Another Mongolian Derby prospect

No it's not Mongolian Khan, but Mongolian Legend and Opie Bosson in winning action.

No it’s not Mongolian Khan, but Mongolian Legend and Opie Bosson in winning action at Ellerslie today.

Mongolian Legend brought back memories of the headline act to race in the same colours when he lived up to a long-held big reputation with a decisive maiden win at Ellerslie today.

Mongolian Legend races in the ownership of the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry (NZ) Ltd, which hit the headlines through the deeds of multiple Group One winner Mongolian Khan.

It was on the same Ellerslie track that Mongolian Khan gained the first of his three Group One wins in the 2015 New Zealand Derby. He then went on to become the first horse to win the NZ Derby, the ATC Derby and the Caulfield Cup and is now among the sires standing at Windsor Park Stud.

Mongolian Legend, a son of champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock, has a long way to go to be even mentioned in the same breath as Mongolian Khan, but he was reminiscent of the dual NZ Horse Of The Year when stretching out over the final stages of the Dunstan Feeds 1200 today.

A similar colouring to Mongolian Khan and also a striking individual by a sire-son of Danehill, Mongolian Legend has attracted attention right from the outset and Lang Lin, head of the Inner Mongolian Rider Horse group, didn’t find it easy to secure him at last year’s Sydney Easter Yearling Sales, going to A$260,000 to get in the deciding bid.

Mongolian Legend then created a favourable impression when being broken in and later caught the attention of trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman. The leading trainers were given the option by Lang Lin of deciding between him or another son of Fastnet Rock, who later became registered as Mongolian Falcon.

“We picked him and he’s only going to get better with racing,” said Forsman.

Mongolian Falcon joined Donna Logan and Chris Gibb’s Ruakaka stable and came up trumps first when winning three of his first seven starts with the highlight being his win in the Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas last October. He then went on to run second to Ugo Foscolo in the Gr.2 James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes at Te Rapa and sixth to the same Cambridge-trained galloper in the Gr.1 Sothys NZ 2000 Guineas at Riccarton.

While Mongolian Falcon has been shining on the racetrack, Baker and Forsman have been taking their time with Mongolian Legend.

They gave him a couple of trials last June for a second and a win. Then came his raceday debut at Te Rapa the following month when he finished fifth of eight behind Bella Gioia at Te Rapa.

Mongolian Legend had another trial almost a couple of months later, then after a break he won at the Te Aroha trials earlier this month, proving he was ready for his second raceday start.

Forsman acknowledged that Mongolian Legend had “all favours” in his trial win and the late scratching of the favourite Neeson (after dumping rider Leith Innes at the barrier) at Ellerslie today paved the way for a win.

Opie Bosson, who had been aboard Mongolian Khan in each of his major wins, rode Mongolian Legend in his latest trial and was again in the saddle this time and he wasn’t about to sit back on the promising galloper.

Mongolian Legend was hunted out to lead by Bosson and kicked on straightening for the run home to be three lengths clear with 200 metres to run. He kept going strongly and went to the line comfortably, scoring by two lengths from Sidestep.

“He’s still pretty green,” said Bosson. “He was changing his legs all the way. Up the straight when I got into him he really flattened out. If something had challenged him he’d have gone again.”

Forsman was pleased to see the “real” Mongolian Legend today.

“It’s definitely good to see him win like that,” he said. “He got to the front and just loafed and had it pretty easy in front. He’s got a lot to learn but I just liked the way he relaxed and hit the line.”

Not surprisingly, Mongolian Legend holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Vodafone NZ Derby at Ellerslie on March 4 and is currently at $26. Now with his maiden win under his belt he is sure to be asked to step up from the 1200 metres next start.

Mongolian Legend has the pedigree to be a realistic Derby prospect, being by Fastnet Rock from Purde, a Bahhare mare who was a black-type performer over ground.

Purde started her career in Cambridge with co-breeder and part-owner Ross McCarroll and won two of her first three starts and went on as a three-year-old to finish fourth in both the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (behind Out Of Align) and the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (behind Shikoba).

She then joined David Hayes’ South Australian stable and ran second first-up in the Listed Centaurea Stakes at Morphettville and followed up with a win in the Gr.3 Auraria Stakes and fourths in the Gr.1 Schweppes Oaks and the Gr.1 South Australian Derby.

She won a further race, over 1600 metres, in Melbourne and gained further black-type when third in the Gr.2 VRC Matriarch Stakes and the Gr.2 MRC Herbert Power Stakes.

Purde has already left a black-type performer, Let’s See Action, a five-race winner who has been black-type placed in Singapore, and now Mongolian Legend is showing the potential to do even better.