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Danny Shum planning to run Romantic Warrior in October’s Cox Plate at Moonee Valley




Danny Shum Chap-shing has confirmed plans are in place to run reigning Group One Hong Kong Cup (2,000m) champion Romantic Warrior in October’s Group One Cox Plate (2,040m) at Moonee Valley in Melbourne.


A three-time elite-level winner over Sha Tin’s 10 furlongs to go with his 2022 Hong Kong Derby victory at the course and distance, it is hoped Romantic Warrior will have two runs in Australia before returning to defend his Cup crown in December.


“That’s the plan. Definitely the Cox Plate, but before the Cox Plate, we plan to run a lead-up race in Melbourne,” said Shum, adding that he has been in conversation with jockey James McDonald about how best to shape the galloper’s programme.


“I will let James work out what’s a suitable race for him. We haven’t made the plan for the lead-up race yet. It was the owner’s idea. We’ll try to make it happen.”


McDonald is three from three aboard Romantic Warrior, including winning this season’s Hong Kong Cup and QE II Cup at the elite level.


He was also in the saddle for Romantic Warrior’s first-up victory in the Group Two Jockey Club Cup (2,000m) in November, and it will be intriguing to see if connections opt to start the gelding out over 10 furlongs again.


With the Cox Plate taking place on October 28, a race like the Group One Turnbull Stakes (2,000m) at Flemington on October 7 could come into play as a lead-up run, while there are also options at a mile.


“He won’t run here until he comes back for the Hong Kong Cup in December. That’s the plan if everything goes smoothly, but there’s a lot of work to do,” Shum said of Romantic Warrior, who was last seen when running second under Zac Purton in May’s Group One Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m).


“In Australia, the vet requirements are very tough. He’ll do a CT scan before he leaves Hong Kong. Before he races, he’ll need to do a scan, and before the Cox Plate, he’ll need to scan again. With three scans, we don’t know whether he’s good or not.”


Shum has also spoken of his desire to race Romantic Warrior in Japan, but those plans are on hold until at least the latter stages of the 2023-24 campaign.


“It all depends on how he performs next season,” said Shum, floating June’s Group One Yasuda Kinen (1,600m) or Group One Takarazuka Kinen (2,200m) as options.


Shum saddles only three runners at Monday’s rare all-turf night meeting at Sha Tin, with Soaring Tower, Mr Fun and Helene Feeling stepping out.


Shum sits on 49 wins after 83 meetings, with five fixtures remaining to bring up his half-century


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