Trainer Tony Millard is looking forward to a strong end to the season with Panfield as he prepares his stable star for a couple of Group One assignments.
Last season’s Group One Champions & Chater Cup (2,400m) winner is being aimed at a repeat success this year and Millard is hopeful that a run in the Group One QE II Cup (2,000m) next weekend will leave his stayer primed for that finale.
“On his day he’s the real deal, there’s no doubt about that,” Millard said. “With the type of opposition we’ve got at the moment, it certainly puts him into the running for sure.
“The QE II and the Champions & Chater Cup have obviously always been the target. That’s more or less what we’re working towards and he’s come along nicely. We’re happy with him without a lead-up run and I’ve been pretty happy with his work this week.”
Joao Moreira was on board Panfield when he finished fourth in a barrier trial over 1,000m on the Sha Tin turf on Tuesday morning and Millard reports that the Magic Man was delighted with that performance.
“It was a very, very good trial,” Millard said. “He’s no 1,000m horse and there were some pretty smart horses in the trial. He finished off well and Joao was very happy with him.
“It’s just a case of moving forward now, it’s not long to go and it gives us a little bit of leeway where we can just tweak him a little bit more going into the race. I’m pretty happy with him and let’s just hope that he freshens up and he can be competitive.”
Millard will be seeking a win at two straight Sha Tin meetings this Saturday as he attempts to follow up the win of the impressive Enchanting Ibis, who blitzed his rivals when winning by two and a quarter lengths from a bad draw last week.
“He’s a young horse and we’ll give him a couple of weeks before we run him back into another Class Four 1,200m race, but he was impressive,” Millard said.
“I was very happy with him after the race. He’s pulled up well and moving forward I hope everything keeps going according to plan with him.”
Millard has four runners on Saturday and Kilindini appears his best chance of saluting in the Class Three Ma Kong Shan Handicap (1,400m).
“He’s a proper horse and I’m pretty happy with his form going into this race,” Millard said. “We’ll see how he goes, he’s adaptable and you can go from the back or from forwards with him.”
Resolute is a four-time winner in Hong Kong but his last win came on his seasonal reappearance in September and Millard admits to being frustrated with his five-year-old’s recent performances, with a fourth two starts ago his best effort in his past six starts.
“He’s been battling to find his form,” Millard said ahead of the galloper’s run in the Class Three Cheung Lin Shan Handicap (1,000m).
“He’s getting on now and we’ve been struggling with him a bit. I’m just hoping for an encouraging run so we can build on something but at the moment we’re a little up in the air with him.”
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