Vanilla arrived in Hong Kong with Group 2 credentials from Australia but he didn’t reproduce that form until causing a 50-1 boilover at Sha Tin on Saturday.
The son of Swettenham Stud stallion Host (Chi) initially raced as Philippi and landed Group 2 wins at Moonee Valley and Rosehill before owner-breeder Rick Jamieson sold him to Edmond Siu Kim Ping.
Vanilla (4g Host – Soorena by Encosta De Lago) had been beaten by a combined 35 lengths in his previous four starts this year, however, trainer Caspar Fownes wasn’t surprised when he threaded through the field to score a last gasp victory in the Nam Wan Hcp (1800m).
“When I saw him so relaxed in the parade, I told the owners to take a chance and back him each way,” Fownes said. “He’s very quiet in the mornings and in the stables but get him to the races and he gets a bit silly.”
Vanilla had dumped his rider on his way to the stalls for the Chinese New Year Cup and the Classic Cup. “The boys have really worked hard trying to get him to behave,” Fownes said. “We’ve brought him here a couple of times each week and today is the first time he’s been sensible.”
Siu gave him the new moniker because his son was eating vanilla ice-cream when it came time to rename the Australian import last year.
Vanilla is an older half-brother to last month’s Caulfield winner The Quarterback and Jamieson bred another Host colt from their dam Soorena in 2012.
Host (Hussonet) broke through the $1 million mark in earnings this season when Mighty Like scored at Morphettville on Anzac Day. His latest local winner Tuff Host was very impressive when powering home at Mornington on Sunday.
Swettenham Stud will stand Host for an $8,800 (inc gst) service fee this year.