Three Cambridge Group One stars honoured

Sakhee's Soldier eyeing up his prospects for the new season after his winning streak last term. (Photo: Wally O'Hearn).

Sakhee’s Soldier eyeing up his prospects for the new season after his winning streak last term. (Photo: Wally O’Hearn).

Cambridge-trained gallopers Diademe, Sakhee’s Soldier and Turn Me Loose were among the Group One winners honoured at the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Cathay Pacific Horse Of The Year function in Hamilton last Friday.

The trio of top-class performers from Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman’s stable are among 25 Group One winners bred in the Waikato region.

Diademe earned her award through her win in the Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha, while Sakhee’s Soldier’s Group One win came in the Ronald McDonald House NZ Stakes at Ellerslie and Turn Me Loose won the Gr. 1 Sothys NZ 2000 Guineas at Riccarton.

Diademe, a daughter of Savabeel and Bling, was bred by Waikato Stud’s Garry Chittick, while The Oaks Stud bred Sakhee’s Soldier (Sakhee’s Secret – Surreptitiously) and Turn Me Loose (Iffraaj – Indomitable) was bred by former Cambridge Jockey Club President, George Simon, and his wife, Maryanne.

The Cathay Pacific Horse Of The Year award went to the Paul O’Sullivan-trained Aerovelocity, who had Group One success in three countries last season. He won the Chukyo Takamatsunomiya Kinen in Japan, the Krisflyer Sprint in Singapore and the Longines Hong Kong Sprint in Hong Kong.

Aerovelocity was bred by the Windsor Park Stud duo of Nelson Schick and Steve Till and was purchased by O’Sullivan out of the Cambridge’s farm’s 2010 Premier Sale draft at Karaka for $120,000.

He has won nine of his 17 starts in Hong Kong after beginning his career in New Zealand with a debut success at Awapuni for Matamata trainer Andrew Scott.

“We’re very proud and it was 33 years ago that Nelson and Sue Schick lent me my first mare and that was Arga and from her I bred Lady Genesis,” Till said.

“Nelson came in with me to race Lady Genesis and from her we bred Exodus, the mother of Aerovelocity. It’s a family that has been one of Windsor Park’s best with Lady Genesis a three-quarter sister to Nimue.

“To have now bred a horse of Aerovelocity’s quality is very special for Nelson and I.”

The Mills Reef Personality Of The Year award was presented to Cambridge breeder and owner Des Hawkins, of Wentwood Grange.