirty Work) died during a difficult birth on Melbourne Cup Day last year - ‘a very sad day for us’- leaving behind an excellent record with all eight of her named foals being winners including the stakes placed city winners Comearoundsundown (Not A Single Doubt) and Creativity (Master Of Design).

Exceltara (Excelebration {GB}), Freedom Road (Good Journey {USA}) and Voltage Point (Artie Schiller {USA}) have also been city winners for Voltara - the latter (who is part-owned by Summerset) finishing off well when third at Morphettville last weekend.

Summerset don't have any of Voltara's daughters but they do have her half-sister Inca Flame (Hussonet {USA}) out of whom they bred a $150,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast National Yearling Sale colt by Toronado (Ire)... Magic Cosmos also a Hong Kong resident (yet to race).

“We have a lovely Gold Standard colt out of her and hopefully her half-brother can show something before he is sold - and that Galaxy Patch can keep on winning for him.”

Special from day one

The seventh live foal produced by Voltara, Galaxy Patch showed himself to be something rather special from day one - racing as Gulinga Spirit showing good heart knuckling down late to win at his Morphettville debut for the Will Clarken and Niki O'Shea stable in January last year.

Sold by Summerset to Clarken, Suman Hedge Bloodstock and David Jolly for $50,000 (his reserve) at the 2021 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale, Galaxy Patch was described by Rob McBryde as being “a very athletic, forward horse who was very popular at the sales.”

“He was a big, gangly foal - a typical Danehill but with longer legs than most.”

“I remember Will (Clarken) telling us after that he thought he'd stolen him from us,” Rob said, noting that Wandjina “was not the flavour of the month at the time.”

He was, however, a great match for Voltara with Maureen describing the mating as ‘a no-brainer.’

“Wandjina had not had many winners at the time but his best ones were out of More Than Ready mares (his Listed winner Express Pass for example) and when I called up the mating there were lots of good crosses.”

Utilizing the pedigree programmes Tesio Power and Equisleuth, Maureen puts hours of research into planning the Summerset matings. First a budget is worked out, then the pedigrees studied, then the stallions inspected to ensure that the mating is also going to ‘produce the best possible type.’

Not long after the sale of their Wandjina colt, the McBrydes headed to a stable open day - a family friend hoping to secure a share in the young horse only to discover that he was already full subscribed.

The McBrydes were excited by Gulinga Spirit's winning debut and all the more so by his Hong Kong start - in October last year the Pierre Ng trained gelding charging late off a slow start to win over 1200m at Shatin.

Fifth at his next start, he then won three in a row - each in easy fashion. Tackling stronger company, he performed consistently without winning but was proving competitive with some of Hong Kong's best gallopers.

A big impression

Creating a big impression with a fast finishing G1 Hong Kong Derby second over 2000m having had his previous two starts over 1000m and 1400m, Galaxy Patch then dropped back in trip to tackle the topliners in the G1 Champions Mile in which he was fifth.

Since then he has raced twice - three weeks ago charging late to claim success in the G3 Lion Rock Trophy and on Sunday again putting in the big strides late to win the G3 Premier Plate in particularly exciting fashion.

“He showed that he has a blistering turn of foot,” Rob McBryde said, adding that witnessing Galaxy Patch's career has been exceptionally exciting - “we are over the moon.”

The McBrydes were please to meet Galaxy Patch's trainer Pierre Ng at this year's Melbourne Premier Sale where he joked “I'd love to buy another horse like him from you” - their reply being “and we'd love to breed another one like him!”

A very, very exciting horse

Also enjoying Galaxy Patch's stellar form is Neville Murdoch whose Larneuk Stud is home to Wandjina.

“It his flabbergasting the way he finishes off,” Neville said - “he is a very, very exciting horse.”

Originally standing at Newgate off a racing career that saw him win three races including the G1 Australian Guineas, Wandjina - who James Harron purchased for $1 million at Easter in 2013 - made his way to Victoria in 2021.

“He is a horse who deserves to get his 50 to 60 mares a year,” Neville said, noting that a stallion such as him would've easily done so in the past, in a different time and a different market.

Serving 15 mares last year and 41 the year before, Wandjina is a bit more on people's radars now - his strike rate a solid 67.9 per cent, Neville hopeful that a horse like Galaxy Patch can make him all the more appealing to broodmare owners.

“We have had a few enquiries so I am staying positive,” he said.

Neville took an instant liking to Wandjina and soon purchased him - now owning the 12-year-old outright.

“He is a really lovely style of horse,” he said - “his fertility is good and he has a beautiful temperament. We even had some European interest in him a couple of years ago.”

Neville stands Wandjina alongside the well related Wolf Cry and two new boys for 2024 - the former Darley horse Impending who has had a recent rush of winners including the promising New Zealand juvenile Imptee and the Group 1 winner Lauda Sion (Jpn) who has been purchased by a Larneuk client.

“His owner is keen as mustard about him and is going to support him with some nice mares,” Neville said, describing the Deep Impact (Jpn) line horse as “a really interesting horse for us - he is a stunning type.”

Maybe the most talented I've bought

“Galaxy Patch may be the most talented horse I have bought,” said Suman Hedge and considering his record of finding rather nice types that is high praise indeed.

“He can do things other horses can't do,” he said, noting Galaxy Patch's ability to finish of so strongly over varying distances.

“I must admit that we did not envisage his versatility when he was sold to Hong Kong,” he said.

Hedge has in his mind a clear picture of Galaxy Patch at the sales - despite the fact that he was involved in the purchase of number of horses that day.

“He is the one who sticks in the memory,” he said.

“He was a little bit narrow - a big, rangy coat-hanger type, not really the sort we'd normally be after. But he had this big step and used himself particularly well - he tracked so nicely from behind and was very efficient with his movement.

“We had him out three or four times and he paraded better each time.

“Rob and Maureen McBryde are such nice and honest people and they gave us a good appraisal of the horse.

Suman was happy with the gelding's debut win in Adelaide and pleased for the owners who received “four or five times what they paid for him.”

Though in retrospect...

“Normally you'd think that was a pretty good deal but in this case this horse could be pretty special! But everyone is very happy to see him go on and do such a good job in Hong Kong.”

A future star

Galaxy Patch's trainer Pierre Ng is looking forward to seeing what his still up-and-coming charge can go on to, telling the HKJC that ‘definitely we are aiming for the big races.’

“You can see he's a much more mature horse now and I hope we can see him all the more mature next season.”

“He came from impossible position today,” he said, taking note of the bay's versatility - performing well over a variety of distances.

Covering his final 200m in 21.69 seconds, Galaxy Patch had jockey Vincent Ho excited - “he is a horse with plenty of potential, he is a future star.”

 

Story from TTR AusNZ

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