Although just two years into a solo training career seemingly already destined for greatness, Sydney-based Annabel Neasham believes Laws Of Indices is the perfect horse to represent Australia in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on 11 December.
The last horse to fly the Australian flag at the Hong Kong International Races was the Chris Waller-trained Comin’ Through which was unplaced four years ago in the same race as four-year-old colt Laws Of Indices will tackle.
English-born Annabel Neasham arrived in Australia in 2016 with the intention of having a working holiday and then eventually moving on after a year. She never left Australia.
What was once a short-term plan developed into a long-term commitment and a prospering career as Neasham continues her rise into one of the country’s top trainers.
Former Irish galloper and Group 1 Prix Jean Prat (1400m) winner Laws Of Indices joined Neasham’s Warwick Farm stables last year and although yet to add to the three wins he had in Ireland and France, the entire finished a narrow second in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 8 and was then beaten less than three lengths in the prestigious Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Laws Of Indices’ last race before committing to the Sha Tin assignment was a third in the Five Diamonds (1800m) at Rosehill on 5 November.
Neasham has engaged Australia’s leading rider, expatriate New Zealander, James McDonald, in what will be Laws Of Indices’ 24th race start, hoping to replicate the success she has shared with McDonald who has won two Group 1 races on her mighty galloper Zaaki.
No one has to remind her of the quality of the opposition, headed by the mighty Golden Sixty which is aiming for his third consecutive Hong Kong Mile victory.
But she is excited by the challenge of her first international runner in the HK$30 million race.
“I haven’t had an overseas runner before and obviously Hong Kong is somewhat seen as the pinnacle of racing, so I’m privileged to be invited,” Neasham said.
“It probably helps as a lot of the connections of the horse are based in Hong Kong and they are all pretty excited.
“He has been on the plane before and has some pretty game owners, so they are up for the challenge.”
And while everyone knows the task is a tough, the stable is confident that with some luck and a good gate her horse, will perform well after being freshened and appreciate dropping back to 1600m with the blinkers on.
Touted as a potential stallion prospect, Neasham said that already being a Group 1 winner in France, they’d love to achieve that ultimate aim in Australia to cement a place at stud for the son of Power.
As an accomplished equestrian rider in eventing, show jumping and hunting, Neasham fell for the British jumps scene, following National Hunt events such as the famed Cheltenham Festival.
Keen to stay in the horse industry, Neasham sought a career which would allow her to continue working in the equine industry and earn a living from it and eventually turned her attention to flat racing.
She spent six months working for Gai Waterhouse in Sydney and then moved to Melbourne for Ciaron Maher before he opened stables at Warwick Farm and appointed Neasham as his assistant trainer but she later branched out on her own.
Neasham has always been up for a challenge and there is no better example of this than winning the 2018 Mongol Derby with Australian horse breaker Adrian Corby.
Riders spend 13 to 14 hours a day in the saddle to complete the 1000km race along the Mongolian Steppe in 10 days, using between 30 to 40 semi-wild horses that are swapped at stations, the homes of herders, every 40 kilometres.
Having achieved that, Neasham is ready for her next adventure.
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