Romantic Warrior has made it to Australia safely and trainer Danny Shum Chap-shing is hopeful it will now be full steam ahead towards the Group One Cox Plate (2,040m) after a number of hiccups in Hong Kong.
After Super Typhoon Saola scuppered his final trial before entering quarantine, Romantic Warrior struggled to adapt to the Australian feed Shum had to switch him to, with authorities Down Under then stepping in to create a replica of the American feed the galloper normally eats.
Romantic Warrior’s first Australian assignment – the Group One Turnbull Stakes (2,000m) at Flemington – is less than three weeks away, and Shum will know in the coming days if the feed issue has been put to bed.
“It’s similar, not 100 per cent. With his first meal after a long flight, it’s hard to tell. After two or three days, we should have the answers,” said the veteran trainer.
“It should all be OK. He drank a lot of water on the flight. We’ll weigh him tomorrow. So far, so good – he’s settling down in Australia.”
Romantic Warrior is the $2.3 favourite for the Turnbull Stakes, while he’s also the punters’ top pick in October 28’s Cox Plate at $3.5.
In-form Bowman bags treble
Hugh Bowman rode three winners for three trainers at Sha Tin on Sunday, leapfrogging Zac Purton at the top of the embryonic jockeys’ premiership ladder.
Bowman was victorious aboard Sure Joyful for Ricky Yiu Poon-fai, Chiu Chow Brother for Manfred Man Ka-leung and Superb Boy for Francis Lui Kin-wai.
Sure Joyful’s maiden victory in the second section of the Class Five So Kon Po Handicap (1,400m) was the 12th time Bowman and Yiu had combined for a win from only 34 collaborations dating back to 2014.
Based on the starting prices of those 34 runners, punters had expected Bowman and Yiu to
celebrate seven victories, so they are beating the betting market and not by an insignificant margin, either.
Chiu Chow Brother’s success in the first section of the So Kon Po Handicap completed an early double for Man after Purton-partnered Self Improvement justified odds-on favouritism in the card-opening Class Three Tai Hang Handicap (1,200m) on the all-weather track.
Seven days after Lucky Sweynesse’s Class One HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup (1,200m) defeat, Man is intent on looking forward.
“Last week’s race was the wrong race for him in my mind, but in middle of October, he’ll show you something,” Man said, referencing the Group Three Premier Bowl (1,200m) at Sha Tin on October 22.
Superb Boy fought off Massive Action to secure the Class Three Sheung Wan Handicap (1,400) by a short head. It was Superb Boy’s second win on the spin, and it elevated Lui to the trainers’ premiership summit.
“I had some nice rides,” Bowman said. “I thought all eight could run in the first four, and that’s what happened with the exception of Lean Hero. I’m very proud of all of their efforts.
“I’m thankful for the support. It’s been a good start to the season. I’m fit, healthy and well, and I’m hoping I can keep the motivation going.”
Apprentice jockey Angus Chung Yik-lai also registered a double at Sha Tin on Sunday, triumphing aboard I Give and Super Winner for the yards of Pierre Ng Pang-chi and Dennis Yip Chor-hong, respectively.
Both I Give, victorious in the Class Three Chinese Recreation Club Challenge Cup (1,200m), and Super Winner, successful in the Class Four Central Handicap (1,400m), won on opening day last weekend.
So’s Friend goes again
Chris So Wai-yin’s old marvel Pakistan Friend rung up a hat-trick of victories on Sunday, with jockey Jerry Chau Chun-lok reaping the rewards of a preseason trip to Conghua.
While it was Purton and then Matthew Poon Ming-fai in the saddle for Pakistan Friend’s back-to-back wins over the Sha Tin 1,800m in May, it was Chau doing the business aboard the nine-year-old in the Class Four Wan Chai Handicap (1,600m).
“The old man, he’s so good. His trials in Conghua were really nice. Jerry went up to Conghua and asked if I had any trials. I said ‘this one’. He trialled really nicely even at 1,000m – he finished very strong,” So said of Pakistan Friend’s close third in a Conghua hit-out on August 28.
Despite travelling wide throughout, Pakistan Friend dug deep in the straight to see off favourite Lucky Eternity by half a length.
“I’ll give him a couple of months, and we’ll see where he goes. After this run, we’ll give him a small break, keep him training and let’s see – at nine years old, you don’t want to back up too fast. Either the 1,600m or 1,800m will be OK for him,” So said of the gelding, who now has eight wins from 46 starts.
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