A pair of talented Wexford Stables performers, one proven and the other potentially heading for higher honours, may be heading offshore.
Group victor Sweet Leader and the impressive debutant winner Smart Patch are both owned in Hong Kong, the likely destination for their future racing.
“At this stage, Sweet Leader is heading up there,” said Andrew Scott, who trains in partnership with Lance O’Sullivan whose brother Paul will take over the next stage of the four-year-old’s career.
“If he performs like we know he can in Hong Kong then it’s good for Paul, for us and for the owner.”
Sweet Leader has won three of his seven starts, including last season’s Group 3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa.
This term, he finished sixth when resuming and then gave an excellent account of himself when fifth in the Group 1 Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day. The son of O’Reilly was caught in the worst part of a track that had been downgraded to a Slow 8.
“His run was full of merit,” Scott said. “He drew one and the advantage was clearly closer to the outside rail.”
Smart Patch is raced by Yeung Kin-Man and he was one of three winners at Matamata last week for the Hong Kong-based billionaire following early successes with Jewel Of Patch and Wisdom Patch.
Yeung is the founder and chairman of Biel Crystal Manufactory, which makes glass covers for smartphones, tablets and watches and supplies, among others, Apple and Samsung. The company has more than 120,000 employees.
Smart Patch created a lasting impression on debut when he overcame a tardy start to win by a widening five lengths over 1100m.
“He had been working like he was going to perform very well and his trials had also been encouraging,” Scott said.
“His last 600m was pretty fast and the manner in which he quickened was really very good. There’s a possibility he may go straight to Hong Kong now.”