Diviner making a splash at Sha Tin
Equiano (Fr) has reined in the year with a rush of winners in Hong Kong and Australia. His Hong Kong sprinter Water Diviner (Aus) kept an unbeaten record intact for trainer Francis Lui at Sha Tin on December 11. Water Diviner (4g Equiano - Check In Time by Blevic) had won by a nose on debut last month and he arrived just in time for another narrow victory on International Day. “I asked Craig (Williams) to settle back from the wide barrier draw and the plan worked well,” Lui explained. “We might aim for 1400 metres now that he showed ability to close from the rear.” Water Diviner (pictured below on far side) was purchased by agent Anton Koolman for $150,000 out of the 2014 NZB 2YO Sale at Karaka. He won at Canterbury for trainer John Sargent earlier this year before flying off-shore in April. New owners Philip Liu Chun Hang and Danny Ng Tsz Lung have already banked the equivalent of AUD252,650.
His dam Check In Time won at Murray Bridge for the Terry family and they bred her to Equiano for three seasons in a row at Swettenham Stud. After Water Diviner, she foaled Abolitionist who is with Tony McEvoy and a filly that has been retained. Free Standing is another first-crop Equiano from Swettenham to double up this month. He graduated from a Grafton win to score a soft, two-length victory in the TAB Highway Hcp (1200m) at Randwick on December 17. Jockey Jay Ford was impressed after booting him home on a Heavy 9. "The others were scouting wide for better going so I just seized the opportunity to come up the inside," Ford said. "He's a very consistent animal and deserved that win." Free Standing (4g Equiano - Motown Melody by Commands) was bred by Buchan-based Shea Reynolds and was purchased by clients of Coffs Harbour trainer Catherine Rode. Her dam won a Super VOBIS 3yo bonus at Sandown-Hillside for Reynolds and Mike Moroney. Another Equiano with a bright future, albeit over more ground, is Boxing Day winner Equistar. He races in the burgeoning aqua-blue colours of Aquis Farm owner Tony Fung and his son Justin. Equistar (3g Equiano - Video Star by Quest for Fame) won a hard-fought finish to the XXXX Maiden Hcp (1600m) at Sunshine Coast. He appreciated a mile at the first time of asking for trainer Steve O’Dea who is based at Eagle Farm but is also head trainer of Aquis Farm at Canungra. The stamina influence comes through his dam who won 6 times from 1600m to 3100m topped by a Listed Warrnambool Cup and Roy Higgins Quality at Flemington. Equiano’s next crop of yearlings will be offered at the Inglis Premier Sale in February - March. Among them is the younger brother to Super VOBIS Horse of the Year Valliano who won the $250,000 Inglis 2YO Premier and $280,000 VOBIS Gold Ingot.