Ad Master Fay after winning the Group 3 Concorde Handicap at Ellerslie. (Race Images PN)

Master Fay's Newmarket chance

6 March 2024 Written by Patrick Bartley

Chad and Aliesha Ormsby never anticipated being part of history in the $1.5 million Group 1 Yulong Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.

However, they are taking a significant leap of faith by bringing one of New Zealand’s fastest racehorses to participate in the celebrated sprint race.

The journey began at the NZB Karaka Yearling Sale in 2019, where trainer Chad Ormsby acquired an athletic son of the renowned stallion Deep Field for NZD$100,000. Originally intended for the NZB Ready To Run sale in New Zealand, the colt, later named Master Fay, garnered attention after impressive trials, leading to a lucrative sale to Hong Kong.

“He was very exciting. His trials were brilliant and soon the phone started ringing from bloodstock agents trying to buy the horse before the sale,” said Ormsby.

“The phone kept ringing and ringing and eventually we made a deal, selling him to Hong Kong for $550,000 to the Caspar Fownes stable in that country.”

Word got around of Master Fay’s ability and on New Year’s Day 2021 Master Fay was sensationally backed into $1.60 favourite and scoring with ease by two-and-a-half lengths, with judges at Sha Tin glowing in their reviews of the horse’s ability.

While lofty plans were being put in place for the Deep Field colt, the youngster was found to be sore after the race and despite the best veterinary care and patient handling, Master Fay eventually left Hong Kong for a very early retirement.

"Mr Wong, who owned the horse, contacted me about a good spot to retire him, but a year after he landed back at my place I thought the horse still had some racing left in him. I told Mr Wong that I believed we’d ironed out the horse’s problems." - Chad Ormsby

“It took a little bit of persuasion because Mr Wong was fond of the horse and would only allow a return to racing if the horse was sound,” he said.

Eventually permission was given and Ormsby put the horse into work, resulting in wins in a benchmark race and then a Group 3. Ormsby was confident he had recaptured the horse’s best that he’d seen three years prior.

Master Fay’s cowboy hat-wearing trainer Chad Ormsby. (Race Images PN)

Undefeated so far, plans were soon in place for the now six-year-old to compete in the Group 1 Yulong Newmarket Handicap. The Ormsbys have found themselves on the brink of history, with the gelding the first in over a century to enter the race with just four races under his belt.

“I suspected it would be a pretty strong record as you don’t see horses in this day and age run at such an early stage. But I’m confident he’ll equip himself well and he’ll be at the minimum weight,” said Ormsby.

Despite the challenge, Ormsby expressed confidence in Master Fay’s ability to perform well, especially considering his sprinter profile and his settlement into the stable at Flemington, under the care of Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Mike Moroney, Aliesha Ormsby’s father.

Moroney, who secured his first Newmarket victory just two years ago, with another New Zealander, Roch ‘N’ Horse describes his daughter and son-in-law as hardworking horse enthusiasts who have built a remarkable property in Cambridge.

He is also confident in their chances in the prestigious race.

“The horse is a real sprinter type, so he’s got all of the make up to be a genuine threat in a race like the Newmarket,” Moroney said.

With the horse having his first look at the Flemington course proper last Friday in a jumpout, Ormsby was pleased with the result.

“Craig Newitt, who rode him, gave him a good, glowing report shortly after. He looked keen, he was willing to get on with the job,” he told

So as Master Fay attempts to validate the leap of faith taken by Aliesha and Chad Ormsby this Saturday, there will undoubtedly be significant interest from the global racing community, particularly in New Zealand and Hong Kong, two countries that have played a crucial role in the career of this six-year-old.

(Race Images PN)

Master Fay's unique career 

2017 Foaled in NSW September 2017.
2018 Sold for AUD$72,000 at the 2018 Inglis Australian Weanling Sale.
2019 Sold for NZD$100,000 at the 2019 NZB Karaka - Book 1. Two impressive trial wins.
2020 After his third and equally impressive trial, purchased by Wong Cho Bau for $550,000 to be trained and raced in Hong Kong by Caspar Fownes.
2021 Scores an effortless two-and-a-half length debut victory over 1200m at Sha Tin on New Year’s Day with Joao Moreira aboard. Decision is made to retire the horse after niggling issues aren’t able to be resolved. Heads back to New Zealand and back into the care of his original trainer, Chad Ormsby.
2023 Shows enough physical improvement to convince his previous owner to let Ormsby put the horse back into work. Places in two trials in the spring at Matamata and Taupo.
2024 Returns to racing, over three years after his debut Hong Kong win, winning a 1200m Rating 75 at Tauranga. Steps up to Group 3 level at his next start and wins the Concord Handicap over 1200m. Heads across the Tasman to contest one of Australia’s great races, the Group 1 Yulong Newmarket Handicap, at just his fourth career start.