Dual Group One winning three-year-old Madison County was scratched from the group one Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa on Saturday with a sale to Hong Kong pending.

Owners of the China Horse Club tweeted "It was great to share and race the country's best 3yo. #pins #HKDerby #CHCsellers #lovehim."

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Pins gelding won four of his eight starts in New Zealand, including the group one Two Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November and the group one Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham last month. He was also the winner of the group two Hawke's Bay Guineas (1400m) in October and was luckless when third to Long Leaf in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) last start.

With a domestic rating of 95, Madison County is the clear top-rated three-year-old in New Zealand. The China Horse Club's racing and bloodstock manager, Michael Wallace, confirmed the sale process was almost completed.

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"We hope to have it all finalised early next week," he said. "While it is a shame to miss out on the opportunity to contest another group one, it will be exciting to see him head up to Hong Kong."

Madison County is a son of the late Pins, who has proven a revelation in Hong Kong as the sire of two-time Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon and four-time group one winner Aerovelocity. Bred by Garry Chittick, Madison County was a $36,000 purchase by Michael Wallace on behalf of the China Horse Club from Waikato Stud's Select Sale draft at the 2017 National Yearling Sale at Karaka. He looks an obvious candidate for next year's Hong Kong Derby which is run for four-year-olds.

- NZ Racing Desk