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'Today he really impressed a lot of people' - Mehmas 5yo Taj Dragon lands HK G3

2024 opened in great style for Mehmas on Monday with the victory of the Tally-Ho bred Taj Dragon in the Group 3 Chinese Challenge Cup at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.

Settled midfield by Andrea Atzeni, the five-year-old struck just over a furlong out and stayed on strongly for a two-length score.

“It’s a dream come true,” Ng said. “I think the whole stable was thinking we could only get prize money against some of these big horses, so the fact we won will mean we’re happier at the dinner tomorrow night.

“I didn’t think he could beat the good ones. Before Andrea mounted up, we were just hopeful he could get top three, but today he really impressed a lot of people.

"It’s a very big step if we do run him in a Group 1, we will have to see, but he hasn’t let us down from day one.”

Atzeni added: “What a horse. He’s a young horse, up-and-coming. I thought he would run well but I just wasn’t sure at the moment if he could beat the big guns, but he obviously is.”

Taj Dragon was a smart two-year-old for Karl Burke who won each of his first three starts before switching to Hong Kong. He has really found his feet this season for Pierre Ng; Monday's success was his third of the campaign and came off a career-high mark of 110.

From the second crop of Mehmas, Taj Dragon was bred by us out of Next Trial, a Hard Spun half-sister to multiple Group 1 winner Space Blues. He was part of our draft at the 2021 Tattersalls Ireland Goresbridge Breeze-Up Sale when bought by the BBA Ireland.

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