The agent behind Glorious Forever reveals how he found the Hong Kong Cup hero
Alastair Donald reflects on finding his latest Group 1 winner
The sibling rivalry between Glorious Forever and Time Warp has brought an intriguing subplot to the Hong Kong racing scene.
On Sunday it was Glorious Forever's turn in the spotlight, as the four-year-old wrested the Hong Kong Cup crown from his older brother with a determined front-running performance.
Having been bred in Newmarket by Kirsten Rausing, pedigree is not the only thing the pair have in common, as the sons of Archipenko were both unearthed by Alastair Donald of SackvilleDonald prior to moving to Hong Kong.
Despite Time Warp being the older of the pair, Donald actually secured Glorious Forever first. However, Time Warp's early talent had a significant hand in Donald's decision to part with 110,000gns for the younger brother at Book 2 of the 2015 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.
"I'd been watching Time Warp as a two-year-old and I'd actually been to see him at Sir Mark Prescott's," Donald said of his initial involvement. "He was a very impressive physical as a two-year-old and I remember thinking he was going to make into a very good three-year-old.
"Then the full-brother [Glorious Forever] appeared at the yearling sales. I'd been so impressed by Time Warp and his brother was the spitting image, so we bought him when we got the chance. He was a nice prospect but he was very big and weak and just took time to come to hand."
Glorious Forever's customary pace-forcing tactics were first seen to good effect when he broke his maiden at Windsor on his second start for Ed Walker in the colours of Kangyu International Racing.
By that point Donald had already purchased Time Warp privately in the aftermath of his Saint-Cloud Listed win, after which he transferred to the stable of Tony Cruz, for whom he has won two Group 1s and a Group 3.
Glorious Forever added to his own tally at three, at which point his owner decided to sell.
"After he'd won at Sandown the owner chose to sell him to one of his friends in Hong Kong," explained Donald. "That was always the plan as he buys yearlings with the view to selling them to Hong Kong at the right time."
Glorious Forever has remained on a steep upward curve since switching to Hong Kong, with his win on Sunday his fourth at Sha Tin and a clear career-best.
The move has also seen him face off against his brother three times, with the score standing at one apiece, the pair having finished sixth and ninth respectively on their second meeting.
"It's fascinating that they've both ended up in Hong Kong, they've both won the same race and they've both broken the Hong Kong track record," Donald said of the pair's respective career trajectories. "Time Warp had the Hong Kong 2,000m record - he was the first horse ever to run under two minutes - then a couple of months later his little brother beat it.
"It's a thrill to win another Group 1, especially as it's such a great story," said Donald, who has sourced the winners of 35 Group 1 races in Hong Kong.
"It's nice that one was bought as a horse in training and the other was bought as a yearling, that's quite satisfying. My client who sold Glorious Forever to his friend had slightly mixed feelings over the result though!"
When asked what he looks for in a potential purchase for Hong Kong, Donald said: "They need to have a bit of size as you need a robust, solid horse. Time Warp and Glorious Forever are both 16.2 [hands] and 500 kilo plus - they've both thrived in Hong Kong. It's important they enjoy fast ground too as you don't get much soft over there."
Given the riches on offer - Sunday's Hong Kong Cup was worth £1,509,933 to the winner - Donald said there has been an upsurge in interest in securing horses for the Hong Kong market in recent years.
"There's been fierce competition over the last five or six years for the right horse," he said. "Especially as there aren't that many horses who tick all the boxes for Hong Kong."
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