Fri | Apr 28, 2017

Ali Baba gives Kong elusive Classic win

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2015 | 4:00 AMOrville Clarke
ALI BABA (right), with Robert Halledeen aboard, beating stable companion SEEKING MY DREAM (Shane Ellis) to win the 2015 Post to Post 2000 Guineas over 1600 metres at Caymanas Park on Easter Monday.

Veteran owner Winston Kong came up trumps at Caymanas Park on Easter Monday when his much-improved three-year-old colt, ALI BABA, provided him with his first classic success as both owner and breeder in the Post To Post 2000 Guineas over a mile.

Prior to this popular victory by the Wayne DaCosta-trained ALI BABA, Kong recalled that he went through two heartbreaking experiences in trying to win the Guineas classics.

"In 2009, I had a highly fancied horse in The Gummer with Omar Walker riding for DaCosta, but he was beaten by a nose by Bruceontheloose with Winston Griffiths aboard in an epic last furlong duel.

"Then, in 1998, I was the owner and breeder of a brilliant unbeaten filly Run Tat Run, who was the hot ante-post favourite for the 1000 Guineas. But fate dealt me an unexpected blow as Run Tat Run, who was trained by DaCosta, died suddenly on the eve of the race," he lamented.

"Losing a young horse with such enormous ability and potential was a bitter pill to swallow," confessed the Florida-based owner who commutes between Miami and Jamaica on a regular basis.

Continuing, Kong said: "As an owner, you have to mix the rough and the smooth and I was quietly confident that Ali Baba would come good on this occasion.

"True, he was beaten by the favourite Alacrann in the Supreme Ventures two-year-old stakes last Boxing Day, but having won his three subsequent races in fast times this season, I knew he was a different horse. I knew he could make it happen by turning the tables on Alacrann," he added.

Kong went on to point out that despite the setbacks, nothing beats the thrill of victory, especially in major races.

His best horse

"This was manifested by the best horse I have owned in terms of achievements, the classy filly Ahwhofah, who happens to be the mother of Ali Baba. The Royal Minister-Executive Profile offspring won five grade-one races in 2009 to be voted 'Horse of the Year' and Champion Sprinter. And in 2008 as a three-year-old, she won both the Caribbean Sprint and Gold Cup for grade-one horses.

"She has made a successful transition to stud, already throwing a classic winner in Ali Baba.

"Right now, I am upbeat about the chances of Ali Baba in the Triple Crown series, if only for the fact that DaCosta is such an outstanding trainer that he will continue to get the best out of him," concluded Kong, whose association with local racing dates back to the opening of Caymanas Park on August 22, 1959.